Pacific Rim [Review]
If William Shakespeare wrote plays about giant monster-punching robots, it would look just like Pacific Rim, more or less. This is the film of the summer, and we should now feel bad for every other movie in the theatres for the next 60 days. While that may sound like over-hyped gushing, I assure you it is. This movie is not more than it appears to be, it knows what it is, and refuses to take itself too seriously, while maintaining a very high level of quality. Essentially, it’s as close to a perfect movie as you can get. The plot was good, well thought out, while not being convoluted. The storyline and storytelling were all very well done. The dialogue was snappy, funny, and natural. The performances were smooth, and the chemistry between cast members was right on the mark. The direction was comprehensive, and controlled. The action sequences were long enough to be entertaining, but not so long that they became tiresome. The fights were all different. The cinematography was beautifully done, as were the effects, and editing. Moreover, the monsters were really cool looking and there was a clear threat to humanity, these things could easily have won. Any problems that I saw were minor things that only nit-picky film nerds would notice and won’t reduce the enjoyability of the film in any way.
Do you need me to tell you what this film is about? Big monsters attack cities from a dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean. Humanity builds huge fighting robots to defend the planet. However, that isn’t entirely what this movie is about, that is just the circumstances where the movie is set. It’s really about the people inside the big robots, and that is where this film hits it out of the park. This leads me to the cast. Charlie Hunnam is our hero, Raleigh Becket. A retired Jaeger pilot after losing his brother, while neurologically linked, in their Jaeger, Gipsy Danger. Charlie Hunnam, a relative newcomer to leading film roles, this will most certainly not be his last. He holds his own while being relatable, and charismatic. Idris Elba is Stacker Pentecost, the commander of the Jaeger program, and a former pilot. You should recognize him as Heimdall from Thor. His projection of authority in this film is absolute. It is an absolute joy to watch his performance. Rinko Kikuchi plays the resident female, and Raleigh Becket’s new copilot. Her performance is considerably softer, but with a sharper edge than her co-stars, who seem to have approached their performances as blunt weapons (effective, yet blunt). She too was an absolute joy to watch. It’s refreshing to see a female take a equal hero’s role, without being slightly objectified. I thank Guillermo del Toro for making that decision, it made for a strong character, and a stronger movie. Robert Kazinsky plays Chuck Hansen, the antithesis of Raleigh Becket, but a strong and reliable pilot. You may recognize him from True Blood, EastEnders, or Red Tails but no one saw that. Based on his performance here I expect to see more of him in the near future. He was severely antagonistic, and it definitely looks like he had fun with the role. Max Martini plays Herc Hansen, Chuck Hansen’s co-pilot and father. I recognize him from Saving Private Ryan and Contact, but his credits are extensive. He is a character actor, so it’s a face you will find familiar. He plays his part confidently, and masterfully, one of the characters that successfully keeps things moving in the right direction. Finally, Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, and Charlie Day as Dr. Newton Geizler, these two provide not only an extraordinary amount of dry and subtle comedy, they provide an incredible amount of movement in the plot. After all, someone has to explain what the monsters are, where they are coming from, and how to stop them. You will recognize Charlie Day if you watch it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Burn Gorman should look familiar if you watched Torchwood, Game of Thrones, or The Dark Knight Rises. These two are simply fantastic to watch on screen and they are best when they are playing off each other.
Guillermo del Toro’s fingerprints are all over this film, and that is a very good thing, from the style of the robots and the monsters, to the conscious effort to avoid civilian casualties. For as much destruction and fighting there is very little interpersonal violence. In fact, if there weren’t parts of this film that would outright scare the crap out of small children, this would be quite appropriate for a comparatively young audience. This is only going to do tremendous things for Guillermo del Toro, and rightfully so. He has again proven himself an extraordinary director, and solid screenwriter. There is already talk of a sequel and I would have no complaints about that.
This was screened in IMAX 3D. If you like 3D, go for it. The 3D was fantastic. It added extraordinary depth and richness to the picture, without any distracting gimmicks. I also believe if you were not a fan of 3D this would probably look just as magnificent in 2D. I personally plan to enjoy this again without the 3D, if there is a significant difference I will post an update here.
Going to give this a solid 5 out of 5. Go see this movie; you will enjoy your pants off.