"Pacific Rim" Review

“Pacific Rim” Review

What do you do when the earth is invaded by oversized sea monsters from a different plane of reality? Do you build a giant sea wall to protect your cities? Or do you build oversized robots and show them who’s boss?

With monsters of epic proportion not seen since the likes of Godzilla or even Cloverfield, Pacific Rim is both mentally and visually satisfying to those seeking a highly entertaining summer sci-fi original. Based in the not-so-distant future, director Guillermo del Toro depicts a near apocalyptic earth besieged by totally creepy, deep inner-earth beings known as “Kaiju”. These aren’t just any dimensional invaders you are used to seeing. These monsters are the size of skyscrapers and as tough as your mother-in-law. But not to worry, earth has its own defenders. “Jaegers”, robots of equally monstrous size, battle with these villainous beasts whenever and wherever they make their presence known. Being backed into a corner and on its last leg, mankind decides to make one last push to sock it to the monsters and show them we’re not gonna take it. Eff yeah.

While no true A-listers make an appearance in this film, Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Idris Elba (Thor) lead with great gusto. Although Hunnam is not an A-lister, he can undeniably command a significant presence on the big screen. However, I have to admit that when you see him strut around onscreen you can’t help but see little bits of Jax Teller (his character on Sons of Anarchy) in his mannerisms, which at first is a bit distracting but easily overlooked as the film progresses. Even with a basic and oftentimes predictable storyline, the movie definitely gives us exactly what it promised in its previews; giant robots fighting giant monsters. The film is sporadically dotted with comical moments thanks to two eccentric scientists, Newt (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) who both create a brilliant and quirky dynamic, each in their own way. Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) is also gracious enough to bless us with his presence, although not in the way you would expect.

The most outstanding original idea of this film is the fact that instead of an army of free-thinking robots, each of these technologically advanced machines are entirely operated and directed by two human pilots that are housed deep within the structure’s chamber in a sort of set-up that mimics playing with virtual reality. The least impressive aspect of these effects are only cosmetic. The body armor of the pilots and the design of the robots reminded me a lot of both Halo and Mass Effect, which you could either appreciate as a touching tribute or tsk-tsk at a possible rip-off. Personally, it wasn’t disconcerting enough to deter me from enjoying the movie at all. The battle scenes were not only visually stunning but also completely engrossing, which is interesting because I am usually bored with most action movies and frequently find myself impatiently checking my watch. The sound effects were the most remarkable and intense during battle scenes. The only way to describe a Jaeger’s fist making contact with a Kaiju is extremely gratifying, like a satisfying crunch. Much like the kind you experience with potato chips and Pringles but intensified by a million, if you know what I mean. Stop staring at me like that.

Admittedly, there were a couple of times I found myself throwing my arms up in protest wondering why something wasn’t done a certain way from the start. For example, using the best and most damaging weapon you have as a last resort when it could have saved you time and a migraine? It’s like if you were rubbing two sticks together for hours upon hours to start a fire and the idiot next to you is like “Oh wait, I have a lighter.” You’d be pissed, right? Yet, as the film progressed, I quickly fell back into the story and forgot all about the small plot holes and relatively minor nuisances. They simply weren’t significant enough to cause any sort of uproar or create confusion.

The biggest issue I found with this film was the underlying romantic tension between Hunnam and his less known co-star, Rinko Kikuchi (Babel). The absolute last thing I want to see when watching robots and aliens battle it out over the fate of mankind are awkward moments of sexual or romantic yearning between two characters, even in scant amounts. This cliché is relied on too heavily and excessively overused by screenwriters as content filler and usually serves no purpose, and this film does a great job in making itself a perfect example of this fact. Pairing a man and a woman together as lead characters in a film shouldn’t always lead to a romantic dynamic as it takes away from the point and overall appeal of the movie. Furthermore, despite the evidence that both actors put forth their best efforts, these two did not seem to have the onscreen chemistry necessary to carry the film as the director intended.

Be that as it may, I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the movie, notably toward the end and my heart was pounding wildly and all I could think about was how brave these men and women are, and how I couldn’t ever save the world from total annihilation in 50 seconds because I can’t even make it to the microwave in 50 seconds.

Conclusively, DO NOT wait for Pacific Rim to come out on DVD/BluRay, because it is best tested and experienced in a movie theater environment. Trust me, it will knock your socks off.

 

by Guest Contributor HarmieWins