Movie Review: PACIFIC RIM (2013) – Nostalgia Overrides Logic!
PACIFIC RIM is a plasma blast from the past for every 80’s kid who grew up on shows like POWER RANGERS, ROBOTECH or other Mecha Anime genres. It’s all about massive robots, piloted by humans, taking on menacing creatures from the beyond. This concept is the greatness behind this movie, and here is my Movie Review:
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Director Guillermo Del Toro, who brought us such awesomely creative and weird movies like HELLBOY & PAN’s LABRYNTH, bring us an amazingly entertaining film which is truly enjoyable for the whole family. PACIFIC RIM blends awe-invoking action, with a formulaic story, decent performances and some amazing CGI sequences that bring out the child in all of us. It’s an endeavor for the masses, and nothing more, which is just fine with me.
The movie starts with a narrative about the world as it is. Monsters of nightmares have come into the real world and as a response; mankind has created elaborately gigantic robots known as Jaegers to combat them. Countries have come together and the world is united in their cause to fight these monsters. Setting aside the political irony of Global Unity brought on by a war from a different front, PACIFIC RIM really glosses over these finer socio-political topics, despite featuring Jaegers of different countries and cultures and so on. There is no conflict, or character development of the other pilots in the movie, beyond the Americans, who are, of course, gung-ho, badass and, strangely enough… all blonde.
But that’s the best thing about PACIFIC RIM, it’s not a thinking movie, it doesn’t need to bore us with the everyday ramifications of Monsters, or the logic of creating robots to fist fight with them, when a big-ass plasma cannon seems to kill them just fine. It’s not about that. This movie is about Robots fighting Monsters. And it delivers by the crapload on that front.
Our main characters are just as formulaic and enjoyable as the premise of this movie. Charlie Hunnam plays the ace maverick, who gave up the piloting life after a tragedy where he loses a loved one. As much as this sounds like TOP GUN, it’s not, because the F15’s are giant Robots, and no one wears Aviators. As a result of a last ditch effort to end the Kaiju (big-ass monsters) threat, Hunnam’s Raleigh is called back into action to save the day. Along with him is a rookie pilot who has reason of her own to want to fight the monsters, but for her… it’s personal.
Speaking of cheesy-ness, PACIFIC RIM is full of delightfully cheesy one-liners and some eye-roll worthy dialogue; but it all works. From “Cancelling the Apocalypse” to a clichéd father/son bonding moment, as well as character development that is revealed…. through talking, this movie revels in it’s formulaic storytelling, so much so that one wonders if it’s not an intentional nod to action movie fluff, by the previously thus far, more… artistic director. The performances aren’t treat, but good enough for a movie of this caliber. The always in tone Idris Elba is much more restraint here, but does let posse on a few occasions. Probably the best actor of the bunch, and he knows it too. It’s alms as if he’s too good for the rest of the movie. Charlie Hunnam is a surprise for me personally. Not being too familiar with his work, the young actor is decent enough in a role where he has to exhume charm, a bad boy attitude, as well as someone who’s been through personal trauma. He looks like his chops were honed on typical teen dramas, but a quick look at his IMDB page proves otherwise.
PACIFIC RIM is a great entertainer and accomplishes what it sets out to do. With brilliantly amazing action sequences between larger than life monsters and even more awesome Robot Warriors, it’s a movie that’s pure cinematic fluff at it’s best, while not becoming a parody of the genre.