Pacific Rim (2013) (PG-13)
Welcome to Earth, where the robots are big, the aliens are fearsome, and the accents never cease to fluctuate.
"Pacific Rim" is reliving the glory days of "Avatar" where the check book has been given to the director and the sky's are literally the limits.
The movie opens as we see a huge monster looming out of the ocean and smashing the Golden Gate Bridge.
We are told in a voiced narration given by Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) that alien invasion was the farthest thing from anyone's mind. He tells us that when he was a child and he was lonely, he would often look up to the stars to gain some form of companionship because he, like many others, assumed that there was life out in space. Turns out that he was looking the wrong way and that when aliens did show up, they weren't anyone's friend. Great behemoths emerged from the depths of the Pacific Ocean where a portal to another world had opened. These huge creatures that stood taller than a building and seemed invincible were called Kaiju. It took so much artillery to bring down the first Kaiju—but when it was dead, the people rejoiced thinking that the apocalypse was over...poor, foolish humans.
More and more Kaiju started to pour out of the portal and they weren't picky about where they were going to attack: Sydney, Hong Kong, New York, Thailand—devastation was everywhere because of the beasts.
So the people of the world, in a remarkably unprejudiced and unbiased way, pooled their resources and in an act of perfect Socialism they constructed the Jaegers, huge robotic fighting machines that seem like Tony Stark's fantasy.
The Jaegers are a success, they quickly vanquish the Kaiju (not without ramifications, mind you) and soon the huge, semi-rhino looking aliens are stuff of jokes. They become children's toys and the equivalent of the bogeyman.
The Jaeger is a huge robot, just as tall as the Kaiju, imagine a walking, fighting Empire State Building and you've got the general size of these things...they're freakin' enormous. For one man to pilot such a huge craft is an impossible feat, because he might die by explosive nosebleed. Seriously, it's not a good thing.
Then scientists proposed a new theory taking a huge side attraction from the "Star Trek" franchise: two pilots, one controlling one hemisphere of the robot. These pilots need to be "drift compatible" that is to say: they need to be able to mind meld.
The drift is entering the other's mind, the two pilots will share memories and nothing will be a secret. They will become one person and then they will be able to control said, freakin' huge robot.
What I immediately liked about "Pacific Rim" was how it looked—this isn't one of the two ends of the spectrum. Let me elaborate: you have great looking science fiction movies, like "Prometheus" or even "Oblivion", where the world looks nice and everything is very stylized...then you have gritty science fiction movies like "District 9" where everything is dilapidated and crumbling down. "Pacific Rim" is neither of these. The Jaegers suits are a good example of this—pure white and (at one time) pristine—yet now, just at the corners, they are chipped and rusted. The attention to detail in "Pacific Rim" is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the movie. Simple designs on the Jaeger and a little graffiti, give the film a realistic feeling (I know, I was shocked too).
After Raleigh's narration we plunge into a huge fight between a Kaiju and Jaeger and the consequences of this fight will shape the rest of the movie. Suffice it to say, that Raleigh has some demons chasing him around for the remainder of the film.
Jaeger pilots are rockstars—they are proud, athletic, and all good looking.
Raleigh was a Jaeger pilot, and one of the best, but that is a world that he has left behind him.
Kaiju start pouring out of the portal and they are increasing in size. Eventually, Raleigh is taken back in to Jaeger training by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), his old Jaeger commander.
There he meets Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), a woman with a past that demands revenge on the Kaiju. A sense of honor runs very strongly throughout "Pacific Rim".
Then we meet the stereotypical duo of quirky scientists: Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), who are the comic relief of the picture.
"Pacific Rim" is rich with throwbacks to other famous films like "Godzilla" (that one seemed unavoidable) and even a moment which is a blatant shout-out to "Chinatown".
As far as the acting goes in "Pacific Rim": there's nothing special here, then again, it's not a drama. Hunnam doesn't fool anyone into believing that he's actually American. His British accent slips in way too often, and I wonder why he didn't just keep it since almost everyone else in the film has an odd accent. He walks around with his thumbs in the front of his pants, a habit that really started to get on my nerves. He supposed to not be a athlete, yet the film has him taking off his shirt and showing his ripped and toned body at every opportunity—it just goes to show that "Pacific Rim" is in no way beyond cliche.
The best actor in the entire film was little Mana Ashida who plays Mako in a flashback.
Now...the action. Yes, it is hugely entertaining to see two giants smashing into each other and breaking buildings in half. "Pacific Rim" doesn't take itself too seriously: it's nicely one part oddity and two parts violence.
The script is deeply predictable and I think that the only moment that genuinely surprised me involved a baby and Ron Perlman.
For all it's epic scope, "Pacific Rim" is somewhat forgettable. There are certain scenes that are quite good like an underwater combat—there are also others that don't quite meet the mark.
I'll give it this "Pacific Rim" is watchable and deafeningly entertaining. It's not the greatest film ever made, but it never claimed to be.
What made the movie for me, were the little humorous instances that happen in the middle of the action.
It's fun, loud, and huge.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones