People in armored costumers piloting giant robots to defeat giant monsters: sounds like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers right? Well to Guillermo Del Toro (director of the Hellboy films and Pan’s Labyrinth it sounds like a special effects loaded, fist smashing blockbuster featuring Jaegers (giant robots) killing Kaiju (giant monsters) stomping into your local theaters at this very moment. “Pacific Rim” deals with a gigantic war between giant monsters: one type is flesh and blood and takes pleasure is wiping out humanity and leveling its cities like cardboard (the Kaiju), and the other are giant robots made by humans in order to kill the Kaiju and cease humanity from slipping into annihilation (the Jaegers).
Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is a Jaeger pilot who lost his brother during a Kaiju battle in his Jaeger, designated “Gypsy Danger.” He is pulled back into service by Jaeger Marshall Stacker (Idris Elba) and works alongside a new co-pilot for the robot; Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). The Jaegers must put all their remaining robotic might into one final last stand against the monsters in order to save the planet and end the Kaiju threat; once and for all. “Pacific Rim” is an unusual summer blockbuster movie as it proves it has more than just atomic reactors at its core; it has a true sense of depth and dedication to its fans as well as making new ones. This movie is a fan’s film, you might not know it but it is a VERY big fan service film.
Del Toro created a world that honors and respect traditions that come right out of Japan. Everything from terminology, intercultural relationships, everything feels like it was ripped out of an anime series like “Neon Genesis Evangelion” or from a an old Godzilla movie; packaged and delivered in a way that pleases everyone, even those who are not Japan monster fans. While the plot may sound staggeringly simple about monsters battling robots and using the city as giant battlefields, an incredibly deep amount of work and effort was put into creating the new rules and systems that work within this movie’s universe. The Jaegers themselves for example; they don’t just pop in pilots and smash things, they have to create a harmonics like synchronization system that shows genuine effort and thought being put into structuring this world’s creations. I also like how the movie starts you off already in the war as opposed to starting from the beginning.
A lot of information is lobbed at you but not in an overwhelming sort of way. Everything is given at decent enough paces that you never get too bored or too bogged down by all the details. Charlie Hunnman and Rinko Kikuchi’s chemistry and relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the film. It proudly promotes relationships and connections far beyond America alone, it’s not often we see this integration on such a multi layered level. “Rim” uses not only terms from other countries like Germany and Japan (especially Japan), but also integration of fighting techniques, actors and it’s all done exceedingly well. Idris Elba continues to prove he is an excellent actor who rises to a new form of impressiveness with each role, especially in this film.
The idea of Charlie Day as a scientist sounded strange at first but he pulled it off surprisingly well and, as always, genuinely made me laugh and provided a good lightening of tension. The special effects were absolutely spectacular; every battle was different and brutal in many ways. The monsters and robots each had distinctive styles which aided in the creativity of the scope of the battles, one incredibly noteworthy scene was seeing Gypsy Danger smack the bejesus out of a scaly monster with a tanker boat like it was a baseball bat. The only criticism I would feel is worth mentioning is the over use of battles taking place at night, in the ocean, during a rainstorm. Too many dark and water logged landscapes prevent the Kaiju and the Jaegers from being in full, bright light laced glory and it would have been nice to see that.
Oversimplifying the plot is not hard to do; it really is just a movie that boils down to huge robots ripping apart huge robots across familiar and famous global cities. What is crucial to remember about “Pacific Rim” is that this is a movie that NEEDS your money because it needs NO further questioning: it is one Hell of an awesome ride. The special effects are beyond perfection, the action is constant and constantly evolving along with the monsters and robots, I adore the integration of cultural aspects and the lovely Rinko Kikuchi was a true delight on screen especially. Idris Elba rocked the house, everything is explained and handled creatively and there’s nothing else I can say about this movie other than its awesomeness should not be overlooked or dismissed.
You don’t have to be a Kaiju fan boy to enjoy this fantastic film\, Del Toro has done it again.
I give “Pacific Rim” 3 and a half stars out of 4.
Byline Rob Jefchak