Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pacific Rim


To Fight Monster, You Need Monsters

8.25 out of 10 | Movie and DVD

Rated: PG-13 Sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, an brief language
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Runtime: 2 hours 11 minutes

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Diego Klattenhoff, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky

SYNOPSIS:  When an alien attack threatens the Earth's existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.

REVIEW: Guillermo del Toro, known for hits like the sequel better than the original Blade II, the fantasy Pan's Labyrinth, and the Hellboy franchise, works with Clash of the Titans (2010) scribe Travis Beacham to bring to screen a Godzilla / Mech Godzilla epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure for a new generation. How do you fight enormous alien monsters? Build mechanized monsters of your own!

In the very near future a dimensional rift tears at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. From the depths of this scar allows giant alien monsters called Kaiju to come up from the depth and decimates major coastal cities. In response to the threat, the nations of the world pool their resources to construct giant mechanical warriors called Jaegers manned by two pilots to combat this new threat. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy) and his older brother Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff, After Earthare recruited into the program and fight all Kaiju monsters that comes at them. When Raleigh's brother is killed in combat, he drops out of the program and disappears for five years. When Marshall Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, Prometheus) faces the elimination of the Jaeger program in favor of a towering coastal wall, Pentecost recruits Raleigh again to pilot one of the four remaining Jaegers in an all out offensive against the dimensional breach. Raleigh is forced to pilot with a new generation pilot named  Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi, The Warped Forest) and join the international collection of pilots for the remaining Jaegers to combat the monsters who seem to evolve each time one of them comes through the breach. Are they doomed to fail and are the inhabitants of the earth destined to become extinct?

Guillermo Deltoro directs his version of a Godzilla epic for a brand-new generation. But this time we have no sympathy for the misunderstood monsters that come from the ocean's depths. Instead we have to side with the military and scientists trying to rid the planet of the continual threats and possible eminent extinction. Never has a species faced such a continual threat, each monstrous incursion taking a toll on our defenders.

The concept of giant robots piloted by humans against the enormous monsters is not a new concept. Anyone who has watched weekday afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons from the 70s, 80s and 90s can remember shows like Voltron, G-Force, Power Rangers, or Robotech as examples of this type of action/sci-fi/fantasy. In this case, Voltron would come the closest with its human piloted mechanical defenders against alien invaders. With two human pilots, each Jaeger has vast offensive armaments, and hand-to-hand that are an extension of the pilots own combat skills.

Both the Jaegers and the alien Kaiju monsters are beautifully rendered CGI eye candy. The entire film flows seamlessly with no week FX elements. While not wholly original as it pertains to this kind of action adventure film, del Toro takes some of the typical disaster film motifs and work them expertly into the movie. From Pentecost's rally speech for his soldiers (a la Independence Day), to the UN officials forcing the Jaeger program disband in favor of a less tested solution, to 
familiar character archetypes that are both clichéd and well worn. Pacific Rim provides a simple light story and elaborate action that lets you enjoy every kernel of popcorn.

The Pacific Rim cast looked like they're having fun during the filming of this monster flick, not taking it too dramatically or seriously. The film is high octane action from the Jargers and their pilots, and fun comedic relief by 
Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day, Horrible Bosses) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman, The Dark Knight Rises), with a light story to piece it all together. Guillermo del Toro is a fine visual storyteller, and this effort is no different. Pacific Rim may not have the same aesthetics and drama as Pan's Labyrinth, but the film does fit into del Toro's canon of films similar to the Hellboy franchise and the Blade II sequel. Max Martini (Colombiana), Robert Kazinsky (Red Tails), and Ron Perlman (Drive) round out the main cast.

During the film the first Kaiju monster become a plush toy, a video game characters, and the other source for other merchandising opportunities. But when the second Kaiju appears to ravage another city, that is no longer the case. For 
Pacific Rim, I could see the Jaegers becoming oversized Mattel toys like the Shogun Warriors of the 70s and 80s, and the Kaiju monsters being their plastic opponents. Whether this is a signal for great merchandising or for this film's success, there are plenty of opportunities to be had surrounding this film.

Pacific Rim is a great adventure in the style of any of a number of 60s Japanese monster flicks. The action is crazy, the Jaegers cool, and the Kaiju monsters ferocious. The film may be a little light in story but the action makes the 131 minutes go by very quickly. I am almost upset that I did not have more popcorn to eat!

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