Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman
Inspired by his fascination of giant monsters, especially Japanese originated ones such as Godzilla, Guillermo del Toro set out to give the world a new monsters focused movie that would be exciting for people of all ages. At first, Pacific Rim didn’t sound all that appealing to me. It looked like another sort of Transformers movie that didn’t really interest me. It turned out to be nothing how I expected it, however, and is actually probably one of my top favorite movies of the summer so far. Del Toro certainly gave us an action adventure movie full of good ole’ monster killing fun that is entertaining from beginning to end.
Plot: A wormhole has opened up between two tectonic plates deep in the Pacific ocean that acts as a gate between some sort of extraterrestrial monsters, called kaiju, and earth. In order to defeat these monsters, man has created giant humanistic robots, called Jaegers, that has to be controlled by two pilots. The kaiju have somehow evolved themselves in order to become better than the Jaegers, however, making them seem as a lost cause by several governments around the world. With no other alternatives, Stacker Pentecost (Elba) sees the Jaegers as the world’s only hope. He recruits former pilot Raleigh Becket (Hunnam) and several other pilots to control the few Jaegers that are left in order to go after the monsters and destroy the wormhole connecting them to Earth.
I’ll start off by saying that this movie does have it’s obvious flaws. Several moments of corniness, a not-the-best script, and a plot that is laid out to you in such a way that you know pretty much exactly how the movie is going to end. Those are things that can typically ruin a movie for me, but with Pacific Rim you kind of just want to ignore all of it’s flaws and just sit back and enjoy all of the awesomeness that the little kid inside of you is about to take in. Del Toro clearly set out to make a movie that had all of the awesome effects and such that would be appreciated by older audiences but still have a storyline that is easily understood by the kids. This is evident in the movie and you really just have to keep that in mind while you watch it, otherwise those flaws start to poke through.
Pacific Rim sure does pack a huge punch, though. It’s filmed on a huge scale with tons of action that always kept my attention. That says a lot for me because during most action movies my mind tends to wander away from what’s on the screen and action sequences can easily become boring for me. That was not the case for this movie. There are three main battles in the film and each one of them is different in order to keep it from becoming monotonous. Each action that the kaiju or Jaegers take has a purpose and the wide scale of the movie let’s us witness these fights in all of it’s glory. I was definitely impressed with these sequences and del Toro does a wonderful job pacing the movie so that these scenes don’t become too much and stay exciting for the audience.
You can tell that del Toro wanted Pacific Rim to be different than your typical dark and serious action movie. For one, he incorporates tons of different and brilliant colors to the design of the sets with a sleek and unique look to everything. Visually everything is stunning and unlike anything else I’ve observed in an action/sci-fi film. The monsters are especially both beautiful and terrifying. You can’t help but appreciate the look of them but at the same time feel the fear that they produce as you witness them crashing through skyscrapers and destroying everything in their path. Something else that also really stood out to me was the score. Especially during the battle scenes, the music accompanies the action perfectly, bringing out all of the right emotions. For me, the flaws in the movie seem minuscule compared to the awesome action and visual effects that truly make this movie memorable.
The acting in the movie was good as well. It wasn’t too over the top like it could have been and the characters were fun. Hunnam is good as the lead and gave us as much emotional depth to his character that he could have and Elba is good as the intense leader that everybody looks to. Kikuchi’s character was a little weird to me as Raleigh’s love interest/co-pilot. Not because of her acting but just the way her character was written. I think they could have done a lot more with her character than just giving us the-girl-with-a-past-that-makes-her-want-to-prove-herself. My favorite characters were probably Day and Gorman’s, however. They brought a little comic relief to the seriousness of the movie and were just a lot more colorful and vibrant than the other characters. They were fun and kept the movie lighthearted which I think is one of the film’s greatest strengths. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and kept things upbeat but intense.
Conclusion: Much to my surprise, Pacific Rim ended up as my favorite action film of the summer, and maybe even the year, as of right now. It’s visual effects are stunning and the design of the kaiju and Jaegers is especially impressive. Dedicating the movie to his inspirations in monster creation, Ishiro Honda and Ray Harryhausen, del Toro stepped up the game in visual effects by giving us some truly amazing looking monsters and robots. Though the movie falls into some pitfalls of your typical action film with a slightly lacking script and a predictable story line, Pacific Rim made up for it in it’s intense action sequences and visual uniqueness. Del Toro gave us an incredible movie that is both an awesome film and contains awesome action, a combination that does not usually exist.