I went to see Pacific Rim last Thursday. Let’s see what I thought…..
TL;DR-GO SEE THIS NOW! GO! WHY ARE YOU STILL READING?! GO!
Plot-This movie has a simple plot. Let me spoil it for you. Monsters show up, we built robots, fights ensue. Now the robots are being shelved in favor of a giant wall. The lone military man has a drastic plan to bring things to a climatic finish… Wow, that’s original..but it works! The whole thing seems way to simple on paper, but there it is. And it does its story proud. The movies about giant robots, and you get giant robots. People on scene? Talk about robots or monsters. Every second drive the plot, and the plot is robots! This is awesome. You don’t get some weird “America #1” message, or hate OPEC, you get a streamlined plot dedicated to making you love giant robots and feel for the people caught in the monsters path. This is what I wanted, and this is what I received.
Theme and Elements-In a bold move for a movie, the movie has some political elements mixed in, but only as at most a simple side quest in a giant movie. Ideas like a giant wall to keep things out that ultimately don’t work, international collaboration etc are background noise in the movie. Nothing that makes the movie jump the rails to a different path, but it’s there. The major theme is-HERE IS AN ANIME MOVIE ABOUT ROBOTS AND MONSTERS! All the set pieces are here and they do the dance that has been made famous in Japan quite well. The stereotypes are there: Russians who walked right out of Stalin Propaganda, the Asian kung-fu masters, romances between robot pilots, and interestingly enough an Australian pair who only missed a didgeridoo to be from the set of Mad Max. Think of any 1980’s keiju anime series, and you have most of the elements of this movie. That’s not bad, that what I wanted out of this. This movie could have done something completely strange and tried to do what so many failed anime/American movie combos have been (looking at you Street Fighter and Dragon Ball Z, and you in the corner Matrix, I haven’t forgotten about you!). Del Toro made the last 1/4 of a excellent anime series. The first 3/4 is done in an excellent pre-title montage that handles thing well and jumps you right into the action. While I love a convoluted story as much as the next guy, the original Super Mario Brothers was the last 1/4 of the story, and that made it great! The same can be said here. The movie knows what ground it wants to cover and it does it well.
The elephant in the room-Two quotes from two movies
“Today we are canceling the apocalypse!”-Pacific Rim
“On this our Independence Day!”-Independence Day
Combined-“Today we are canceling the apocalypse on this out Independence Day!” reads like it belongs there, doesn’t it? While I love this movie, it does feel like a strange homage to ID4. That’s not bad, but it’s a thing. The movie feels a bit like a distilled ID4 to capture all the good parts of the movie and make them better in this one. Almost like distilling rotten water to make a good liquor. You can feel the ID4 roots in this. If you loved ID4, you will love this!
Cinematography and Looks-This movie is gorgeous! The monsters are beautiful, and the mechs are beautiful. Those are the focus and they shine. The backgrounds are beautiful as well, but not distractingly so. Actors look appropriate to the stereotypes they fill. Best part that you might not notice: the helicopters! They provide light. You have night battles and they helicopters are a mobile light source that makes life that much better as you see what the hell is going on! (looking at you 1st AvP!)
Acting- Let’s be honest, you’re not here to see Shakespeare, you’re here for robots! But, in true Del Toro style, the part of the most that could have been neglected wasn’t. The actors portray believable people in the world, and it makes the world that much more real. No Oscars, but much better then it needed to be.
Let Downs-No movie is perfect, and a few logic things come to mind. Why build the wall if monsters punch through it? That isn’t really explained. Why are the keiju a surprise if you know they come from one area? Couldn’t you have teams out there 24-7 just ready to hit them when they happen? Oceans big, but if there is only one door in, its not that hard! Why is the one Australian such a dick at the start? Why is the one scientist the first person to meld with a monster? Heck, if I lived in that world, I’d be melding with any animal out there to see if it works! These are small nitpicky things, but they make you wonder….
Things that you should look for like Waldo-
Russian Gwen Stefani
“Where is my shoe!”-Stay after the credits
Tentacles in a jar moving
Cthulhu Tech the movie!
Final Thoughts-Its got its faults, but its awesome. A worthy movie that you should go see now. Worth the time and money. Great new IP. Now I just want to know if Del Toro will give up the mantel of this new world or remake this movie with enough sequels to kill the originality of the idea. Rating: 8/10