Short Review: Go see it, it’s fun. Bring the kids, especially your boys if you have them.
Long Review: Honestly, I wasn’t exactly excited to see this movie for two reasons. 1: Transformers, and two...when you get this big, to the scale of these giant robots dozens of stories high, it stops being impressive. They get SO big that it’s hard to imagine us puny humans in the story. However...the director for Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro, has always done a great job in creating an intriguing story, three dimensional characters, and a sense of space and environment.
I have a love hate relationship with del Toro. I love his Hellboy movies, and enjoy his horror films (The Orphanage, Pan’s Labyrinth). But the movie Devil’s Backbone is on my list of Movies that make me want to kill myself, because it is so depressing. And yet, I was interested in the movie the entire time.
Given all this, and the fact that reviews for Pacific Rim had been very positive, even from the harshest critics, I finally decided to see it...by myself...at the mall...in Eau Claire. (Just moved, I miss Duluth :(
But (some grammar nazi just had a fit for starting a sentence like that, AND for having a parenthesis so early in a sentence), before we get to the actual movie, let me first present my feelings of something that has been growing for too long that I need to vent about. Commercials and Previews.
Now, it’s been said, and I’ve said it myself, that previews are the best part of seeing a movie in the theaters. That’s a bit harsh...yet true. It’s a bit like noticing very attractive woman walking towards you on the sidewalk or a sports car. It LOOKS amazing...but once you actually know her (the movie) in a deeper way...turns out she’s just another flashy, excited, pretentious, self absorbed...movie...car that doesn’t have a lot of depth. Ok I’m done.
However, before we even get the previews...have to watch COMMERCIALS. Why? I just paid you 12 dollars to watch a movie without interruption, I shouldn’t have to watch commercials. This isn’t TV. But then we finally get to Previews. And then MORE previews...and then more still. TWENTY MINUTES LATER I’m finally watching the movie. Being late to a movie in the theater is no long a huge problem...it’s probably the best way to see it in the theater now.
What were we talking about? Robots...monsters...oh yeah. Pacific Rim. I first thought this was just a market response to the success of Transformers and a throwback to Godzilla. But no, del Toro’s Pacific Rim is very much it’s own movie and franchise. A very new take on why monsters are coming to Earth. (kinda of...?, I can’t talk about it without giving it away though)
Huge robots (well, they’re not exactly robots, but enormous suits driven by two pilots) punching giant monsters in the face. This is enough to put some people in the seats. But Pacific Rim offers more than just that. A story that holds together and makes sense and characters with depth but without getting too cheesy and over the top, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
It would be a mistake to compare Pacific Rim to Transformers...but let’s do it anyway since that’s the first thing that came to mind.
Michael Bay, directory for Transformers, is known for his love of the American Military. You can see this in almost all of his movies, especially Transformers. Any problem, even when it’s international or intergalactic, are solved by the Transformers, and the American Military without help from any other country.
Pacific Rim, on the other hand, begins with all the countries banding together to fight the threat of the monsters coming out of the ocean. This is a pleasant diversion from so many ethnocentric, American films. del Toro also stays away from the “Megan Fox” appeal. The women in Pacific Rim are not just for who, but actually have depth and keep their clothes on (wearing body armor for most of the movie.)
The plot itself starts out simple. Enormous monsters coming out of the ocean and attacking the major cities on the coasts. Taking them down with regular military hardware, for whatever reason, didn’t prove effective. So they had build the big mechs. However, the plot gets more complicated as the scientists studying the monsters begin to discover there’s something more sinister going on than just dumb beasts crawling out of the ocean.
If you liked the Transformer movies, I would recommend Pacific Rim. If you didn’t care for Transformers, then see Pacific Rim. If you like action movies, see it. If...uh, you don’t like movies, then...go for a walk or something.
Here’s where I get too critical about things that don’t matter.
Mechs? Why? The United States Military has SO many things at its disposal. To build these enormous robots it would be WAY too expensive, compared to simply building better missiles or bombs. Remember that bomb they used in Outbreak? It was the largest bomb they had that wasn’t nuclear. That’s a real bomb the military has. It could take out a small city. Why not use that instead?
But whatever, maybe they could build it. Here’s another problem. Sever scenes in Pacific Rim AND in the Transformer movies there are large, very heavy robots walking around in the middle of the city. Here’s the problem. City streets are not that stable. Think about what’s underneath it. Subways, tunnels for power, water, sewer, etc... One step with by a robot or monster that big in downtown...and bam, right through the concrete...a few people might get squashed in the subway, just not a good idea.
Another problem would be transportation. They’re big mechs, they walk just like humans do. They don’t move all that fast. So, to get them to a location you want them to be, you need to fly them there. In the movie, they showed about a dozen helicopters carrying one mech. Uh, no. It would take at least 30 if not more (I think, pitching a Cracked article on these ideas, btw).
But, technological and logistic problems aside, I DID enjoy the movie. So go see it.
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