Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language

From IMDB: 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. 

Trailer:

Jessica’s Thoughts:

3.5 Stars

So let’s get one thing straight. You don’t go see Pacific Rim for the amazing acting, or the beautiful sets or scenery or the fantastic plot twist. You go see Pacific Rim because it’s freakin’ giant aliens vs. giant robots. And those fight scenes were epic.

I’m keeping it short today because I have a guest reviewer sharing his thoughts on the movie, but here’s what I will say. The acting is very average (except for maybe Idris Elba and the little asian girl in the flashback. She was ridiculously good), and the writing is alright. But the CGI is AMAZING. And all the fight sequences are ridiculous. It’s totally worth seeing just for that, although it’s probably out of theaters by now. Guillermo del Toro delivers a massively entertaining movie well worth the price of admission.

And now for something a little more eloquent.

Justin’s thoughts:

4 Stars

Quote: “There are things you can’t fight – acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, you can finally fight the hurricane. You can win.”

While the idea of picking fights with hurricanes using giant robots leads to some immediate logistical questions, (Are we punching this hurricane? Where? In the eye? Warning: that was a meteorological joke!), don’t let that distract you from the awesomeness of the idea of picking and winning fights with hurricanes. That is what this movie is about. No, not fighting hurricanes. Awesomeness. But I can see where you might get that misconception.

Pacific Rim describes a world where an interdimensional portal in the Pacific Ocean has started belching out giant monsters (named ‘Kaiju’ by their human victims) and the efforts of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (Piloting massive robots named ‘Jaegers’) to stop them. Due to their size, Jaegers are piloted by two-man teams mentally linked together, so the selection of a new co-pilot plays a significant role in the plot.

Casting: Charlie Hunnam plays the main character and Jaeger Pilot Raleigh Becket, and is supported by Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba in the roles of the Pilot Candidate Mako Mori and as Base Commander Stacker Pentecost respectively. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play the wacky loveable scientists and Ron Perlman plays a grizzled and memorable black marketeer. There are also Jaeger teams from Australia, China, and Russia, but they play relatively minor roles.

This is not a movie to see for its acting performances. Most of the actors are acceptable but not that exciting in their roles. Exceptions include Idris Elba, who can command through body language alone and delivers a mean speech, and the terrified 5-year old girl who plays a terrified 5-year old girl. As I look at her IMDB page I see that she’s been in approximately twenty productions since 2010 which seems like a lot for someone her age but I’m not a 5-year old Japanese actress so what do I know.

Soundtrack: Ramin Djawadi does an excellent job giving the Jaegers a muscular, ambitious guitar riff and the Kaiju an ominous orchestral motif.

This is a movie that was portrayed pretty well in its previews. What you see is giant robots elbow-rocketing giant monsters in the face (No, he doesn’t shoot the rocket at the monster. There’s a rocket in its elbow that makes it punch harder), and what you get is giant robots elbow-rocketing giant monsters in the face. This is a movie about scale. It’s about big things. Literally.

Much of the film revolves around the fights between the Jaegers and the Kaiju, and they do a good job of distinguishing each battle and making all of them interesting. The CGI is masterful, but not overdone. Unlike the Transformers series, which often lingers on convoluted transformation sequences and battles too busy to actually follow, Pacific Rim strips away all the unnecessary parts and lets the shots speak for themselves.

Overall, I give the movie 4 stars out of 5. It’s a film that knows exactly what it wants to be, and doesn’t let distractions get in the way.

If you liked Pacific Rim: Pacific Rim has a lot of Japanese influences in the form of the “Giant Robot” anime genre (Neon Genesis Evangelion, the massive Gundam franchise, Tengen Toppa Gurrenn Lagann, etc), and the “Kaiju” film genre (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Cloverfield, The Host-the Korean version, not the Stephanie Meyer one-etc). There aren’t a lot of live-action films dealing with giant robots, likely due to heavy CGI costs, so your other pickings may be slim.

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