After having seen Pacific Rim twice now, once on opening day and once 3 days later, I can now say that it isn’t a very complex or thoughtful movie. It’s plot is very simple; giant robots piloted by 2 humans in a neural link (“drift”) fight giant monsters to save the world. But I can also say that it is is an unbelievably enjoyable movie to watch, especially in the theatre. Guillermo del Toro has crafted a great visual spectacle with some of the best skyscraper-sized robot fight scenes I’ve ever seen (cough cough Transformers cough cough). There were really no dull moments, the action flowed nicely and since the movie clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously, a lot of its drama is, as one of my friends put it, very high school/ “Mean Girls”-ish but we are all in on the joke so its comical. I’m not going to write a summary of the movie as its not really necessary, but here’s its Wikipedia plot if you want it.
It has a great cast of TV fan favourites, including Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam (Jax Teller) as the main hero Raliegh Beckett, who is basically Jax Teller in a robot instead of on a motor cycle. He won’t exactly be winning any awards for his work in this movie but then again, the movie didn’t exactly need great acting to be good. They also brought in his SOA castmate, Ron Perlman (Clay Morrow) as Hannibal Chow, the highly entertaining, over the top underground monster body parts dealer. Others include It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s Charlie Day (Charlie Kelly) as Newt, the monster researcher/ “groupie” who brought in his previous roles’ silly antics to the movie as some good comic relief. He also brought in a nice sense of wonder to the film. As well, the always capable Idris Elba (TV’s Luther) played Stacker Pentecost, the leader of the resistance. Rounding out the cast is Rinko Kikuchi as Mako, the kick ass copilot to Raleigh, fueled by revenge.
Del Toro has said that though the movie definitely has anime influences, he wanted it to have its own unique visual style. Well I can’t comment too much on that or its anime roots as I don’t really know much about it, I can tell he has crafted a world that his inner child truly loves. Same with me, I can’t remember having a more enjoyable time at the the theatre in a long, long time. I felt like a a kid geeking out at this movie in a similar way to how I absolutely loved the 1986 animated Transformers movie when I was younger. I was so afraid this movie would suck, even with Del Toro attached, after Michael bay ruined my beloved childhood favourites Transformers on the big screen and I’m so glad it came through for me. The movie just stuck to its guns and what it knew it could do very well; bad ass action, show off some cool CG and sci-fi ideas (though I would have liked to have had a better idea of how the mind-melding “drifting” works) and offer pure entertainment. I wish we had found out a bit more about the enemy sending the monsters through the rift but I’m sure if that rumoured sequel happens, we will.
And it was the little things that made the movie really stand out for me too. For example, in one of the monster-robot fight scenes, Gipsy Danger, the main mech of the film, goes for a punch and misses. The camera follows the fist through the building it enters and shows it stop in such a way that it just touches a Newton’s cradle. Loved it! Or the fact that one of the monsters had an EMP built into it is just so cool and something I didn’t expect at all. Also can we talk about the music?! They hired Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi to create an intense score for the film. And guess who he brought in to help him? Freakin Tom Morello, the guitarist of Rage Against The Machine. Listen to the entire soundtrack here, its really great if you hadn’t already noticed, but I’m sure you did.
With all this being said, I have 2 small issues though with this movie. The first is that they only started using the sword weapon near the end. Why were they not using it all the time? With it, they took down monsters so easily near the end while at the beginning of the film it would take them forever to kill smaller, weaker ones. And the other issue is that apparently, Del Toro took out over an hour of extra footage that he said would have rounded out the characters much more and probably would have explored the enemies and other things too. He did this because he felt that the movie would have been too unbalanced with all this extra character arc stuff. Not sure if I agree with that or not, maybe its just that I didn’t want the movie to end, but hopefully it will show up in an extended version at some point.
Look, I could gush about this film more but then this would turn into an essay so all I’ll say now is go watch it, you’l love it if you go into it for a stylistic, action packed, fun movie experience.
What did you think of it?
PS: Just found out they released a prequel graphic novel called Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero that I just ordered here.