Release Date: July 1st, 2013 (Mexico City)
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Brad William Henke
Legendary Pictures, DDY, Warner Bros. Pictures, 131 Minutes
Let me start by saying that it has been a long time since I’ve had as much fun at the movies as I had the first and second time I saw Pacific Rim. Yes, I saw it twice. That is incredibly rare for me, as time isn’t a luxury I usually have but I enjoyed the film so much that I wanted to experience it on a big screen one more time before it left theaters. Besides, good or bad, how often do we get to see a kaiju versus mecha live-action cinematic feature?
Yes, this film is at parts cheesy and over the top and relies on a lot of CGI, things I am often times critical of. However, in the vein of kaiju films, these elements are almost customary. There is a place for such things and a film about giant robots fighting massive kaiju is that place. Regardless of those more traditional giant monster movie elements, this film still delivered a serious and emotional story that was entertaining despite the giant battles.
Have you ever seen Idris Elba in anything and not been pleased? Once again, in this film, he delivers and gives a great epic speech that rivals Bill Pullman’s speech in Independence Day. Apart from Elba, Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia played a smart version of the character people have loved on his FX series. Day was awesome and I wish I’d see him in more roles. Ron Perlman, who shared almost all of his scenes with Charlie Day, played an entertaining character that was a perfect marriage of goofy and bad ass. Perlman’s Sons of Anarchy co-star Charlie Hunnam was the film’s lead but he was just as drab as he always is and I really didn’t care about him or his struggles. The other characters made up for Hunnam though. On a side note, with all these actors from FX shows packed into this film, I anticipate it being in regular circulation on that channel, all the time.
The action sequences in this film were spectacular. Pacific Rim actually has one of the best openings that I’ve ever seen in a summer blockbuster film. The Hong Kong battle is also a high point of the film, as a trio of Jaegers (the giant robots) take on a pair of kaiju. The big confrontation starts in the harbor and carries over into downtown Hong Kong.
Director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and many other films) serves up his patented visual style but does so on a much larger scale. This is my favorite of his films and has me hopeful for its sequel, even though he isn’t directing it.
There are only two negatives I want to point out about the film.
The first, is that the score is mediocre. The music is generic sounding and really repetitive. It does its job for the most part but it also distracts from the picture. There is nothing memorable about the soundtrack, other than it just feels like the same damn theme playing over and over again and it isn’t that good to begin with.
The other negative was the design of the kaiju. They were fairly cool but there wasn’t much to make them unique or anywhere near as cool as the kaiju of the 1960s and 70s. They all generally had the same look with a few minor tweaks here and there. The coolest was the one with the big knife on its head but that was really just a modern version of the much more awesome Guiron from the Gamera franchise. But then again, this is a movie where giant robots fight giant monsters and it was pretty effective, regardless of mediocre monsters.
If you want a film that is just a smash’em up ass kicking epic blockbuster, this is your movie. If you don’t want that, you are probably dead inside.
Pairs well with: Pacific Rim: Uprising, 2014’s American Godzilla remake, Kong: Skull Island.