Over the last few summers we have been treated to a lot of geeky delights up to and including massive fighting robots, monsters and aliens- but what if you could have that all in one movie? That’s what Guillermo del Toro wants to show us and boy does he ever. I love superhero movies as much as the next guy, but PACIFIC RIM rocked and socked me into a state of mind that left me saying, “Avengers who?”
The film kicks off by setting up the world where giant monsters known as Kaijus found a way into our world through an interdimensional portal beneath the Pacific Ocean. After a slew of attacks by the giant creatures humanity knew they needed to mount some kind of counter offensive against them so they created giant robots called Jaegers to fight the Kaijus. The idea of the Jaegers is that two pilots combine their minds- memories and all- to form a bond that makes their fighting skills sync to be more effective at fighting the monsters. Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) is a former pilot that gets brought back in to help the Jaeger program make one last push to stop the Kaijus from entering our world before humanity is completely extinguished.
The thing about PACIFIC RIM is that it does not really excel in terms of acting- in fact a lot of it is really cheesy even in the more dramatic moments. The weird thing about that is that it works and even when there are not giant robots and monsters beating the crap out of each other the film is incredibly entertaining. The drama while cheesy remains interesting and therefore does not feel like filler while we wait for another fight scene.
To add more to the proceedings, if you feel an overload of CGI fight scenes there are also a slew of hand to hand fights scenes to break things up a bit and propel the story. The world created by these scenes in addition to the eye candy is incredibly creative and just serves to immerse the viewer (at least this viewer) into the experience. There isn’t much in the way of deep acting or character depth, but in my opinion the film doesn’t need it with the sheer amount of jaw dropping action sequences one of which last 15 minutes before we ever see the title card.
I screened the film in 3D, which I wasn’t happy about to begin with- but I came out actually pretty okay with the experience. I still think I will enjoy it that much more without the glasses, but given how much I hate 3D, the fact that not begging you to avoid it in the third dimension is worth some sort of praise. It baffles me the amount of people complaining that you can’t see anything going on when I am always hyper aware of such issues and had no issues whatsoever. I will give critics their complaint about everything being staged at night, in the rain or underwater but to say you can’t see anything is a little bit of a reach to me. It does seem like an opportunity missed to display the phenomenal monster designs in the light of day so we could awe over the details, but what is here is stunning to me and I cannot buy into anyone who believes this movie suffers drastically due to it being too dark.
PACIFIC RIM got me in the theater simply by having a simple premise such as giant robots vs. giant monsters, but made me fall head over heels with it with a rousing musical theme, terrific special effects and an incredible sense of fun throughout. The script lacks deep character development and wallows a little too much is cliche, but the simplicity of the story doesn’t bug me in the slightest. PACIFIC RIM bleeds the spirit of a summer blockbuster, but trumps every single one released so far this year.