As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.
I’m not sure if there is anything else I can add to what has already been said by critics in the past few weeks regarding director/co-writer Guillermo Del Toro‘s latest film, Pacific Rim. I think I’ll give it a shot though here, and not only because of the rave reviews it is getting as a summer blockbuster, I also love Del Toro‘s films.
Some critics have their opinions when comparing this latest feature to the preconceived genres off of which this film is based, mainly Godzilla, Gamera and all things tokusatsu involving giant man-operated robots with high-tech weaponry. Personally, I had fun watching this film, if not merely for the spectacular visuals and epic battles seen in the film, but how it all largely comes together through its story.
The film takes place in a time where mankind has found itself on the brink of destruction with the arrival of the Kaiju, giant supernatural creatures from a deep sea portal at the pit of the Pacific Ocean, and in response to the calamity, the “Jaeger” program is created. Actor Charlie Hunnam stars as a former Jaeger pilot still grieving from tragedy when he is pulled back into combat just as the Jaeger program is faced with decommission after the Kaiju advance their attack. His commanding officer, played by Idris Elba, reluctantly pairs him with a test pilot played by Rinko Kikuchi, whose character has her own score to settle with the Kaiju.
Perhaps the one theme the film makes you pay attention to is the foundation of teamwork and comradery in the face of extinction, and the message isn’t just thrown in your face from time to time and neglected later on in the film. That same message remains consistent throughout the film, from the interpersonal relationships and bonds between some of the characters, including the comedy relief played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, and supporting actors Max Martini and Robert Kazinski, to the soldiers’ use of the giant Jaegers during combat. It is all written very coherently in that regard, and more to the point, the chemistry between Hunnam and Kikuchi was really healthily delivered in each scene. There was no campiness or awkward humor that made the film uneccessarily silly and stupid. It was all very much organic and quite charming. And I attribute this largely to Kikuchi‘s soulful performance, in addition to that of her much younger counterpart in a flashback sequences played by child actress Mana Ashida. Actor Ron Pearlman remains a pivotal fixture in the film as a Kaiju organ black marketeer who turns out to be useful to helping defeat the monsters in his own unique way. And although it was a short-lived performance, I love watching Pearlman work with Del Toro on a film, which almost feels like a prerequisite to the resounding battlecry for a Hellboy 3 movie that should have happened by now.
Of course, the real stars of the film are the stunning visuals and animation highlighting the metal twisting, city destroying, blue blood-gushing, acid-chucking, elbow rocketing, nuclear bombing epic battles between the Jaegers and the Kaiju. It really is Del Toro‘s love letter to Japan, assembled brilliantly for perfect popcorn fun. Both kids and adults are meant to enjoy this movie, especially in 3D or IMAX. I was left watching it in standard 2D when I saw it, but I still enjoyed it though.
knows how to take a good script and make it better, by transporting you to a world where everything comes to life. From the neon lights in bustling streets to unstable environments where even creatures are given a sense of personality that keeps the spectacle going. Del Toro has a vision rooted in art and magic with each of his films, and it is what makes him a great director to continue to expecting great movies from. And that includes Pacific Rim
if you haven’t seen it yet, which I highly recommended.
PACIFIC RIM is now out in theaters. Check your local showtimes and listings.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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