Monday, July 22, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Watching Pacific Rim (in IMAX 3D no less) was the most fun I've had at the movies all year. Not since last summer's The Avengers have I cheered and smiled so much in a theater. Prepare yourself for a campy yet thrilling adventure film with some of the most jaw dropping visuals ever created.

Pacific Rim
is director Guillermo del Toro's love letter to the Japanese Kaiju film's he adored from his childhood. He was inspired by old Godzilla/ low budget sci-fi flicks, where random creatures destroy cities for kicks. Only this movie is in the hands of an expert director with a huge Hollywood budget. However, despite all it's amazing special effects and the mind boggling amounts of action/carnage that unfolds onscreen, the story behind Pacific Rim is actually quite simple and old fashioned. Alien monsters emerge from a portal under the Pacific Ocean which causes humanity to band together and build giant robots to fight them. That's it. That's the plot and overall theme of the film as well. The movie is about teamwork...and giant robots fighting Godzilla monsters. It's so simple, yet vastly more rewarding then any of the previous action/super hero/blockbuster types films released this summer.

The film's characters aren't the most richly textured creations, but they get the job done fair enough. Sure, sometimes they feel like stock examples straight out of other films (the fearless leader, the hot headed show off, the timid love interest, etc) but they don't mope around or do asinine shit that goes against their archetypes either (re: Man of Steel). Ildris Alba delivers the strongest performance as the tough as nails military commander in charge of saving the world. Charlie Day sort of steals every scene he's in also as the film's comic relief, playing a kooky scientist, channeling a bit of Rick Moranis from Ghostbusters in there somewhere.

Of course you don't go into a movie about giant robots fighting Godzillas for character development and outstanding dialogue. Have no fear, the fights are awesome. The size of these creatures and the sheer scale of all the onscreen carnage that takes place is almost too much for ones brain to process at once. I had to see the film a second time just to grasp all it's awesomeness. The robots are called "Jaegers," and the monsters, "Kaijus." Whenever a Kaiju jumps through the portal in the Pacific and heads to a populated area, he meets a Jaeger, controlled by two pilots who mind meld with the machine/computer for maximum ass kicking efficiency, and the two get it on in the most violent way possible. The film's epilogue establishes the Kaiju invasion back story that most other directors would have focused on even though that type of film has been done to death already. When Jaegers and Kaijus fight in this film, it's not new or shocking for the characters to do so, since they've already been at war with each other for years, so the film doesn't center on mindless disaster porn leanings (Michael Bay's Transformers anyone?). What you do some amazing eye candy for the inner 12 year old inside us all.

Pacific Rim is one hell of an entertainment ride. It has the Joe Cool cliches of Independence Day, the oddball sentimentality of Armageddon, and the uncanny, starry-eyed visual effects that made jaws/panties drop in Jurassic Park. Take note Hollywood, this is how you make a legit summer action movie.


  1. All I really knew about this movie was that there would be giant robots fighting giant monsters. I don't know how to feel about that not being enough for me anymore.

  2. I've heard increasingly better things about this film and your review has sealed it for me buddy, really can't wait to check it out, sounds awesome to me!

  3. It should be the next movie I see

  4. I saw it twice, and loved it both times, especially in Imax. Seems to be polarizing, though, as some people are left quite cool to it.