Tuesday, July 16, 2013

REVIEW: Pacific Rim

PLOT: As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

REVIEW: One of my most anticipated films of the summer has finally come, and boy did it deliver on the fun. Pacific Rim looks like a retread of the Transformers franchise that became wildly popular over the last few years with the moronic Michael Bay exploding his boyhood all over the place for 3 hours each time, but Tranformers this was not. Guillermo del Toro directs his first movie in 5 years, and it's an extremely welcome sight to see this guy back in the director's chair. With a relatively under the rader cast, del Toro creates a vivid world of giant robots and monsters that's as entertaining than anything of the sort I've ever seen. I did not see the film in 3D, but as I was watching in 2D I caught a few 3D gags but they did not ruin the 2D experience like most 3D films do. I do think the film could have been a pleasant experience in 3D, but I was not going to risk it. There's a lot of CGI here, and if you're going in expecting anything different, you're going to be disappointed. I've seen a lot of negative reviews for this film that complain about the overuse of CGI, and wooden acting, or lack of depth in the story. What I find comical is that what in the hell else were you expecting from Pacific Rim, a movie about giant mechanical robots controlled by humans that fight gigantic aquatic monsters? I mean, really people?

The main criticism I keep seeing with Pacific Rim is with the fact that it's an overly loud, obnoxious, retread of the Transformers franchise, when really it is the exact opposite. Pacific Rim is the perfect example of robots, monsters, and CGI used in a creative, original and unique way to create a viewing experience unlike the rest. No one could have done this like del Toro did, and I would trust the guy with anything. Had I seen this trailer and seen any other person's name in the director's spot, I would have said the same thing and never seen it until video. But Guillermo del Toro creates a mythology in his film that gives it a breath of fresh air, so no it's not anywhere near Transformers or any of its subsequent, miserable sequels. And the fact that there's a complaint about the use of CGI just baffles me. The movie is about giant robots bashing giant monsters around in a futuristic world where we're susceptible to attack from underwater giants, and you thought it wasn't going to be CGI heavy? Get over yourself and go watch The Silver Linings Playbook again and revel in the fact that it uses no CGI, because it doesn't have to. This was del Toro's sandbox film, and it was meant to be big and loud. But what he did was do it right by creating a simplistic but compelling story around central character, and making all the big and loud happen for a reason, not just to show off that it can be done. All the action in the film is awesome because it doesn't go in slow motion, or comment on itself showing you how awesome it is. Guillermo del Toro gives life to the monsters and mechs, but he does it for the story and the reasons that things that are bigger than ourselves are so amazing, and to get the audience involved. It's not to recreate childhood bathtub dreams of explosions and monsters for the sake of using CGI and getting every 13 year old boy in America excited about buying Hasbro's new toy line.

Guillermo del Toro however, has once again proved why he is such a talent in Hollywood today. He's truly the best working director in my opinion, and I don't believe that he can do any wrong. I did not take this into the film as a bias, as throughout the film I was critiquing things that were done not so well and maybe could have been better. But despite it's problems, del Toro made an extremely entertaining film that like I said earlier, I don't think anyone could have done with the same material. Even if Guillermo were to have laid all of this out for a director and he produced it, it wouldn't have nearly the amount of magic and fun that it ends up containing. I really look forward to seeing if del Toro has any other plans for his Pacific Rim mythology because I really think it has the chance to be even more than it was here, besides just a new toy line which I'm not even sure exists, but probably will. So for those of you expecting a Transformers movie, you will be disappointed because this movie is ten times more sleek and sexy than Transformers 4 will be, and on top of that it's smart, and not a big, dumb summer blockbuster like most audiences have gotten used to seeing, and dealing with. Pacific Rim starts out with a perfect introduction scene to introduce us to our main character, and describe where the Jaegers (giant mech robots) and the Kaiju (giant monsters) come from. It's simple, it's quick, it's action-packed, and it gets us right into the story with plenty of time to spare.

The acting in the film is one of its core problems. It's fairly wooden, and I can't say that anyone stands out above anyone else, with maybe the exception of Idris Elba who is known to be a pretty great actor. Playing the commander of the Jaeger program Stacker Pentecost, Elba communicates a stern but mysterious vibe with his character. His sideplot unfolds as the film goes on, and it probably creates for most of the heart found within the Rim. There are two Charlies in this movie, the first being Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy fame in what seems to be his first major motion picture role. He does an excellent job of portraying the tough on the outside, soft on the inside warrior, and even though it comes off as not such a great job of acting, it is servicable. The other Charlie is also of TV fame from FX's hit show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Obviously, Day is a pretty big surprise when it comes to casting for this movie, but he also does a passable job as Dr. Newton Geiszler and provides some of the few laughs had in the film. As he is a huge fan of the Kaiju, he's even tatted up with full sleeves of them, he is the main character that develops the story of the Kaiju as all of the Jaeger fighting goes along throughout the film. If I had one complaint with the story, I wish that the Kaiju exploration side of the story was a little more in the foreground as it was probably the more interesting of the two halves of the film. The other being all of the Jaeger action, which was awesome too so it worked out in the end anyways. The rest of the acting was pretty passable, as it wasn't excellent, but it wasn't awful enough to trash del Toro's beautiful, yet destructive vision of a future where monsters are king.

I don't really have much else to say about the film itself, or its neverending criticisms, but I really hope that everyone gets out to see this one. It's the definition of what a good summer blockbuster should be, it has just enough in every department to be a completely fresh and fun take on a seemingly exhausted genre. I think filmmakers and Hollywood could stand to be taught a lesson from this film. Bigger isn't always better, and capitalizing off of previous successes isn't always the way to go either. If you trust a great director with a project, and let his genius go to work, you will have an amazing finished product. Original and fresh takes like this are what Hollywood needs, and not stuff like Grown Ups 2 and a Transformers 4. If we're going to keep bashing robots together at the movies, let's at least find a way to reinvent the thing every once in awhile so we're not watching the same old garbage we saw the first time. If you go see Grown Ups 2 over Pacific Rim this weekend, well you're probably the same person that complains about the use of CGI in a monster movie. But seriously, if you do, you should stop seeing movies. You're the ones responsible when we get these sequels, and then complain about how awful they are. Support unique and original films like del Toro's Pacific Rim, and hell we may get to see more from the wizard himself. Taking a look at his IMDb page, del Toro has a lot on his plate right now and let's hope that it's not another 5 years before we see something from him again. As for myself, I'm off to find some old Gundam Wing and Neon Genesis Evangelion DVDs because Pacific Rim brought out the still existent inner child of my soul last night.

ACTING : ( 5 / 10 )STORY : ( 6 / 10 )EXECUTION : ( 8 / 10 )POSTER : ( 8 / 10 )AWESOME : ( 10 / 10 )FINAL RATING : ( 8 / 10 )
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