Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pacific Rim

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  What?  Giant robots fighting monsters?  Where do I sign up?





Pacific Rim - 5 out of 5

Although Guillermo del Toro says he came up with Pacific Rim as a way of introducing monster/mech battles to a new generation, I imagine that he was thinking about things like Godzilla, Gamera and Japanese anime like Voltron and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and said, in a quiet voice, "I can do better."

**Warning:  This review may contain some mild spoilers and huge amounts of me nearly confessing my love for the film itself.**

After a portal opens deep in the Pacific Ocean, giant monsters called Kaiju (the Japanese word for...well..."giant monster") start coming through and attacking the world.  Tanks, fighter jets and even slingshots proved to be of no use and mankind is forced to create their own monsters; giant battle mechs called Jaegers.  To successfully pilot these lumbering stacks of punch throwing metal, two pilots must be linked through a mental link because the stress is too much for one pilot to bear.  Over time, mankind gains some success battling the Kaiju but the monsters get stronger and soon it becomes too much. 

                                                                                           Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
For example, they start singing.


After a brawl ends up killing his brother, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) quits fighting only to learn that the government has shut down the Jaeger program not long after and has put their time and money into a wall to keep the Kaiju out.  The man who use to give Raleigh his order; Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) refuses to quit and plays deaf when he's told to close down, so he gathers all the Jaegers he can get his hands on and sets out to get himself some pilots in order to stop the Kaiju problem once and for all...one of those pilots is Becket.  Soon he has a new partner, a mysterious young woman named Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), and is out to kick some Kaiju ass...except, two young scientists--Dr. Newton Geizler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman)--informed them that it may not be as easy as they think as they find out the Kaiju are getting stronger and evolving...and they have a plan.

                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
"Alright guys, let's hurry this up.  Taco Bell is waiting on this Kaiju corpse."


I've been not so patiently waiting for this film since I saw the first trailer...

This trailer...





Once I saw that and heard it was from Guillermo del Toro, I was sold.  Even at his worst, del Toro makes films that make me have a nerdgasm.  The man knows how to tell an epic story and he took the genre of mechs and monsters fighting to a level that will be hard--maybe impossible--to top.  This was one of my top Summer of 2013 movies I had to see, so I did what anyone else would do...I saw that shit at an IMAX theater!


First off, del Toro brought in the best cast money could buy to make this one amazing.  Charlie Hunnam is fantastic in Sons of Anarchy and he really made the character of Becket a badass.  I had some reserves about Hunnam in the main role because, even though he's awesome in SoA, the times I've seen him in films haven't been the best.  However, after a shaky start, Hunnam really makes the character someone to keep the film flowing.

                                                                                           Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Okay, I just put this pic in to throw a bone to a certain portion of my readers...
you're welcome.

Hunnam was backed up with his character's new partner; Mako Mori.  Not only is this character's backstory extremely interesting and captivating, Rinko Kikuchi took Hunnam badass approach and kicked it up a few notches.  It only helped things when she fantastically portrayed the vulnerability her character has faced with the Kaiju.  It could have been easy for this character to be the usual "damsel in distress" that is usually reserved for women in Sci-Fi tales but Mori is more than that and Kikuchi played it accordingly.

                                                                                          Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
"Guys, I garlic-burped in my helmet.  Can we stop for a moment?"


These two in the starring roles could have been enough but this is del Toro we are talking about.  He doesn't stop when things get "adequate."  No, this man said, "I need more talent--I need more talent than I have broken steel on monster flesh in this movie."

                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Every time they do this, you know someone is trying to get them to all sing
"Leaving On a Jet Plane."


Idris Elba continues to show how he is one of the best actors in the business as he made Stacker Pentecost more than just your usual quiet, intimidating General-type.  I only assume that Elba was just basically playing himself...only quieting down his badass level to more human standards.  What can I say?  Elba is really freaking talented!

                                                                                          Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
I was ready to toss down my popcorn and run into battle when Elba gave his
"We are cancelling the apocalypse" speech.



                                                               Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
It takes a Full-on Rapist to take down the Kaiju.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Charlie Day nearly stole the movie as Dr. Newton Geizler.  The humor we've come to know from him in It's Always Sunny is there but he also really hits the mark as an eccentric scientist who has a unique obsession with trying to understand the Kaiju.  The moments he shares with Burn Gorman are some of the best in the movie.  Thanks to my obsession with Doctor Who, I've come to have a special place in my heart for Gorman because of his portrayal as Owen Harper in the Doctor Who spin-off; Torchwood.  It was great to see him in this movie and his character was just an eccentric genius who was a joy to watch play-out on the screen.

                                                                                           Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
No, that's not a Kaiju penis behind Gorman.


I can't forget one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet being in this movie.  I'm talking about one of del Toro's friends and Hellboy himself; Ron "Fucking" Perlman.  If Charlie Day nearly stole the film, it was just assured that Perlman succeeded in doing it.  But he didn't just steal it.  He stole it, took it out for a good time and made it fall in love with him.  His role as the black marketer that has license to harvest dead Kaiju bodies and sell the organs to people looking for modern day snake oils for cure-alls may have been short but they were just a riot.  Not only did he look awesome in that freaking suit (seriously, I want that suit) but he once again proves that there is a reason why there is only one Ron Perlman in the world.

                                                                                           Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Perlman, seen here in his natural habitat of being cooler than we could ever hope
to be.


The cast wasn't the only thing going on in this film that kicked major ass.  The special effects were jaw-droppinly insane!  The sense of scale that were able to successfully achieve is like nothing else I've seen in the world of movies.  These Jaegers are huge and some of the Kaiju were huge-er...and it looked like it!  Seeing these behemoths walk in-between skyscrapers, toss tankers around like they were made of Styrofoam or seeing their human pilots stand on the tops of their monster-crushing steads really showed the extreme scope this beasts were on...and seeing the movie at an IMAX theater like I did only helped things.

                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Voltron just dropped some bolts into his lower chassis looking at this.


The soundtrack this movie had going for it could not have been more perfectly orchestrated.  The score not only fits the heroic tale of triumph against unheard of adversity but, if you pay close attention, some of the songs hearken back to the familiar songs you would hear in Godzilla films when the giant lizard was making his way out of the oceans, hellbent on destroying Tokyo for the hundredth time.  It was like del Toro was saying, "Yeah, I will honor those that came before me but it's not going to stop me from making something that is beyond your wildest imaginations."

                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Since nearly everything can kill you in Australia, I imagine the Kaiju had an
extremely difficult time there.


This goes right into the awesome sound this film had.  The sound of the beasts and robo-suits in-and-out of action is an audiophile's dream!  The rumble of the Jaeger's footsteps, the crashing of glass as a Kaiju leaps through a tall building, the crumbling of concrete as contestant takes a knee, the twisting sound of steel as pressure builds during battle all come together in a monstrously beautiful orgy of battle noise that made this already epic film even more epic!  And I geeked out every time I heard Ellen McLain's voice as the Jaeger's A.I.  Wait...you don't know who Ellen McLain is?  She's the voice of GLaDOS.  And if you don't know who GLaDOS is, drop everything you are doing (even reading this review) and go and play Portal.

I also really dug the look of the film.  Guillermo del Toro knows how to shoot a movie and he can do it really fucking well.  The thing I've always loved about his movies is the fact, to me, they've always looked like comic books come to life.  The way he shoots his cast and the action makes it look like those color pages have jumped out into our world.  You could pause this movie at any point and it would look like a single cell on a comic book page.  

                                                                                         Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Total comic book cell here.


With the style, the filmmakers made the Jaeger suits feel like they could actually exist.  I know that sounds weird since gigantic fucking robot suits feel like a complete fantasy.  However, the Jaegers looked battle worn.  Their paint is chipping, they are dented, you can see rust spots around the gears, coils and bolts...they really looked like they've seen action and when you combine that to how the pilots made the thing move and how convincing the film makes the idea of a holographic interface and piloting through a mind-meld (seriously, they sure made it sound legit) and the Jaegers just ended up feeling extremely realistic and authentic and helped the film feel more than just a generic battle-suited men fighting monsters film.  There was even some fun Steampunk-like elements thrown in here and there that I enjoyed.

                                                                                           Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
"The mind-melt may be a little uncomfortable but wait until the lock us in these
harnesses and engage the 'anal lock.'"


The greatest thing, by far, was the absolutely outrageous and in-fucking-credible action that this film gives you.  No two battles are the same and never, NEVER do they get boring, drawn-out or repetitive.  It took all my restraint to not get up and pump my fist and cheer on the Jaegers as they took on the Kaiju because these fights were just that plain fucking awesome!  The destruction, the rocket-powered punches, the creepy blue goo that came off the Kaiju--all of this blended together in a smoothie that just tasted of awesome.  And all the little sight gags they threw in during the battles only ended up added some whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry to this already tasty smoothie of killer action!

                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
These Jaegers are so badass, just looking at this still can force a person into puberty.


Pictured:  A God among men.
Pacific Rim is one of those perfect summer, popcorn, big-budget blockbusters that shows us why you have to see a movie on the big screen.  The cast is amazing, the story is a geek's wet dream and the action is a roller-coaster ride that makes your heart pump with adrenaline and forces you to stand up and scream for joy against your will.  This is just another example of Guillermo del Toro proving he knows what his audience wants and he's not afraid to give it to them.  I enjoyed this film so much and am such a fan of del Toro's work that I no longer believe he is a mortal man.  He clearly is an eternal being sent from another world to give us movies that defy words and belief.  Michael Bay take note:  Guillermo del Toro made a movie about giant robots and did it without making any of them racist caricatures and giving any of them testicles for cheap laughs.  Pacific Rim is one of those movies I will see over and over again and have no doubt it will never get old doing so.

4 comments:

  1. 100% agree with this review. When it comes on on DVD, it will have its cherished place next to my Godzilla films.

    P.S. I am so glad I'm no the only one who wants Perlman's suit. Honestly, I will give all 10 of my toes to the first person that tells me where I can get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...that suit was unbelievably awesome!

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  2. What movie were you watching? Everything I saw was predictable, shallow, clichéd, combined with weak overacting. I must have been at a different movie...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must have been. Theaters can be confusing.

      Delete

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