Pacific Rim almost makes up for the lackluster movie summer season by not being overbloated or have a head scratching plot.
I may sound a bit hyper critical of this movie since so many of the geeks are gushing over it.
Pacific Rim directed by Guiliermo Del Toro is a movie about alien life emerging from the Pacific Ocean and like the old Godzilla movies the Earth becomes a battle ground with humanity leaving their differences behind and building giant robots called Jaegers to fight these monster that have been dubbed Kaiju.
The voice over (which I cannot stand) by Raleigh Becket played by Charlie Hunnam tells us as much. I’m willing to ignore this since short hand is needed to get through a lot of the backstory without putting the audience to sleep.
What won’t put the audience to sleep is how much repetition there is in this movie. I don’t mean bang bang shoot ’em up scenes that don’t advance the plot. I mean someone felt the need to repeat dialogue every five minutes in an attempt to make sure the audience knew what was going on. A move that isn’t needed for the age group in my opinion and instead of adding more plot to the Jaeger pilots we get characters reminding each other of things they already know.
The merging of two minds to control some robots is a great idea and should work to the character’s benefit with shorthand but it becomes technobabble when it doesn’t need to be. The technobabble helps in the end with the help of the two doctors in charge, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. Along for the ride is black marketer Hannibal Chau played by del Toro favorite Ron Pearlman who strips clean the Kaiju for any useful cures.
The Kaiju War has been going on for years and one day Raleigh and his brother Yancy pilot a Jeager called Gypsy Danger into battle with disastrous results. A burned out Raleigh drifts for years helping build walls that will hopefully keep the Kaiju out. Meanwhile, the Jaeger program under command of Stacker Pentecost played by Idris Elba is given it’s walking papers and sent to Tokyo. Not a man to be told no Idris shines as the commander down to his last hand in the deck. And that hand is of course Raleigh.
With the Kaiju attacks increasing and the Jaegers dropping, Raleigh is introduced to Mako Mori played by Rinko Kikuchi. Mako is not the damsel in distress. And doesn’t get kidnapped by the Kaiju. She may have daddy issues but her skills at rebuilding Gypsy and the under developed/not missed crush on Raleigh is a welcome sign. The fact she can go toe to toe with him gets her the co-pilot slot on Gypsy.
The stars of the movie besides the different Jaegers and Kaiju are the pilots from the different super powers. This is where the Pacific Rim and often other movies stumble a bit when not fleshing out these characters. Instead of making an impression on the audience when it comes down the eleventh hour/hail mary play by Raleigh these characters should come out and shine but instead stuff blows up and forces Raleigh into battle with the untested Mako.
The father and son team of Hercules Hansen and Chuck are given the most spotlight of the secondary pilots just too bad the Russians and Chinese triplets were given a bit more to work with.
Oh the battles you ask?
Spectacular on the big screen and is a wonder to watch after suffering through three Transformers movies. Del Toro knows how to direct if even sometimes the underwater battle sequences get a little too dark and too quick. Of the movies this season this type of giant monster vs. giant robot movie the destruction p0rn is expected so I can ignore that. The universe building of humanity creating Kaiju fallout shelters or giant walls or the black market scenes are a great scenes and plot devices.
If the repetition of the dialogue had been ignored and if the other pilot’s had been given a bit more to work with I think this would have been a sure fire home run and for most it will be but it’s a triple that should be seen in IMAX. Soundtrack and art book are worth getting.
Here’s hoping it does better than Grown Ups 2…