Mr Sunday Reviews PACIFIC RIM
Mr Sunday’s review of the latest 2013 blockbuster is in! How does it stack up against the likes of Man Of Steel, Iron Man 3 and The Lone Ranger? Well it’s better than at least one of those three. Check out the full breakdown after the jump!
Click on the embedded video below for a comprehensive and brief review of Pacific Rim or read the transcribed article below that. Watch the video though, it's infinitely better. Well, marginally.
The arrival of Pacific Rim comes as a welcome relief, purely in the sense it’s nice to finally have an original big budget movie property in 2013. Well, one that people might actually wish to see (thanks for playing After Earth). It comes after a season of reboots, sequels, threequels, prequels and movies where the villain is captured on purpose and placed in a glass prison. Again. Funnily enough we have the long delay of The Hobbit Trilogy to thank for this movie coming about, with Guillermo Del Toro originally slated to take over all things Middle Earth from Peter Jackson before bailing on the project after becoming tired of sitting around twiddling his thumbs. And also probably disagreements over the inclusions of an extended dish washing scene.
As its director has made clear, Pacific Rim is of course not a wholly original concept, it owes a great debt to the traditional Toho monster movies that began in the fifties and various anime materials that have come since, not to mention the likes of alien invasion films in the vein of ID4. This is the first time however we’ve seen a film with a budget and scale this size attempted on the big screen and that in itself is worth the price of admission. And besides, I’d rather see something not attempted before than spend the rest of my life watching increasingly worse incarnations of Spider-Man.
The story of Pacific Rim is a simple one, a portal in the bottom of the ocean cracks open, giant monsters come out and wreck the joint. The people of earth then retaliate by building giant mechanical fighting robots piloted by two humans linked telepathically. It’s a story that on a base level sounds simple, or even quite crap. And in hands of a lesser film maker that’s exactly what this would be. However with this film there’s not a lesser film maker to be found as Michael Bay is busy story boarding jagged pieces of metal rolling into each other for a fourth film in a franchise everyone will hate but will end up seeing anyways.
Pacific Rim is not Del Toro’s greatest movie, not by a long shot, as it’s certainly not without its faults. In particular some of the dialogue spouted from our main protagonist. Maybe it’s the material, or perhaps his seemingly forced delivery but his character comes off stiff and hard to relate to. That being said he does get the job done. Other cast members fair better with the limited material they are given, Charlie Day is great as is Ron Perlman in a minor role and Idris Elba, like his character in the film, is the fixed point in this movies that holds everything together. However speaking from a purely Australian perspective the two Australian Jaeger pilots with their awful accents are unintentionally hilarious. One scene between the father and son duo in particular that’s an attempt at a quieter more intimate moment comes off laboured and funny as all hell. I rank it as one of the most terrible (and somehow the best) scene I’ve witnessed this year.
Going into this movie however, there’s one thing you expect to see. Giant robots and giant monster kicking the shit out of each other. Except for an extended lull after the first encounter this movie delivers on this promise tenfold. The battle scenes are spectacular, nothing like this has been seen in a live action movie before and I’m finding it hard to imagine going back to movies with only single monster trashing a city, like next year’s Godzilla reboot. The level of design at play here is also incredible, from detail and weight demonstrated in the creatures and mech’s, down to the physical sets, most notable Jaeger headquarters, referred to in the film as the Shatterdome. Everything in this world feels real despite the heightened future reality we’re presented with.
I’ll say this of Pacific Rim, though I certainly didn’t love it, it stands as the only big budget release this blockbuster season that I haven’t felt a pang of disappointment in. A lot of that possibly boils down to the fact it’s not based on an existing property, or a follow-up to a previous film. I think the fact that it is new property frees up the audience from any kind of impossible to reach nostalgic expectation that a lot of people (including myself at times) enter a cinema with.
I should mention that it’s certainly not clever movie on any level, don’t go into this thinking you’ll be getting a smart science fiction romp close to the likes of District 9. The human characters, even the ones that rise above the others, are two dimensional for the most part and purely exist to give us breathing space between epic showdowns. However I feel for young children this will become their Independence Day (the movie not the holiday) or even their Jurassic Park, in the sense it’s a defining visual effects spectacular that will stick with them long after they exit childhood and become the bitter, jaded adults.
So there we go, Pacific Rim, it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be really, no better, no worse, if you’re into the trailers you’ll probably have yourself a good time. I’d love to know what you thought of Pacific Rim, and if you haven’t seen it I’d love to know who your favourite movie monster is. For me The Thing from The Thing is pretty great, but what do you like? Sound off in the usual place with your thoughts. Thanks everyone, enjoy your weekend. - Mr Sunday
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