Monday, 15 July 2013

Film Review: Pacific Rim

"Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!" 

Guillermo del Toro is back this time bringing us a love letter to Japanese Kaiju monster films. A tale of invading monstrous creatures(Kaiju), and humanities fight to stop them using the gigantic robots known as Jaegers.

It's nice to have a summer blockbuster that isn't a re-make or a sequel. Pacific Rim is $180million special effects behemoth of unpretentious fun.

From the very start we are thrown into a Blade Runner-esque world of high technology and cultural and social dilapidation. The CGI is stunning and no time is wasted introducing us to the Kaiju or the Jaegers. The pre-title sequence gives us a brief run down of when the Kaiju attacks began and how the Jaeger program came about before throwing us head first into the pre-fight Jaeger prep and a one on one match up between the Kaiju 'Knifehead' and the Jaeger 'Gipsy Danger'. The fight gives us our first taste of the wonderfully violent Mech-warrior vs. Bio-monstrosity battles that are the focal point of the movie.
Gipsey Danger, a mark 3 Jaeger, is piloted by Raleigh Becket(Charlie Hunnam) and his older brother Yancy Becket(Diego Klattenhoff). The opening fight sees the Kaiju get defeated but not before Yancy is killed. We also find out that the Jaeger pilots' minds are linked as the Jaegers are controller by thought as much as action and the neural load needs to be shared over two minds to be safe. Yancy being killed whilst the neural link is still active plays a major part in Raleigh's character development and his interactions.
It is suggested that the strength of the Kaiju that kills Yancy is surprising and that the Kaijus are getting stronger.

Jump several years forward and we are now presented with an Earth that is worse off than before. The Kaiju attacks are becoming more frequent, the Jaegers are being defeated more often and the governments of the world have cancelled funding on the Jaeger program. They're now implementing a rather pathetic and desperate plan B. Building a wall around the entire Pacific Rim. The main issues here being that the wall is about as tall as the Kaiju's are. No surprises that a Kaiju has the wall down in no time at all then.
This leads to the films must have 4-star general, Stacker Pentecost(Idris Elba), being given 'one last chance'. He is allowed to form one last Jaeger team, based out of Hong Kong, to face the ever stronger Kaiju threat in an ultimate showdown.
As many Jaegers as can be mustered, and their international assortment of pilots, gather to form this team.
Raleigh is dragged out of 'retirement' to pilot the refurbished 'Gipsy Danger' and through a gauntlet of obstacles get's the untested Mako Mori(Rinko Kikuchi) as his new co-pilot. Mako lost her family in a Kaiju attack at a young age and joined the Jaeger program after this. But despite showing awesome potential in training Pentecost is reluctant to use her due to her strong emotional drive and it's potential impact on the neural link.
All the other pilots have their own issues, and to provide a little comic relief a pair of quirky scientists are introduced, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb(Burn Gorman) a tweed wearing British introvert and Dr. Newton Geiszler(Charlie Day) a loud, tattoo'd  biologist with a big personality.
Also present is a dubious black market salesman called Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman), a character who wears gold-plated shoes and collects remnants of the monsters to sell on. Chau provides a platform for Perlman to have a pretty humours cameo in the film to add a little more comedy.

The forming of this team, and the social development between the major members of it, is punctuated with more awesome battles with the Kaiju. Which is good, as the film's plot and the character's personalities certainly could not hold the viewers attention on their own. These battles do result in the loss of some pilots, but the lack of any serious interactions with them before hand stops you feeling much in the way of loss at this. It is more just par for the course.
From about half way through the movie starts to build up to the inevitable major battle at the end. You know it is coming, but the part's in between have enough action and epic scenes to keep you interested and not just wishing for the major conflict the hurry up and happen.

All in all Pacific Rim is a very enjoyable movie. The CGI is very well done, the design of the props, sets, outfits and general technology is amazing and certainly call for some cos-play plans for the future.
The story isn't strong, but it doesn't claim to be, keeping things comedic and never taking it's self too seriously.
The dialogue seemed a bit disjointed, not always in the performance of it, sometimes just the writing didn't seem like it was going anywhere. Just a filler between fight. Which in a way it was, but more could have been done to mask this.
I would suggest it to friends, I feel like this world has so much more to give also!
There are issues with this film, but it's extremely fun despite that and I would suggest watching it on the big screen.
I give Pacific Rim 3.5/5

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