** WARNING : SPOILERS **
The Apocalypse was canceled and my hopes, expectations, and dreams were fulfilled. Pacific Rim is great!
Jaeger(s) : giant, human piloted robots
Kaiju : giant monsters
I posted a week or so ago about why I was so excited for Pacific Rim. I’m posting tonight about how I’m completely stoked to say it met and exceeded my expectations. The movie was great from start to finish. The Giant Robots (Mechs) fighting Giant Monsters delivered in every way I wanted. Guillermo Del Toro let out his inner child with his biggest budget film to date, and although it didn’t excel at the box office (as many expected), it did excel in the hearts of film goers across the world. And it definitely excelled in my heart.
The film starts with the dialogue we’ve all seen in the previews a hundred times about humans expecting alien life to come from the stars, but they surprised us and came from our own ocean. Literally a minute, maybe less, into the film and there’s a giant monster on the screen destroying San Francisco (he was probably upset at the cost of living). From that segment of backstory we’re transitioned to our introduction to main character Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam) and his brother Yancey being awoken to go to battle with a kaiju. Tragedy strikes and Raleigh turns in his Jaeger piloting days for construction work until he is recruited by his old commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba). Stacker has a new plan to put the Kaiju war to an end, but he’s hard pressed for resources and for pilots.
Now we’re in the Shatterdome, the last Shatterdome to be exact, where all the planning, defense coordination, and Jaeger maintenance takes place. It’s here that we’re introduced to the other pilots and robots. We’re also introduced to Mako Maori (Rinko Kikuchi), a wannabe pilot with eyes for Beckett, and a lust for vengeance she wants to take out on some Kaiju. There’s an interesting dynamic between Maori, Beckett, and Pentecost. The actors do a good job of making you believe their problems, their chemistry, and their convictions. Everyone does a good job, but Elba steals the show as Pentecost. He’s down right vicious in some scenes, and in others all he does is stare stoically in the camera and you feel his pain. He steals the show.
The main idea of the film is that we were winning the battle after we developed the Jaegers. But after a short period of confidence the Kaiju evolved to be bigger and stronger, and they invaded more often putting a strain on time and resources. Our clash with the titans was beginning to look like a one sided fight, so the World Government decided to stop funding the Jaeger program and start construction on a wall designed to keep the monsters from breaching the mainlands (as you can imagine, these walls don’t work). Stacker’s plan is to take the fight to the monsters and drop a bomb, a really powerful bomb, through the portal to the Kaiju dimension hopefully ending the attacks.
The fight scenes are obviously the selling point of the film. I’d say 60% to 75% of the movie is battle sequence between the bots and the beasts. And the fight sequences are STUNNING. I saw the film twice, once in IMAX 3D and once in a theatre equipped with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Both viewings were incredible, but the IMAX really delivered the sense of epic scale and chaotic destruction. The visuals and sound worked together beautifully to make you FEEL every punch, every step, and every roar. The fights also have fan service around every corner. Rockets in elbows to make punches hit harder, projectile plasma cannons, retractable swords, flame throwers, and oil tankers being used as bludgeons are only a few of the grand examples. The IMAX auditorium erupted into cheers multiple times. The visual effects are also top notch. The Jaegers surfaces, mechanics, and movements look like they should. They look like modern machines of futuristic design and technology, but they also act and react physically like the 2,000 ton machines that they are. And the same goes for the Kaiju (minus the machine part). They look alien, but familiar. Del Toro being the monster maniac that he is definitely took his time overseeing their design. They run, jump, fly, scream, roar, and fight like you would imagine big monsters should. Their were definitely no shortcuts taken in the design department. Kudos to Del Toro and team!
I love this movie! It’s probably going to end up on my all time favorites list. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment from the opening monologue to the end of the credits. Now, if I can ask you all for a favor it would be to GO SEE THIS MOVIE! Let’s help it do some damage at the box office so we can get more stuff like this in American Cinema. My fellow Geeks and Nerds need to invade theaters this week and weekend to support Guillermo and Pacific Rim.
So Pacific Rim comes out on Friday and I really want to see it. The following post is me elaborating on why I want to see it. Enjoy.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Pacific Rim is a film involving giant, man made robots fighting giant monsters which have come from another dimension of which the portal is hidden in our own Pacific Ocean. I just so happen to be a nerd that loves giant robots fighting giant monsters. So that alone had my curiosity and attention. I love smart, intelligent, artsy, abstract, complex films. But I also have an area in my heart for big, action-packed, blockbuster type movies as well.
Secondly, Guillermo Del Toro is directing it. This guy does monsters well. He may do monsters THE BEST. His skill for creating and crafting unique, impressive, horrifying creatures aside; he’s directed one of my favorite films of all time, Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m not a huge fan of horror movies so I haven’t seen a lot of his stuff, but I know he’s good at what he does. This movie has the potential to be his first true “blockbuster” and it looks like it has the potential to follow through.
Thirdly, the story is ORIGINAL. And I don’t mean original as in no one has done a giant robot vs. giant monster movie. I mean original as in it’s a story written by Travis Beacham (mostly) and Guillermo Del Toro (partially). I don’t know if y’all know this, but over 80% of movies coming out this year are either remakes, adaptations, or sequels. There’s little to no originality in American cinema nowadays. Pac Rim is going against the grain. I’m stoked Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures had the balls to back this in today’s market. The Place Beyond The Pines, Chronicle, Oblivion, Only God Forgives (out later this month), and Pac Rim are a few examples of original stuff hitting the big screen and I loved TPBTP, Chronicle, and Oblivion. We’ll see if the originality and creativity pay off.
Fourthly (not sure about that one), the main subject matter, giant robots/mechs battling giant monsters/kaiju, is based in Japanese Pop Culture. **I use the term “robot” ‘cos it’s a little easier to digest. In actuality these are not robots, but “Mechs”. Robots are artificially intelligent while they’re mechanized counterparts are piloted by humans.** I am a huge fan of Japanese culture. From the Samurai of the Feudal Era to Fashion to Anime I love it all, and Pac Rim draws big influence from Anime and Japanese films of old. A few of Japan’s gems have invaded American Film and Television before. Godzilla, Transformers, Voltron, Power Rangers, Pokemon, etc. are all originally from Japan. Pacific Rim is taking inspiration from two of Anime's biggest genres, giant robot and giant monsters, and combining them. Two of my favorite anime are from the giant robot genre : Big O and Gundam Wing. Some shows and movies have turned Americans on to Japanese Pop and Anime culture, but I’m stoked that a piece of the culture is hitting American big screens in such a way.
Fifthly (I’m not getting “spell check dotted lines” so I’m assuming these are good?), Charlie Hunnam of Sons Of Anarchy fame is in the film and I’m excited to see how he does in his first big Summer Blockbuster role. Besides Jax, there’s Idris Elba, Charlie Day, and Ron Perlman filling out a solid cast.
Lastly, if the movie gets good reviews and does well financially then it opens the doors for more films of this style and genre, and that would be music to my ears and sights for my sore eyes.
I can’t wait for Friday. I’ll see y’all at the movies!