Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pacific Rim Review

What does almost every young boy (or girl) do with his (or her) action figures?  Make them fight.  Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie, Pacific Rim, is pretty much the big-screen version of this; gigantic robots going up against huge monsters from another dimension.  At its core this is what Pac Rim is all about…but it ends up being more than just that.

In 2013 a portal to another dimension opens deep under the Pacific Ocean.  Hulking monsters, known as kaiju, begin invading our planet, causing thousands of deaths and wreaking havoc across the globe.  Conventional weapons were able to stop them at first, but eventually a new weapon was needed to defend against these monstrosities.  The Jaeger program was born.  Jaegers are hulking robots as big as the kaiju and are controlled by two pilots whose minds are linked via a neural bridge.  One pilot controls the right side of the Jaeger while the other controls the left side.  The pilots become celebrities and their Jaegers turned into toys.  Enter our hero, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam).  He and his brother pilot Gypsie Danger, a Mark 2 Jaeger.  They’re some of the best in the world until a kaiju gets the better of them and Raleigh disappears into anonymity.

Still with me?

Pacific Rim is a fairly straight-forward action film where you kind of know what people are going to do and generally how things will play out.  But that doesn't matter in the least.  Each fight between Jaegers and kaiju is thrilling, intense, and incredibly entertaining.  Each kaiju looks unique and has different powers or abilities.  The same goes for the Jaegers.  Each nation around the globe built their own and as such, each is easily distinguishable and has their own visual flairs and weapons.  For the most part, the action is distinguishable; there are only a few moments where the geography of the players in a fight got a little muddled and confusing.

What makes this film more than just another robots-fight-stuff movie is the human element.  Transformers tried to make you care about the humans in each film (ultimately we only really care for Sam Witwicky and even then not that much) but we really didn't.  Something like Real Steel pulled that aspect off incredibly well and so does Pacific Rim.  The relationships established from the first frames of the film are believable and feel incredibly real.  The bond that forms between Raleigh and his new co-pilot, Riyuki, feels real and earned.  I just cared about everyone in this film: from Idris Elba's stern Stacker (seriously, guys, his "end of our times" speech was in-credible) and Charlie Day’s kaiju-obsessed Newt.  Granted, they might not be very deep characters, with back-stories we don't know and understand, but on a surface, human level I cared about each and every one of them and their plight against the kaiju.

I just absolutely loved every aspect of Pacific Rim.  At first glance it looks like just another rock ‘em, sock’em robot vs. monsters film but it’s got a bit more depth to it than that.  The most important aspect is the human element – the cast is just populated with great actors putting in believable performances that raise the film just that much higher than other movies of its type.  I loved it and you probably will too!

Pacific Rim is an incredibly fun, entertaining summer blockbuster with a lot of heart.

The Bearded Bullet.

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