**** out of ****
THANK GOODNESS!!! Just when I was doubtful that I would ever have fun
seeing a mega-budget summer movie again, here comes Guillermo del Toro’s, Pacific Rim, a loud explosion-filled CGI show that’s over two
hours, and get this: It’s FUN! When it reached the point of two hours, I
wasn’t ready for it to end. When it kept going, I felt nothing but
This is Del Toro’s love letter to Anime, Kaiju movies… or anything that ever involved a robot fighting a lizard. In
spite of a brief history included in the film’s prologue, we as an
audience are dropped right in the middle of a bleak future where a war
between mankind and giant inter-dimensional city-destroying creatures
continues. The monsters have been coming through a portal at the bottom
of the Pacific Ocean at an exponential rate as the years have passed.
The last efforts are being made to assemble a worldwide coalition of
man-driven giant robots to combat the invaders.
lead-character pilots and their commander, played respectively by
Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba are amusingly melodramatic.
The comic relief mad scientists assisting the mission played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, actually succeed in simultaneously being funny and
essential to the story. When Del Toro regular, Ron Perlman shows up
late in the game, as a bizarre black market kingpin, the movie gets even
cooler. I also like that this movie has no super-stars - only a few well
liked character actors. I find this refreshing.
While this has
been a movie summer hell-bent on mass destruction, Pacific Rim is the
only one (aside from the hilarious This Is The End) that doesn’t take
the apocalyptic atmosphere too seriously. It doesn’t try very hard to
sell us on the plausibility or practicality of what we’re watching. It’s
simply steeped in the fun of the genre and for that, the loss of lives
implied doesn’t have the depressing effects of a film that aims for
This has always been the case with Del Toro films. He
creates a stylized reality where the invading supernatural elements seem
to fit. Whether it’s his vampire-like cursed man in Cronos, the
magical realism creatures in Pan's Labyrinth, or the various trolls and
demons in the Hellboy films, the guy is in love with destructive
monsters! A lot of boys are and we never grow out of it.
other thing that makes this movie so enjoyable is the creativity that
went into it. The concept of the giant fighting machines having a neural
link with the human pilot may be familiar, but in this movie, two
pilots are required to guide the right and left hemispheres of the big
guy’s brain (If done solo, it is implied to be overwhelming). The challenge is that they need to be compatible with one
another when a bond is formed in the sharing of their minds.
understand that my high praise is not meant to imply that this is
high-art. It doesn’t aim to be. It aims to be a grand-scale live-action
anime movie and it succeeds with flying colors. This is great
entertainment. Why it’s failing at the box office, is an injustice that
mystifies me. As far as the rest of the summer goes, I don’t
think it’s getting better than this. Pacific Rim is my salvation.