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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Pacific Rim

PacificRimAfter five years of mostly producing/writing gigs, Guillermo del Toro returns with his latest directorial effort in the form the “monsters vs. robots” epic Pacific Rim.  A breach has opened deep within the Pacific ocean, which has given rise to waves of reptilian monsters, known as Kaiju.  When the monsters become too numerous for traditional military strikes, humanity joins its resources and creates Jaegers – gigantic robots controlled by two pilots, whose minds are joined together.  While the Jaegers initially have great success against the Kaiju, the monsters grow in strength over time and the Jaeger program is officially decommissioned.

Pacific Rim follows the last-ditch effects of the surviving Jaegers, lead off-the-books by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), to attempt to stop the Kaiju invasion once and for all.  This includes Pentecost recruiting long-retired Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), where he is joined by his new co-pilot Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), both of whom have to overcome previous traumas.  Together the Jaegers make a plan to directly engage the breach and forever close the Kaiju’s portal into our world.

It can be very easy to just look at Pacific Rim on a surface level and excuse it as just another mindless Hollywood blockbuster.  However, doing so would not be giving a mind as imaginative as Guillermo del Toro’s enough credit.  Sure, Pacific Rim has plenty of “monsters vs. robots” action, but I also have to say that the film has quite a bit of heart.  In fact, I would argue that much more screen time is spent developing the characters than with the battles that dominated Pacific Rim’s marketing campaign.  Sure these battles are fun to watch, but they are not all that the film is about.

Guillermo del Toro definitely found some odd characters to fill out his supporting cast.  Charlie Day and Burn Gorman provide the film’s main comic-relief as the odd couple that makes up Stacker Pentecost’s research team.  In addition, Ron Perlman completely steals the film as eccentric black market dealer Hannibal Chau.  I should note that both the research and black market scenes make heavy use of practical creature effects that del Toro is known to love.  It’s definitely a joy that he hasn’t entirely gone CGI with this film.

Of course, even though there is plenty of time spent on character development, the film’s centrepiece is still the epic battles.  Even though there are only a handful of full battles seen in the film, they are action packed enough that you only need a few of them.  One thing that del Toro did right with his battles is create a huge sense of scale, with the Kaiju and Jaegers being more than twenty stories tall.  To put things into perspective, the pilots are placed within the head of the Jaeger and still have lots of room to move around.  Each battle in the film is different than the last, with some very interesting twists and turns (including a surprise trait of one of the Kaiju).  If there is one criticism I have about the battles, it’s that they all take place at night and its sometimes difficult to make out what’s going on, especially if you were watching the film in 3D.  Speaking of which, I wouldn’t really recommend the post-converted 3D presentation, but I did also see the film in IMAX, which greatly expanded the film’s huge sense of scale (shame there are no 2D IMAX screenings).

Overall, I will say that I quite enjoyed Pacific Rim.  Guillermo del Toro definitely knows what he is doing in creating an epic “monsters vs. robots” movie, without ignoring the human element.  I’d highly recommend checking the film out.

 9 | REALLY LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).