July 14, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

When the year started, there were a few movies I was really looking forward to. These movies included Lords of Salem, Evil Dead, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the upcoming Elysium. However, there was one movie I kept forgetting about and I do not know why. That movie was, of course, Pacific Rim. How this big robots versus monster movie kept escaping my memory, I will never know. Fortunately, the trailers and promos over the past month or so have made sure that my mind did not forget for long.

Pacific Rim is one of those big summer movies that just gets it right. I is a movie that gives you just enough story to get you through, just enough heart to make you care, and plenty of action to get your blood pumping and make you cheer. Yes, a lot of movies do that, but this one does it just a little bit differently, there is something about the execution that makes stand head and shoulders above so many so-called blockbusters of the past and present.

The film was directed and co-written by Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth). This creative mind and geek at heart knows that to make stuff like this work you have to take it that extra step, take something of a leap, something that big studio pictures do not seem to do all that often. He also knows that when given the opportunity, take it and play with all the tools at your disposal. Pacific Rim is just that movie, it knows how to keep you involved and also knows how to go right for the child that every geek has inside of them.

Pacific Rim left me with a grin from ear to ear. It is a movie that knows how to balance itself. Sure, it is definitely leaning towards the big and bombastic with all of the effects driven action, but it is more than that. It feels very much like an old cool kaiju played with modern toys. It is like being a kid again smashing your toys together in the sandbox, making crashing noises with your mouth, playing out a gigantic global battle for the safety of the sandbox.

This is a massive film with a very epic scope that does not shy away from the anger while also ensuring there is always some entertainment going on. There is an epic, globe encompassing tale being played out through the eyes of but a few. Now, it is not nearly as serious, but it does something similar to what Alfonso Cuaron did with Children of Men. This movie gives you bits and pieces but does not always connect them, it leaves gaps and holes allowing you to fill in the gaps as you see fit. It is kind of brilliant how it gives the emotional and plot-driven road map and how it keeps you right there with them as they focus on the bigger picture.

The story is set at some point on the future and the shifting of tectonic plates in the Pacific has opened a rift between two dimensions. Through this rift a monster comes and wreaks havoc on the west coast, destroying multiple cities before being taken down. Some months later another monster appears on Japan. To combat what appears to be an ongoing menace, giant robots called jaegers are created. They contain two pilots whose brains are linked to do battle with the giant beats, know given names and classes. This epic battle of metal and monster becomes something of a sport with the pilots becoming stars.

The movie introduces us to all of this, but then ups the stakes. Tragedy hits, things happen and the fight becomes much more critical, much more dire. This is where the bulk of the movie takes place. A world that is battered, bruised, looking for answers, creating new markets, new religions, anything to make sees of what is going on.

The entire thing is pretty fascinating, watching this world that Del Toro and writer Travis Beacham have created open up before us. It reveals bits and pieces about society and how the world now operates while never losing the focus of the characters. Besides creating an interesting world, the characters are interesting and rounded as well. Of course, there are plenty of big, over the top moments and silly dialogue, but it all plays into the fun.

I know I haven't really given you much about the specifics, but seriously, what is there to know? You have giant robots playing defender of the Earth while giant monsters try to destroy it. That is all you need to know, the rest you will have fun discovering once you get in the theater. There are little details about why some of this is happening sprinkle.d throughout, some personal conflict, global disaster, hope, gloom. The whole gamut of the human experience.

Guillermo Del Toro has crafted a summer movie that truly delivers from all fronts. Well, perhaps not all, but most, all the ones that matter in a special effects driven feature.

Highly Recommended.

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