Finally! A Summer movie that motivated me to get on my butt and blog! In a Summer when the apocalypse is commonplace (off the top of my head, we're talking about Oblivion, After Earth, World War Z, and This is the End, although I am sure there are others) I have to admit that I was still unnaturally excited for Pacific Rim, which promised little aside from destruction --- destruction provided by giant robots fighting giant monsters, which brings with it awesomeness at almost a cellular level. That was not the only reason I was excited, though. This was another chance for director Guillermo del Toro to show once again why he is one of the greatest visual directors making movies today. And then I saw the trailer and started asking questions.
|Also, I can't be the only one who recognizes the old Fox Sunday football robots, right?|
Pacific Rim opens with a voice-over from Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) bringing the audience up to speed. In the near future, a dimensional rift opens in the Pacific Ocean and huge alien monsters come through. These monsters are reminiscent of Japanese monsters movies, like Godzilla and Gamera, so they are called Kaiju, after that film subclass.
|If a punch to the face is badass, how much more amazing is a ROBOT punch to a MONSTER face?|
|...which works out well|
|To find out, they endure several Dance Dance Revolution trials --- in spaaaace!|
I always take the time to discuss the acting in the movies I review, but is that really necessary with Pacific Rim? It's really not, but I found the acting to be a pleasant surprise in a film that could have gotten away with a lot less in that area. Admittedly, Charlie Hunnam didn't "wow" in this role, thanks to a combination of dull dialogue and serving as a plot device. He wasn't bad, but he sure was bland. Idris Elba, on the other hand, did some of his best movie work to date (his television work is still far better, though); his character was kind of a mish-mash of other end-of-the-world authority figures, but Elba was still able to make the part a little interesting. Rinko Kikuchi was okay as Raleigh's partner; it can be tough making an introvert interesting in an action flick, but she was all right. I was pleasantly surprised by Charlie Day, if only because this is the furthest he has gone from his role on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
|Above: Perlman and two other actors. Get it? He's ugly.|
|How do they expect to play beach volleyball and high-five wearing that?|
Most of the time, when I discuss movie direction, I focus on the camera work and the actor performances. For Pacific Rim, though, so much of the movie was CGI that I am taking a different approach. I really enjoy the work of director/co- writer Guillermo del Toro, if only from a visual standpoint, but I like what he did with the humans in this film.
|He scared them.|
|Don't forget the four pages of "science-y doodads"|
|"Robots and monsters fighting in space" exciting? Yes. A thousand times, yes.|
What is it about Pacific Rim that excited me, where others failed? There have been so many movies lately that have shown vast urban environments being absolutely wrecked --- what makes this any different than, say, Man of Steel? I think the biggest difference is in scale. Because the robots and monsters are so gigantic, the camera is pulled far enough away for audiences to really notice and appreciate everything being smashed to bits. That scale also seems to imply and accept large numbers of civilian casualties in a way that is expected and not ignored. It isn't just that, though; several battles take place in the ocean and are still a blast to watch.