Pacific Rim: perfect summer blockbuster

Daniel Woodhouse

Anyone miss the old Godzilla movies where giant titans with superpowers would tear each other apart while laying waste to entire cities? Well, the new Godzilla reboot won’t be out ‘til 2014, so until then we have Pacific Rim.

Set seven years in the future, Earth is under attack from giant monsters called the Kaiju. The creatures are invading the planet from a dimensional rift deep within the Pacific Ocean. Instead of dropping a couple dozen nukes through the portal, the military opts form a more creative option. The Jaeger program is born: A project that involves the construction and creation of giant robots. However, the creatures have begun to develop ways of countering the Jaegers and are winning the war. With nothing left to lose, the remaining Jaeger forces gather together in Hong Kong in a final desperate attempt to exterminate the Kaiju menace.

 

Pacific Rim exceeds expectations by continuing the old space monster movie tradition and bringing its own contemporary flair into the mix.
Pacific Rim exceeds expectations by continuing the old space monster movie tradition and bringing its own contemporary flair into the mix.

Director Guillermo del Toro has done a spectacular job creating a visually stunning and action-packed thrill ride of a film. Limbs are torn off, bones are crushed, metal is shredded, flesh is burned and blood and oil are spilled. The battles between the robots and monsters are sights to behold, like epic clashes of the gods. The ferocity of the Kaiju gives them a sort of animalistic nature, and makes them quite terrifying. Del Toro should also be applauded for the camera work — some of the best of the year — that perfectly captures the grand nature of the battle sequences.

Del Toro and writer Travis Beacham have created a script that melds the elements of a summer blockbuster and a 1960-70’s B-movie monster flick. There’s plenty of style, and just enough substance to keep it from getting too corny.

The characters aren’t particularly memorable, but they do have some fine actors backing them up. Charlie Hunnam, as Becket, plays the typical hero with an ego who returns to redeem himself. Rinko Kikuchi, as Mako, is the rookie that wants to be a soldier for revenge. Ron Perlman, as Hannibal, is a sleazy businessman that makes big bucks by selling monster organs. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play two quirky scientists, who provide the film’s comedic relief, and do a good job not coming off as annoying. The best performance comes from Idris Elba, as Marshall Pentecost, who commands the movie every time he steps onto the screen (though I might be my biased because of my undying love of  The Wire).

Pacific Rim’s greatest strengths are its amazing special effects and beautiful set design. Both the robots and sea beasts are incredibly detailed and look spectacular. The effects themselves make the action awe-inspiring during the climactic engagements.

Pacific Rim is a ton of fun, and it’s the kind of movie that doesn’t come around often.

 

5 out of 5 stars