July 20, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

Guillermo Del Toro directing a movie that involves Giant Robots battling Giant Monsters was an instant sell to us. Sure, it could have been a disaster in the making, but given GDT's track record, there was just no way that we weren't going to enjoy this flick, at least on some level.

As it turns out, we actually ended up liking it on a bunch of different levels. It's not perfect, but I'll be damned if it wasn't everything that a summer popcorn flick is supposed to be.

*For the uninitiated, the Giant Monsters in this movie are called Kaiju. You know who the most popular Kaiju ever is? Godzilla. Carry on.

In the not too distant future, humanity is under attack by Giant Monsters called Kaiju, who have risen from the depths of the ocean (there's an otherworldly rift down there), with the intent of killing us all. To combat these genocidal behemoths, humanity decides to build Giant Robots called Jaegers, because even when facing extinction, we humans know how to come up with some pretty cool things.

Lead by Supreme Commander of Awesomeness, Stacker Pentecost (top five manliest names ever), humanity sets out to drop a nuke into the Kaiju rift, thus sealing them off from our world and saving us all from certain extinction. He only has a few Jaegers left to help him execute his plan though; Gipsy Danger (USA), Striker Eureka (OZ), Cherno Alpha (Russia), and Crimson Typhoon (China.) It's a worldwide effort here, folks.

That's really all of the plot you need to know. Giant Robots battling against Giant Monsters, with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance. Everything else contained herein is just window dressing.

...now throw it!
Visually, this movie is stunning; the color schemes alone are worth the price of admission. The action is big and boisterous, and provides a ton of "hell yeah!" moments for audiences to pump their fists at. The fights and their massive scale are just awe-inspiring. Idris Elba is awesome as Stacker Pentecost. The concept of "The Drift" is a great one, and it added a fresh twist to the proceedings. The story of Mako Mori was effective and full of feels. The sword.The world building, especially the propaganda-like footage in the "prologue." Seeing Sons of Anarchy vets Charlie Hunam and Ron Perlman in a movie together. "Where is my God Damned shoe?"

There was a ton to like (and even love) about Pacific Rim. We personally wish that it had been a bit longer; mainly so that certain plot elements could be fleshed out a bit more, and that we might get a few more minutes of hot Jaeger on Kaiju action. That being said, we ate up what we did get, and left the theater feeling fulfilled and thankful for it all.

The cast is pretty solid all the way around. Idris Elba is definitely the standout here, as he always tends to be. Charlie Hunam plays it a bit less bad-ass than he does on Sons of Anarchy, but he's likable none the less. Ron Perlman... is Ron Perlman. Is he ever not good in whatever he's in? Charlie Day was mostly funny, and Rinko Kikuchi was a revelation (at least to us) as Mako Mori.

Pacific Rim delivered exactly what a summer blockbuster is supposed to deliver, and it did it better than most other movies of it's ilk tend to do. This is what a Summer Blockbuster is supposed to be.

You know who's bad ass enough to attack this behemoth at point blank range with flare guns? The Aussies, that's who.
Pacific Rim needed to be longer to flesh out the characters a bit more, and it definitely could have benefited from someone tightening up the cheesy dialogue. The movie's biggest issue though is its failure to showcase the "lesser" Jaegers a bit more; Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka were cool and all, but there were three other Giant Robots that we really wanted to see do more than they did. ***SPOILERS*** We only get to see a bit of Coyote Tango in action via flashback, and when Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha finally get into the action, they're both ripped apart in about 30 seconds. 30 seconds. It was a big letdown to see so little of these other Jaegers in action.

Cherno Alpha, we hardly knew thee.
It baffles me to think that we live in a Country where a shitty, generic, un-funny Adam Sandler flick could ever draw more of an audience to theaters than a movie like Pacific Rim could.

I get that U.S. audiences like safe, familiar things when it comes to entertainment; after all, we do live in a world where a shitty, bad, and largely embarrassing video like Gagnam Style (Gungam, bunghole, whatever the fuck it's called) reaches and insane level of popularity, despite it being horrible, but come the hell on...

This movie is GIANT ROBOTS FIGHTING GIANT MONSTERS, and in grand style. What's not appealing about that? What else in in God's name does the movie going public need to hear to get their blood pumping, especially during the Summer movie season?

People might think a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters sounds stupid, you say? Fine.Tastes differ, and not every idea is going to strike a chord with the masses. I get that, and I fully accept that line of thinking. If that truly is the case though, please explain to me how 3 shitty Transformers movies have made $900 zillion around the world then. If people prove one thing over and over again, it's their capacity to love stupid shit, so what gives? Michael Bay basically shit on a plate over the course of three movies, and audiences ate it up, but Pacific Rim falls flat?

In a day and age where Hollywood makes less and less original fare, and opts instead to re-boot, re-make, ride trends, and sequelize (we may have just made that word up),  it's the audience that drives the product. People show up for the same old same old, so why should the Studios bother trying anything new. Twilight was a massive hit? Let's try to launch 20 new tent-pole series of tween romances with supernatural elements, because that's what draws people in. Out of ideas? Let's remake everything, because people will show up to see anything that they already know.

Hollywood doesn't take many risks anymore because they can't afford to. We just don't show up enough when they do.

It's a shame that a movie like Pacific Rim, as imperfect as it may be, couldn't find a bigger audience. It truly is.

Pacific Rim is gorgeous, action-packed fun on a massive scale, and is genuinely one of the best times we've had in a theater for years. It lacks a bit of depth, feels a bit over-edited in spots, and could have given us more variety when it came to seeing the Jagers in action, but holy hell this was one enjoyable flick to behold on an IMAX screen. It brought out the kid in us, and there's really not much more we could have asked for from this flick.

Do yourself a favor and take your movie-loving arses to the theater and see this one, and do it soon. Not only because it's fun as hell, but because this is exactly the kind of movie that deserves your patronage. We're hoping that countries like China and Japan will embrace this one and give its International Box Office a boost, because we'd love to see a sequel.

B+

Maybe we did create our own Jaeger poster, and maybe the name we chose is a bit unconventional, but it amused us. We're definitely our own best customer.


4 comments :

  1. Pissflap Fingerbang is awesome. Going on my facebook right now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi :) I love to read this blog, I'm not much of a pro like all of you but I enjoyed it quite a lot, also I've loved many of your recommendations.

    I have to say though that I do agree this one should be a blockbuster for the summer but is not as great at you described (I mean really, so chessy characters? the ending OMG, really you just escaped and now it turns out he got out as well?)... Also, it kind of borrowing the idea (without the controversial part) of Evangelion... so, not very original.. but hey, it was worth, like a summer movie.

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  3. Did we watch the same movie?
    The cast is pretty solid? The acting was horrible!
    I like sc-fi but this movie was a dull movie for kids (Elbow rocket? Triple arm technique? *sigh*)
    This is what a Summer Blockbuster is supposed to be? Well, I hope not!

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  4. Don't know what to tell you, Anon. We enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

    ReplyDelete