PACIFIC RIM – was it worth the wait? Yes. Yes it was. I don’t frequent the theatre much. Due to the way the film industry is set up, the theatre is often quite overpriced and all the movies I want to see are usually packed. Fortunately, I had some time to kill on a Tuesday afternoon and a serious desire to see this movie in the theatre, regardless of the price.
The movie opens up with a dramatic recap of how the monsters known as “Kaiju” arrived in our dimension and how we, as a planet, came together to combat these mammoth beasts with giant fighting mechs known as “Jaegers.” The names themselves help to paint the unified world that director Guillermo del Toro effectively crafts. Kaiju a Japanese word for “giant beast”, and Jaeger is a German word for “hunter.” The creatures that come spilling out of the Pacific Ocean end up bonding our World and making us one. Language barriers are all but a thing of the past and resources are distributed globally as needed. I’m sure conspiracy theorists will see it as some sort of New World Order marketing scheme to help sell the idea of a one world government, but that’s another article.
Unfortunately, our main character is pretty much forgettable. I’m writing this article no later than an hour and half after leaving the theatre and I had to stop and Google the character’s name (Raleigh Becket). That’s not to say that Charlie Hunnam didn’t do a good job in portraying the Jaeger pilot, he just didn’t really stand out to me. Another reviewer said Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket made him think of Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn from TRON: LEGACY and I can see why. They both did a fine job in their respective roles, but nothing entirely memorable.
Fortunately, the supporting cast and their roles help to prop up the movie. Anyone who may have read my review of HBO’s THE WIRE will know that I am a fan of Idris Elba. I have been looking forward to seeing him on a bigger project like PACIFIC RIM and he doesn’t disappoint. While he does tend to oversell a few of his lines, this helps him to steal pretty much every bit of screen time that he’s allotted.
Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play the comic relief odd-couple scientists who end up being a bigger part of the story than expected. They did their parts and brought the laughs, but they also added to the drama of the unfolding events, which was nice. Sometimes, comic relief characters get swept under the proverbial rug until the director decides to dust them off and stick them in during the slow parts of the movie.
The opening action sequence had me giggling with giddiness. All at once, my childhood love for POWER RANGERS came bubbling out of me as Gipsy Danger tangled with a mammoth skyscraper sized beast that would make Lord Zed quiver in his pointy metal… uhhh… boots? Elf shoes? I don’t know what you call those things that he wears; just know that the Kaijus looked badass! You get to see a multitude of creature designs and abilities, each equipped with their own surprises, much like the Jaegers.
I kept thinking that the movie as a whole feels like a live action anime, which isn’t too surprising considering Guillermo drew inspiration for the film from a collage of different resources, including the much beloved Japanese art form.
The World of the film was amazing as well, and it looked like the kind of future I could see waiting around the corner for us (minus the giant inter-dimensional monsters, I hope). At the same time, Del Toro built a world that looked as though it had been dealing with the Kaiju problem for years, which was definitely the case by the time our story picked up. Everything is crafted so masterfully that it’s almost a shame to watch it all be smashed to bits. Almost.
If I have to fault the movie for anything (other than the nearly forgettable main character), I would say that the ending feels like a bit of a cop out. Also, there’s a love interest for our main character that does feel a bit rushed and a little forced at times. However, when compared to everything they got right that could have gone wrong, I would say that these minor complaints are small potatoes when compared to the overall awesomeness that is PACIFIC RIM.
In the end, compared to all the other movies that have come out and tried to execute such a grandiose vision of carnage on an epic level (Michael Bay, I’m looking at you), PACIFIC RIM is easily the best of the bunch. In fact, the only other movie to do it better, in my opinion, is Marvel’s THE AVENGERS, while the only movie to accurately depict such a massive scale for its creatures is 2010’s TROLLHUNTER.
Despite it losing out to GROWN UPS 2 during its opening weekend (really, America?), I’m hoping that its home video release will help carry the film’s financials into the black and prompt a follow up — maybe even a prequel featuring my man Idris Elba — but that’s then and this is now, and right now there’s still time to get off our g33k-e butts and show our support for Guillermo del Toro’s nerdgasm of a film. Go outside, you know that thing with the sun? Grab some physical friends, go to your nearest theatre and buy a ticket. Yes, I know there’s going to be other people at the theatre, but trust me — most of them are just there to watch a movie in peace as well. You’ll be fine, my fellow nerd… repeat after me… PACIFIC RIM is awesome. PACIFC RIM deserves my support. I must see it in theatres. Everything will be fine.