Opening on July 12th, Guillermo del Toro’s next big movie. Set in the not too distant future, giant monsters called Kaiju begin attacking our coasts from deep within the Pacific Ocean. In an attempt to fight back, our greatest nations develop and build gigantic, advanced robots called Jaegers, controlled by the combined power of two brains via their pilots. The movie is big, exciting and fun but don’t be fooled; it is what it is. What I mean by this, is that Pacific Rim is an all-out science fiction joyride that borrows from classics like Godzilla and Robot Jox, as well as some major hits like Independence Day and even one of my favorite canceled TV shows, Battlestar Galactica. Now, for some people, this will be considered lame and unoriginal and I can definitely see where they are coming from but I have to respectfully disagree.
Pacific Rim is a solid film and too much fun to pass up. I had very low expectations primarily because the best way I or anyone else could explain it based on trailers alone was “well, it’s like Godzilla meets Robot Jox”. To an extent, it is. That is the premise of the movie, giant monster aliens and massive robots we pilot but there is so much more to this summer blockbuster. Let’s break this analysis into two categories, characters & plot and special effects & visual aspects.
One thing I appreciate about this film is that Warner Bros. didn’t sign a bunch of big name actors to slot into the movie, meaning they didn’t want to drive this thing off star power. In the Hollywood of today, I am happy about this. It showed that the studio and decision makers had faith that this movie could stand on its own and they were right. As far as character development is concerned, we really have three primary characters to care about while several others help build the world Pacific Rim lives in. Our film’s hero is Raleigh Becket played by Charlie Hunnam. Hunnam is most well known for his role as Jackson “Jax” Teller in Sons of Anarchy. Raleigh Becket is joined primarily by Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi) and Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba). I will say there might be one or two other actors of note but I won’t spoil that little surprise. The character development of Pacific Rim focuses on the relationships between Becket, Mori and Pentecost. We learn a lot about their past and especially how the “mental drift” works. The “mental drift” is the action of the two pilots sharing minds, including memories. This is a key factor to most of the film including the resolution for war against the Kaiju monsters.
The special effects are very solid. The giant Jaeger robots all have a different look that helps build some personality around the pilots. We also get a little bit of information in how they are powered and how they have evolved over time to become more powerful as the Kaiju become stronger. Likewise, each Kaiju looks different though they all appear to be somewhat reptilian. As time goes on, the Kaiju that appear become stronger, larger and more dangerous, forcing us to use a category system much like we do for hurricanes and tornadoes. The cities that are demolished looked incredible. The minute detail of destruction and the interaction between objects was truly spot on. They definitely didn’t skimp on the special effects budget and you get what you pay for. It looks fantastic. The only thing I wish we had a better picture of is the climax scene which I won’t spoil here but it lacks detail. You’ll see what I mean… it’s toward the end of the movie.
Overall, Pacifc Rim and its Kaiju fighting Jaeger robots score big on the summer blockbuster scale. The movie is exciting, intense, fun, a little corny in the dialogue but powerful. If you like big action films, science fiction or just killer special effects, Pacific Rim is a must see in theaters kind of movie. I might just have to go see it again.