Pacific Rim Review

Posted: August 23, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

movies-pacific-rim-poster-2Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

Every year there are certain films the geek community really rallies behind, and this year Pacific Rim is that film, and there a lot of clear reasons why. First off, the film is directed by Guillermo del Toro, whom all geeks love thanks to comic book adaptations (the Hellboy movies, Blade II) and more artistic films (The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth). Pacific Rim also has the advantage of being about giant robots and monsters fighting, and geeks love that shit. Point is, the movie has already developed a passionate fan base already and with a talented director like del Toro attached I was interested in Pacific Rim.

In 2013, giant monsters called Kaiju emerge from a portal in the Pacific Ocean. To face this threat, humanity builds giant robots called Jaegers to face the monsters. The two wage war, and after twelve years humanity’s days are coming to an end. A last ditch effort is being made to close the portal and save the human race once and for all. This will lead to lots of robots punching monsters.

It might seem ridiculous to pick at the plot of a movie like this, but that’s exactly what I’m about to do. The plot here is your basic “world ending threat + final unlikely chance at victory + unlikely renegade heroes” formula. The reason this bothers me so much is that I really like the world del Toro has created. I found the history and visuals of the world to be genuinely fun and interesting and it’s disappointing they’re hung on a pretty uninspired plot that features the usual turns you’d expect.

Of course, this would be less problematic if the characters were more interesting, but they aren’t. Most of the characters are either really bland, particularly the lead played by Charlie Hunman. I know the focus of a movie like this isn’t on the characters and I’m asking for depth so much as I am personality. Thankfully Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, and Burn Gorman all provide big personalities that stand out.

So far it probably sounds like I didn’t like the film, but that isn’t really the case. Mostly I just wanted to get the negative aspects out of the way so I can talk about the good stuff. Visually, this is a very striking film. The effects used to render the Kaiju and Jaegers are excellent and they never dip on quality. Perhaps more importantly, the designs of the two are really creative and cool. What’s great is there are varieties in the designs. There are multiple different types of Kaiju and Jaegers, each with their own distinct looks and abilities. Del Toro also does an amazing job making these things feel massive. There’s a tremendous sense of scale and weight whenever they’re on screen. The inner workings of the Jaegers are fun too and I like the sets. Even beyond the look of the robots and monsters, there’s a lot to admire visually. The sites of a neon-lit Hong Kong being destroyed are mesmerizing, as are other moments of structure destruction. The idea of drifting with another’s mind (a concept used when piloting Jaegers) also leads to some cool visuals. There’s also a really haunting flashback with a grim look and is transitioned into in a very cool way.

Then of course there are the fight scenes, which are indeed awesome. Unlike the Transformers movies which are just a cluster of shit on screen, here you can actually see what’s going on. There’s also a sense of two physical beings really hitting each other, an accomplishment all the more impressive when one considers that almost everything on screen was rendered digitally. The fights are varied by a lot of cool details, such as different weapons, unique Kaiju abilites, and the setting of the fights. There’s also a lot of just straight up cool moments, such as a Jaeger using an ocean liner as a melee weapon, emptying the clip of the plasma canon, the epic reveal of the sword and all of its future uses. Bottom line, the action scenes here are a lot of fun.

When all is said and done, I enjoyed Pacific Rim. I like the action scenes, the visuals, and the world del Toro has created quite a bit. The film does have a lot of problems, big ones in fact, and there’s also no doubt that del Toro can do better. But the film is far too fun and technically impressive to be dismissed.

B-

Comments
  1. le0pard13 says:

    Still one of my favorites of the year.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Dan. Had a very fun time with this, however, it is severely lacking in the script department. Moreso than many of del Toro’s other flicks.

  3. ianthecool says:

    You make a really good criticism about the basic plot. It was disappointingly straight-forward.

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