Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

Giant robots fight giant monsters for the fate of the world in the latest offering from Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”, “Pan’s Labyrinth”). Featuring incredible special effects, a fantastic premise, and fun, colorful (albeit goofy) characters, “Pacific Rim” is a summer spectacular well worth catching on the big screen.

In the not so distant future, giant monsters known as Kaijus have begun to attack coastal cities, emerging through an inter-dimensional rift in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean known as “the breach”. In order to combat these hostile leviathans, the nations of the world have developed gigantic, lumbering, fighting robots called Jaegers. These robotic titans are controlled through a neural connection with the human pilots (two pilots are needed, as the strain would be too much for a single person). This requires an enormous amount of compatibility between pilots, however, as the linking of their minds in order to operate the robots requires that they completely share their memories, thoughts, feelings etc.

At a critical juncture in the war against the Kaijus, however, the Jaeger program is suspended in favor of building unbreachable walls along the shores of Pacific Ocean countries. The Jaegers that remain will be stationed near the breach and allowed to fight out the rest of their days, but no new Jaegers will be built. This turns out to be a disastrous decision, as the first Kaiju that confronts the wall bursts through it quite easily. Now the Jaegers are all that are left between civilization and the Kaiju onslaught. To make matters worse, the monsters are coming through the breach with accelerating frequency, and they’re coming through bigger and stronger than ever.

Will these robot warriors be able to stop the enormous monsters that threaten Earth?

“Pacific Rim” features a fantastic high concept. Enormous robots battling enormous monsters is the kind of geek catnip that I wish we got more often. Seeing the gigantic combatants throwing massive blows at each other, creating tidal wave sized splashes in the ocean and busting through buildings as if they were nothing really brought out the kid in me (not that that’s hard to do). I felt as though I was watching an old-school Godzilla throwdown with modern special effects. The fights were gorgeously rendered, brightly colored, and well choreographed. Along the way, there are plenty of instances which will bring out the “Hell Yeah”s as well.

The movie was weaker when the fighting wasn’t going on, but that’s not to say it was bad. Viewers will have to accept del Toro’s colorful, sketchy, comedic characters, that’s all. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi play things straight as Jaeger pilots on the forefront of the action, and Idris Elba is truly inspirational as the leader of the Jaeger program (his “Cancellin’ the Apocalypse” speech deserves to find its place in pop culture history via meme, etc.) However, Charlie Day is a burnt out, shaky scientist, who’s partnered with an exaggerated eastern bloc stiff. They need the help of Ron Perlman’s flamboyant gangster/Kaiju black market kingpin. It’s these three that are going to test the audience’s acceptance… personally, I was fine with them, but I know the drill.

Regardless, the action scenes should be more than enough to earn the movie a favorable impression out of even the most difficult cynic. Going in, I was worried that the movie would have had too many fights and not enough stories, now I was there had been more. I couldn’t get enough of them.


52 thoughts on “Pacific Rim

  1. My new fave of the summer crop. Guillermo Del Toro does it again, and drove rings around Shane Black, J.J. Abrams, and Zack Snyder in the process.

    • Indeed. My favorite film of the summer, as well, but just not quite enough perfection involved for me to give it a pure A. And a few Jaeger/Kaiju battles short of anything in the + range. LOL 😉

      Glad to hear you liked it though! 😀

  2. Nice review! While I wasn’t quite as blown away as you, we still agree on an awful lot. My review is written and will go up Tuesday. Check it out.

  3. A great fun summer movie. Glad you enjoyedIit. I thought you might of gave it a lower grade because of when the fights werent going on. This is what a blockbuster should be.

    • Indeed. The big summer blockbusters need to have a requisite amount of spectacle, and this one has it in spades. 😀

      It definitely wasn’t as good when the “downtime” was going on, but it kept things interesting between battles well enough, I thought!

  4. Yep, giant robots beating on giant monsters works for me. Just enough human activity to keep this from being a giant dog fight.

  5. Great review!! Burn Gorman felt like he was channelling Crispin Glover. Indira Elba REALLY reminded me of Louis Gossett Jr.

  6. “Hell Yeahs” indeed. This brought out the 10-year-old girl in me–(yes–my girlie films growing up were Predator, Terminator and Blade Runner–yeah…this is right in my wheelhouse)–I was giddy with excitement before hand and this just blew me away!

    Simple characters are a hazard of action films–but the universe is intricate and complex enough to carry it. I really appreciated how clean the action sequences were–in a time of kinetic and shaky camera work, it was structured and easy to follow (forgot how nice that is ;)).

    Mostly, it was a hell of a good time!! Big, original, fun and awesome! I can’t wait to see what del Toro does next.

    Later, Fogs! 😀

    • I don’t mind simple… I didn’t think that was the issue, it was the “goofy”. Day was practically exhibiting early onset Bobcat Goldthwait-ism and Perlman’s character was out of place level flashy, plus what was with that other scientist? The guy was practically a Nazi! I enjoyed the other teams, even though they were cardboard cutouts. I could understand why they did that.

      The fight scenes WERE great though. I thought they were super. When they Jaeger drew his sword for the first time? Or that Kaiju spread its wings? HELL YEAH. LOL 😀

      • I can see the “goofy” as you say…but I think it helped me more than distracted. The best comparison would be Man of Steel’s lack of humor–it drained me by the end. Too much high adrenaline sequences without the “break” of humor or goofiness can be exhausting. I think there was a balance attained by having it in there.232

        And OMG! YES! You picked my two moments! Simpatico. I squealed–yeah…squealed–when the sword came out. :p And in my review I tell of my out loud–“WTF? Uh-uh!” outburst–yup–the wings! So BADASS!

        ps–Perlman is NEVER out of place. 😉 And forgot to mention I love the soundtrack–been listening to it a bunch since Friday. So good.

    • Thanks Dan, I agree. I think all the Blockbusters this year have been flawed to one degree or another. I was hoping that this one was the one I’d be able to get behind wholeheartedly, but I couldn’t. Not 100% at least 😦

  7. Good review. Really enjoyed this one as well. And yeah, great as the action was, I was actually really intrigued by the “drifting” aspect, and kinda wish the movie woulda dived a bit deeper into that. But still, I quite liked what we did get, even those exaggerated cartoony side characters. 🙂

    • Yeah, I think a lot of people will, while some others will tune out. I cant help but think the movie might have been a little better if it had just played it straight with them, though. Oh well, no big deal or anything.

      The drifting aspect was kind of cool, I think that made the downtime a little more interesting… things were really cooking though when the fights were going on. That’s when this flick kicked ass! 😀

  8. Excellent review! It’s so nice to finally have a big summer movie that can be recommended without reservation. Good lord, this movie kicked ass!

    • I thought the action scenes kicked a ton of ass, yeah. There were some things along the rest of the way that keep me from wholeheartedly unabashedly recommending it without qualification, though. I wanted to… I wanted to love it to death, but as it is I’ll settle for really really liking it. 😉

  9. Applause Applause! I’m right there with you man! A great action flick that I’ve been waiting for for a while and it didn’t disappoint. The characters, the action, the special effects, the soundtrack. It was a pretty complete package for me. I agree with your A- review (not that you need me to or anything, but we are directly eye to eye on this one). I hope more go to see this.

    curious. did you see it in 3D? I didn’t the first time and am really looking forward to doing so this week.

  10. One of my friends called this movie an American love letter to Japan. Or something to that effect as I’m slightly paraphrasing.

    I was ambivalent about this film. Del Toro is one of my all time favorite director/everything else. But the previews didn’t do it justice. Based on the dinosaur sorta look to the monsters, I got the impression they were going with some variation on the ‘hollow earth’ theme. While it is a classic theme, it doesn’t work well in this day and age. Something about the robots bothered me too, based on the trailer.

    I ended up liking it a lot. Although the conversations and interactions between the main character and his brother were awkward and stilted and didn’t flow at all. I found the scientists very entertaining and thought they could have been used more. Burn Gorman is a British actor I quite like. (the overt he top, eastern-bloc stiff.) He was Dr Owen Harper in Torchwood. I always enjoy Ron Pearlman. In fact, I’ve sat and watched really bad fantasy movies because he was in them and he manages to do extremely well with any material, even bad material, handed to him.

    I thought Charlie Hunnam fluctuated between strong and shaky performances. The writers gave him a few awkward lines and, well, he pulled them off awkwardly and it seems like the writers were not going for awkward.

    In the end, I think the concept was much better than I expected, but some of the performaces could have been better. The special effects were fantastic but the story lines could have been stronger. It was an entertaining Del Toro film and while it is probably his nicest looking film, I don’t think it is his strongest film.

    • Glad to hear you wound up liking it. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum, I was actively anticipating it. It didn’t live up to my hopes and dreams 100%, but it was close enough not to call it a disappointment!

      Hunnam was fine in my book, but he doesn’t bring the hugest amount of star wattage to the table. They might have done a little better with a different lead, but then again I didn’t have any issues with him, either…

      DEFINITELY not del Toro’s best movie, though. LOL. Not even close (Pan’s Labyrinth by ten miles! 😯 )

    • Thanks Mike. Yeah, there needed to be some kind of city smashing here. I was disappointed that a couple of big fights took place in water and out of harm’s way! I want to see people running and screaming and giant feet stepping on them! LOL 😀

  11. Rock n rollin’ good time was had! Loved the ‘goofy scientists’, Loved Ron Perlman, loved Idris Elba, Loved the Jaegers! I thought Rinki Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam were both fine in their roles (Although I sort of couldn’t tell the difference between Hunnam and the young Australian guy, Kazinsky) .

    My only (very slight) knock on the Kaiju was that we never really got any sense of individuality form them. No faces, no recognizable animal-ness. I mean Gozilla was GODZILLA. He was recognizable, and mean and angry and … kinda cute. Mothra was pretty, Rodan was a big scary pterodactyl, with a really stiff neck, Gamera was a cute turtle with tusks who turned into a flaming frisbee… etc etc. The point is they were all distinct. These Kaiju were all mostly indistinguishable, except for the occasional crab claw or shark fin.

    Anyway, great fun was had at the ol’ movieplex.

    • I agree the Kaiju weren’t really differentiated enough. I felt that as I was watching, too. I think on a rewatch at home I’ll be able to pick up more differences, but you’re right, they certainly weren’t dramatically different or anything.

      Regardless, it was a lot of fun. Based on your second sentence, I was a bigger fan of Hunnam and Kikuchi, but not as enamored with the scientist characters 😉

  12. Good review! I really enjoyed this one, though I did walk away wishing del Toro had done just a tad more with character development. I think the casting and ideas for characters were good, but I feel del Toro could have given us just a little bit more. Still, I loved the whole monsters-versus-robots premise, and I loved that fight through the streets of Hong Kong, where the Jaeger uses an actual cargo ship as a weapon.

    • In terms of the character development, I thought the main characters were ok (not going to set any records for character development or anything, but ok…) but the comic relief characters were just a bit too goofy for me. I wonder if the movie would have been better if they had played it straighter…

      Youre right though, the Robots v Monsters element carries the day! 😀 Awesome scenes….

  13. Pingback: Pacific Rim Review: Salvation Through Jaeger-Bombs | Rorschach Reviews

  14. I really enjoyed this movie and couldn’t really have asked anything else from it, save for a Japanese Jaeger, which would have been awesome. I didn’t really mind the non-fight seens though they could have tightened them up a little bit as a little tension would have been nice, especially for the Charlie Day plotline. Otherwise I just hope they can somehow make a sequel with maybe aliens from space.

    • They should have had lots more Jaegers! One from every country would have been awesome.

      I’d love to see a sequel, too, but at this point I think its a longshot… 😦 It didn’t open very strongly.

  15. Glad you liked it so much, Fog! I’m planning on catching this one in the near future. I’ve seen some mixed reviews, but the prospect of humongous freakin’ robots battling humongous freakin’ monsters is just too good to pass up.

  16. Awesome review, Fogs! Yeah, I’m agreeing with you on mostly everything here! I gave it an 80 on 100 (so that’s a B+ in my eyes). I would have liked to see more fights in the daylight… Or maybe just more fights hahah… And less pouring rain!!

    Question: Was this on your roster for that Box Office Summer Draft? I can’t quite remember who has this one for that…

    • It was me. Yet another stinking underperformer for team Fogs. LOL 😦

      Meanwhile, I think the bright day effects would have been harder to have pulled off… more expensive to VFX properly. That’s my suspicion at least, I would have liked to see the battles in daytime too!

      • LOL, hey buddy, look on the bright side, it isn’t doing as poorly as The Lone Ranger, right?! Will have significantly better legs, as well!

        Okay, that makes more sense, good point… I thought of that too, I had to point it out as one of my wishes of the film though 😀 I guess we did get a daylight fight, even if it only lasted 30 seconds!

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