Pacific Rim (2013)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Although this film falls into the trappings and pitfalls of a summer blockbuster style film, it is much better than most other US made giant monster films in recent years. Lots of action, lots of monster & robot brawls in the middle of the city – smashing things, breaking things – what more could you ask for? It was modeled after Kaiju films but was ultimately Americanized – perhaps a bit too much. Nevertheless, the action scenes are stunning. Rich colors and BIG scope make Pacific Rim a visually amazing film.
All the Top-Gun stuff has become standard in many of the later Godzilla movies and even that one female pilot on a personal vendetta because her parents/ brother/ grandparents were killed by Big-G has become a familiar storyline. The monster attacks at night were a homage to early Kaiju films. Godzilla only attacked at night and the same with Gamera. The rain masks some of the digital quality of the CG and I didn’t mind that. I did think the scientists were a bit much, I didn’t find their scenes all that amusing but many Kaiju films often have silly sub-characters. The scientist’s scenes were hokey but kept to a minimum.
We watch giant monster movies mainly to see all-out monster brawls and monster destruction. I think further character depth would have just slowed down the action. If you want character depth watch a Scorsese film. You want Monster & Robot battles, watch Pacific Rim. The characters of Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) and Stacker (Idris Elba) were inspiring in a ‘Independence Day’ way. Every time a Jaeger beat a Kaiju, the audience in the theater cheered. What part of the action would you cut out to add more dialogue and character development? I’m glad Stacker’s big speech was short and I’m glad the film wasn’t three hours.
The scene of Mako as a child, running through the empty streets calling for her mom and dad, with the crab-clawed Kaiju hunting her down was awesome. It was the highlight of the non-battle parts of the film. The little girl basically stole the show.
One thought about the monsters and robots. You can either accept CGI as the modern special-fx method and embrace it with the knowledge that some directors and filmmakers are going to be better at delivering it than others – OR – you can dismiss it and not see any new movies. If you choose the later, you’ll be missing out on some fun monster films. The choice is yours. After seeing Jurassic Park, can we really go back to a guy-in-a-suit, stop-animation/claymation, or clunky puppetronics?
So, the big question is, do I like Pacific Rim enough to purchase the blu-ray or dvd. The answer is yes. I will most likely purchase it, but it will have to be on sale or at a discount price. I will put it in my newer giant monster film section which includes; Monsters, Tremors, Host, The Troll Hunter, Cloverfeild and Q-The Winged Serpent. I will watch it from time-to-time, but not as often as I would watch King Kong, Godzilla or Harryhausen films. Of course, I am a monster film fan. Those of you that are lesser fans of monster-mania would probably be better off just waiting until this is shown on TV, cable or Netflix.