Big Budget Blockbusters are mostly watered down with reboots, remakes, sequels, prequels, and adaptations nowadays. We see some of the innovative and creative films on lesser-unheard of films and most of the time it would be on a ham-sandwich budget. Pacific Rim takes the idea of putting two peas in a pod, combining both of Japan’s greatest contributions to entertainment and those are Mechas and big ass monsters and it delivers every 5 year old’s wet dream very well with the help of visionary-director, Guillermo Del Toro as he deliver an action-packed and a rather solid action film about robots and monsters beating the shit out of each other for 2 hours and at the same time brought out a love letter to classic Japan entertainment.
Pacific Rim takes place in the near future, when a portal was opened beneath the earth it brought gigantic monsters known as “Kaijus”. The Kaijus has surfaced the earth and they seek to destroy everything they see on earth. The government decided to fight fire with fire as the world bands together to take all of their resources to make their own monsters in the form of larger than life mechs known as “Jaegers”.
I was very much intrigued by the fact that a big budget project about monsters and mechs fighting each other for two and a half hours and the fact that the great visionary director known as “Guillermo Del Toro” plays a huge part behind the scenes of the project. So then I asked “what could possibly go wrong?”
The film is literally every kid’s wet dream of monsters and robots in one movie though it does have something for kids my age as well and it is a decent amount of substance to tell a good enough story. The story is rather simple enough to tell a story of why and how monsters are brought to this world and how they can use the giant robots to stop those monsters. Mostly in blockbusters nowadays there’d be tons of “down time” where they’d take a break and give the film a room to breathe after all the explosions, shootings and fist fights. Gladly, it wasn’t like the G.I. Joe or Transformers films where they do some down time to develop the human element in a way that it didn’t feel forced, there wasn’t that one dumb line one-liner or that one scene where something random will pop up and expects the audience a laugh. The movie was paced very well, the movie is 2 ½ hours long but it felt shorter than that. I was never bored for a minute while watching this movie.
As much as I want to say that the film has tons of cheesy yet cartoony that results to cheesy lines and clichéd stereotypes, I did some thinking about it. The movie is very self-aware for what it is and it is more of a love letter to (almost) everything Japan entertainment contributed to from Mangas/Animes to live action films/shows from the past. He meshes all of those elements that we have seen before and loved in the past but still made it fresh and original out of those things for the benefit of this film.
Though as much as I want to say the writing is strong throughout the film, most of the characters weren’t really written very well. Most of the human characters in the film were thinly written, mostly the lead character played by Charlie Hunnamm. Charlie Hunnamm’s character is a mixed bag; there were times where he’s a Luke Skywalker-esque character but a lot of the times he’s pretty much a mediocre impersonator of Tom Cruise’s Maverick from Top Gun or maybe even a clone of Garrett Hedlund. I left the theater wanting more from the character, but reflecting on the movie again I thought the final product that I got was decent enough. Though on the other hand, Idris Elba was the best character in the film, I left the theater wanting him to be the lead character of the film especially when he did play out a bigger role than Hunnamm’s character. Rinko Kikuchi was decent as Mako, I thought that her character and performance were decent for the material she was given. I thought that her character could’ve been a lot stronger. She wasn’t necessarily the damsel-in-distress type; she was more of a tragic character that shows vulnerability way too much. The writing tried their best to make her a strong character but it never came through. I would’ve asked for a little bit of development for most characters (especially that one Australian guy who hates everything for no reason at all).
The side-characters like Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, and Ron Pearlman shared a huge amount of screen time throughout the movie but they weren’t (thankfully) quipped with Michael Bay’s version of “comedy”. Their over the top personalities were genuinely funny throughout the film and they were entertaining. Their side of the story was relevant to the story and their screen time didn’t feel forced at all for the sake of doing a joke.
The fight scenes between the Jaegers and the Kaijus are what you are here for. Guillermo Del Toro has always impressed me as a visual director (or a creative person in general) with his creativity and ingenuity in the films he have worked on from the past. In “Pacific Rim” Guillermo Del Toro utilizes the fight sequences using both practical and CGI-enhanced effects to set a stage for larger than life monsters and robots on a believable environment which results to exciting and intense fighting sequences, one battle after another is a joy to see on the big screen. The special effects are stunning in this film and also the designs used for the CGI characters, each design for every Robot and Monster are unique, and they never felt like repetitive characters in a video game. The battles are thankfully well shot without the use of shaky cam or really quick jump cuts; the film shows the battles in panoramic shots, it shows you the scale and detail of these creatures and the robots in a real life setting. It wasn’t like Transformers where it is a mess of metallic shards crashing together on screen (with explosions).
In the end, “Pacific Rim” is one of the best time I had at the movies this year. Guillermo del Toro was able to deliver an keenly original action-packed film about robots and monsters fighting each other for almost 2 hours. The action scenes are exciting that will definitely put you to the edge of your seat and maybe even be cheering or applauding for most of the scenes of this film though I did leave the theater wanting more from the human element of the film (mostly from the pilots). I highly recommend you see this film in the biggest screen possible (I heard that this movie is fantastic in IMAX 3D) to witness the scale of these gigantic titans.
+MOST OF THE PERFORMANCES
+A GOOD AMOUNT OF SUBSTANCE
+A SOLID STORY
-A LITTLE BIT OF DEVELOPMENT OF BOTH STORY AND HUMAN CHARACTERS
4.5/5 - FOR THE WIN!