Pacific Rim

 

The most eagerly awaited movie this summer, Pacific Rim is arguably the grandest monster film ever. With giddy action sequences of a scale unmatched in its awesomeness, the film is a jaw dropping experience. Monsters do battle on locations as exotic as ocean floors and destroy entire cities in their wake, creating a visual cocktail unmatched in its allure.

 

STARRING:
Charlie Hunnam
Idris Elba
Rinko Kikuchi
Charlie Day
Rob Kazinsky
Max Martini
Ron Perlman

 

DIRECTOR:
Guillermo del Toro

 

RELEASE:
12th July, 2013 (United States)
14th July, 2013 (London Premiere)

 

RUNNING TIME:
132 Minutes

 

Hollywood has diversified massively in recent years, and one of the by-products of this is the apocalyptic blockbuster fuelled by CGI and superhuman characters saving the world with their deeds of derring do. These movies however have danced a fine line between being unemotional drags for three hours and giving the viewer an over the top, powered by a three-dimensional experience. Pacific Rim is yet another take on the whole apocalypse is coming scenario.

 

The premise is this: One fine day, a dragon-ish monster surfaces from the ocean and stomps his way across San Francisco. Such events are repeated across multiple cities with the monsters called Kaiju, wreaking havoc everywhere they can. The scientific community comes up with an innovative solution, to create behemoths called Jaegers that can fight these monsters and protect our Earth in style.

 

Over time however, as the Kaijus are easily neutralised the Jaeger program is all but left for dead with a giant protective wall being built around the Pacific Coast. They return though, and lay waste to whatever they cross. Ultimately there are just four such Jaeger robots left to fight the good fight. Their base is an airplane hangar in Hong Kong, called the Shatter dome. Their commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is authoritative and defiant in his rather classy way and it works.

 

There are few directors that can command the sort of respect that Guillermo Del Toro does. Critics can’t stop raving about his films. I count Pan’s labyrinth as one of the more remarkable films of the decade past. This film too is an aural delight. Del Toro is one of those people that fit more into the ‘auteur’ mould than most and it shows. We’ve seen monsters do battle a million times but this time there seems to be a slight hint of well thought out combat, rather than just the standard fare. There are spectacles galore with most of the fights happening at night and near the ocean with gasp inducing moments of breath-taking intensity.

Another massive plus is the fact that there are no superhero strongmen that will somehow find the strength to save the Earth. Quite a few different characters, played by an eclectic international cast make for a slightly more acceptable portrayal of such a situation. This also lays some credence to the theory why character actors are perceived so highly. Actors like Idris Elba and Charlie Day aren’t big superstars unless you loved The Wire and Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia (I did) and so the story mustn’t revolve around them.

 

The scale of the film is positively huge. With fights involving the destruction of city landscapes and visits to the ocean floor, there is hardly any other film that can claim such a massively overawing portrayal of monsters. Some scenes do feel like they’ve been dragged on though and maybe Del Toro misses a trick or two in not having a firmer hand on the tiller. It is little more than a violent mash up at times with huge arms being thrown around and fights being hard to figure out.

 

All in all though, Pacific Rim is a success and a considerable one at that. Del Toro’s attempt is not only praiseworthy but also a wee bit unconventional in its execution. When they say ‘This summer’s biggest blockbuster’ I cringe inside. But for this film, nothing else will suffice.

 

 

 

 

Responses (4)

  1. Carl Rupert Binger says:

    This movie, hand's down, was the best movie to watch this summer. It was truly a blockbuster and it was truly worth watching. This movie was the only movie I have seen worth going to theaters and paying for so far this year. Do yourself a favor and watch it. It is not like all the junk Hollywood continues to churn out. A nice breath of fresh air.

  2. Christopher Pineau says:

    I found this a refreshing take on standard issue action movies, with a strong cast and a story that was both familiar and fresh. I even found it more feminist friendly than most movies of this sort due to Mako Mori not just being there for window dressing to make the men look good, and and doing her share of ass whooping with intensity and style. Guillermo Del Toro himself said what I had been saying already when he went to Japan to promote the movie; that it was his love letter to Japanese pop culture. It totally is! I am definitely adding this to my collection as soon as it is released.

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