Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” was in my top 5 or so anticipated films of 2013, so I was very keen to get to the theatres and see it. I got out on Saturday night and saw it, for those of you who don’t know much about this film, know that it will be the biggest sci-fi film of the year, no doubt.
The basic theme of the movie is a war between mankind and monstrous sea creatures from beneath. “Kaijus” as they are labelled, want control of the earth for reasons unknown (that is until later on in the film), there are different category monsters which cause varying amounts of damage. The military has built “Jaegers” which are gigantic mech’s made of steel, that have the ability to destroy Kaijust. It takes two to operate a Jaeger the process is that the two synch their minds and memories allowing them to move and fight as one, pretty cool aye!
In the beginning of the film we see Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam, “Sons Of Anarchy”) and his brother Yancy Beckett as they go into combat against various Kaijus, without warning tragedy strikes and (without spoilers) Raleigh barely escapes alive. We then pick up several years later and Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who is lead in the fight to save the earth, he is quickly running out of Jaegers and skilled operators to take them into battle, he tracks down Raleigh in the hope of luring him back to the fight. He introduces Raleigh to young Mako Mori who Stacker has taken under his wing (Rinko Kikuchi).
We have a couple of cool little role’s in here for Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) and of course Ron Perlman in a funny little performance as Hannibal Chow who deals on the black market, his specialty being the remains of Kaijus. He looks for buyers who wish to study and learn more about the monsters in the search for new information on how to defeat them, all the while profiting greatly from this process.
So that is pretty much the basics of the story. First of all “Pacific Rim” I think is a must see in 3D or an Imax theatre, its just a visual feast, great landscape shots of iconic things like the Golden Gate Bridge (although most of the story is in Hong Kong). The monsters look absolutely fantastic, larger then life. Back in the day when you use to watch your favourite monster movies, this is a great nod to those but at the same time new and improved special effects and battle sequences. The action sequences and sound mix are great, you get huge explosions, fights in the water, fights on land, Jaegers and Kaijus using freightliner’s and buildings to beat each other down it’s great stuff! Also I must add whoever put the trailer together did a fine job of not showing the best bits. Most of the trailer sequences take place in the opening act, what follows just adds to the chaos!
I thought the cast was pretty good all around. I think Hunnam did a solid job, although I am still not convinced on the choice to have him carry the film. Having seen him come from a Drama/Theatre backround, I almost think this is a little beneath him but none the less he is good. Idris and Rinko for me are the two standout performances, you are more emotionally connected to there characters. I don’t know if its the way the opening act was written or not but It felt forced and rushed, like the bond between the brothers could have been formed a lot better without adding to many more scenes. Ron Perlman of course was funny and really styling in his role as Hannibal Chow (the jew with an asian name haha!).
The one thing I have to say is there were a couple of chuckles but I really feel they could have taken the impact of what was happening and the severity of it all much more seriously. I didn’t like Charlie Day’s role at all, I thought it was out of place. Anytime they skipped to a “side mission” so to speak, I found myself thinking, this guy really doesn’t fit.
For the most part, this is just good old fashioned entertainment, larger then life monsters, cool weapons, big battle sequences and what more can you ask for? I am still critical of certain things in the story, I don’t think the memory synching scenes were all that well put together, very rapid and unclear, if they were suppose to give us clues and more info about the kuijus, it didn’t work. I find it hard to believe that four or five helicopters have the carrying power to lift and drop a jaeger in the ocean…. (but I guess I can roll with that) I didn’t care at all for the father and son combination, they had one stronger scene towards the end but the rest of the time they were just really out of place. The film’s biggest issue is probably the gateway to which the monsters enter earth, the information surrounding that (or lack of). How did they find it? why didn’t they find a way to attempt to close it much earlier? It all seemed a little bit loose ended, but that’s just me.
Overall it’s a very good film. It reminds me slightly of how I felt about the second Transformers film, honestly, nobody else could have done this, with the exception of Michael Bay. I don’t think this is as good as the original Transformers none the less, I haven’t seen to much of Del Toro’s work yet, but after having seen this, I think I will be.
My rating for Pacific Rim is 7/10