Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Pacific Rim

Release date: July 12, 2013
Running time: 131 minutes
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Rinko Kikuchi
Who to see it with: A fan of video game movies or good special effects.


Pacific Rim is easily the best video game movie ever made. Unfortunately, it's not based on a video game. But, watching it is like you're watching your favorite A-list game play out on the big screen. From the simply amazing special effects, to the overly dramatic plot, the neon everything, the corny dialog, and the inclusion of the freaking voice of GLaDOS, everything about this seems like it's directly out of the latest blockbuster release. Pacific Rim tells the story of our world attacked by giant monsters from another dimension, creatures that look like the Cloverfield monster went to a rave. In order to combat these giant enemies, humans create huge robots piloted by a bonded duo to fight them. The movie is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro so the monster and art design is simply gorgeous. The Kaiju are all similar but unique: some have aspects of crabs, others of apes, others of reptiles. Each of them looks both natural and otherworldly at the same time. The mech designs are equally impressive. There is enough variety that you never see the same mech twice, but they have enough similarities to seem like part of a cohesive fighting force. 

The visuals of Pacific Rim area easily the strongest area of the film. All the special effects are simply gorgeous. As I mentioned, the monsters and the robots are beautifully created. The fights between the two are understandably epic and destructive, with buildings and environments exploding and crumbling under the massive figures. Additionally, the sets are wonderful. The home base looks decidedly futuristic and future Hong Kong looks just as high tech and neon as you would expect it to be. The plot is like a video game's plot, overly dramatic and simplistic with enough plot twists to keep you entertained. The dialog is pretty bad, with some stereotypical characters and corny delivery. There is a scene later in the movie that is supposed to be a climactic, motivational speech that just falls flat because of the writing. But, here's the thing. I think a lot of it is intentional. I think that del Toro set out to make a video game / anime big budget movie and largely succeeded. The flaws of the movie seem to be by design.
Pacific Rim is a tough movie to judge. It's not exactly a great movie. It has great special effects and is a visual treat, but the other aspects of the movie aren't spectacular. But, like I mentioned before, that might be part of the goal of the film. Ultimately, I think that the movie is a rental. However, many of the best aspects of Pacific Rim would best be enjoyed on the big screen. The animation and CG are impressive and the 3D is very well done and adds some nice depth to the movie, especially during the fights. I think if you were going to see it in theaters, you probably would enjoy the added experience, but ultimately

Rent it.

Pacific Rim's characters and dialogue are often cliched, but its battles, special effects, monsters and set design are very imaginative. The fights slightly remind me of Transformers, but here they feel weightier and more intense. They're often larger in scale and look and sound like knock-down, drag-out battles to the death that the victor barely survives. Unlike David, I never felt the dialogue was ever particularly bad, just not much better than the writing found in 99% of action movies. The lead character is the most stereotypical while the supporting ones are effectively used for comic relief, and the actors ably spout their sometimes silly lines. That speech moment is distinctly cliched, but it's so obviously corny that it must have been del Toro's intent. It contributes to the feeling that PR is like a cool, live-action cartoon but, unlike Transformers, the stakes feel high and the goofy humor is kept to a minimum. You'll enjoy Pacific Rim if you like spectacular, large-scale action or wish to reconnect with your inner child.

See it.

1 comment:

  1. Great fun, alright movie. "Pacific Rim" is a dream come true for Kaiju and Mecha fans. As a summer blockbuster, it's pretty strong as well. As a Guillermo Del Toro film... Let's just leave that alone.

    Here's my review: