Pacific Rim is the farthest thing from a thoughtful, moving flick that we are likely to get this year. That said, it’s at times very fun, mostly because of Idris Elba and what isn’t fun about huge robots punching nasty beasties from the deep?
If you like your action movies to have brains and heart, you might not enjoy Pacific Rim.
Here’s a trailer:
Released July 12, 2013
Written by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Diego Klattenhoff, and Robert Kazinsky
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Years ago, a devastating monster, dubbed kaiju, rose from the deep ocean, laying waste to a coastal town. Several more soon followed. Humanity created massive robots, called jaegers (Yay-gher), that would be run by two people whose neural pathways were connected. These people would be in the robot, each controlling half of it, and with their brains connected, they work in total concert.
The technology wherein two people can be connected this way is called ‘drifting,’ and it works best if the two are related.
Raleigh (Hunnam) and Yancy (Klattenhoff) Becket are brothers running a jaeger called Gypsy Danger. Their operation goes bad and Raleigh leaves the ranks of jaeger pilots because of it.
Now, some time later, the attacks from the kaiju are increasing and getting worse. Some idiots think that building walls is the best option for defense of the race. Marshall Pentecost (Elba), who has been running the jaeger program is left without funding and with only a few final jaegers. But he has a plan and he needs the best jaeger pilots he can find, so he goes and finds Raleigh and convinces him to rejoin the jaeger program. The plan? Close the portal that the kaiju are coming from.
In the meantime, you have Dr. Newton Geiszler (Day) and Dr. Gottlieb (Gorman), both of whom are experts on kaiju, trying to discover the true nature of these creatures. These two provide comedy and fun through their competitive dynamic, and they team up to help reveal important information that Pentecost can use to his advantage.
Raleigh needs a partner, so a jaeger expert named Mako Mori (Kikuchi), who has serious issues, is brought on. Now these two need to fight for the survival of humanity, along with the other jaeger pilots.
All of this, of course, leads to a final showdown between kaiju and jaeger, with buildings and roads being destroyed and all kinds of eye-popping fight scenes happening. The creativity that went into the relentless kaiju is a treat.
Apparently, in today’s action movies, collateral damage is not an issue. We see this in the Transformers franchise, Man of Steel, and many more. Pacific Rim joins the pantheon of films wherein the good guys just don’t seem to care about the damage being caused as they trade punches with the bad guys.
This detracts from the enjoyment and overall impact of the films, because if these heroes aren’t heroic enough to try and save individuals, what’s the point?
The writing/plot of Pacific Rim is focused on one thing: fill in the blanks adequately to lead to awesome fight scenes. To fill in these blanks, emotional relationship issues are created, one-liners are crafted, and, happily, two characters called Newt and Gottlieb are invented who add some good fun. Charlie Day is a win.
It might have been nice to have more thought put into characters who we could care about, who make decisions not because the plot demands that they do but because they go through journeys that we can identify and sympathize with. This does not happen in Pacific Rim, and that is too bad.
But there are solid one-liners, a few scenes of personal sacrifice, a father-son relationship that is quite touching, and huge scenes of phenomenal battles between kaiju and jaeger, so Pacific Rim accomplishes what it set out to do.
That it feels kind of flat at times is a problem with Hunnam’s flat performance, character and dialogue that are too-often there for filler, and not enough time given for characters to think things through. Luckily, Elba and Martini are excellent performers and they get it done.
Content warnings: some salty language, intense scenes, lots of scifi violence.
Writing: 3.5 Acting: 3 Overall: 3.5
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