Sunday, July 14, 2013

[Review] Pacific Rim

For years a war has been raging between mankind and colossal monsters known as Kaiju, which continually emerge from a portal deep on the sea floor in the Pacific Ocean. To combat these monsters the nations of the world have set aside there differences and combined their resources to create giant humanoid fighting machines called Jaegers, which are each controlled by two pilots whose mind’s are neurologically bridged enabling them to effectively move and think as one. 

The film focuses on the later days of the war which now appears to be drawing to an end in the Kaiju’s favour as the Jaegers are no longer proving to be an effective weapon. But a former Jaeger pilot (Charlie Hunnam) is called out of retirement to team up with a rookie and other remaining pilots from around the world in a last ditch effort to defeat the Kaiju and save mankind from complete destruction.

I’ve only seen a very small amount of work from Guillermo del Toro. Prior to this film I’ve seen Pan’s Labyrinth and Mimic. I’ve seen bits of the very creepy Cronos, but that was years ago on TV.  What drew me to Pacific Rim was the fact that it looked awesome and it struck me as one of those movies for people who love movies. Plus most films I watch are dramas so it’s always good to see something different.

Pacific Rim is clearly del Toro’s love letter to monster movies of years past, especially all those Japanese monster movies like Godzilla. I’ve only seen one of them and that was Godzilla 1985: The Legend is Reborn. Come to think of it I haven’t seen many monster movies in general; does Power Rangers count? But anyway he captures the essence and sceptical of what makes them so good to watch but not in that typical B-movie way; it’s an A grade B-movie.

The film is very well structured; we get a detailed prologue followed by a tremendous opening scene which would have to be one of the most visually spectacular I’ve seen in a long time.  Then the middle part of the film is definitely the slowest but it’s not boring; we meet all the different characters, we get a sense of the world this film portrays and the condition that it’s in and the plot is further established. But most importantly this time allows for character development. And the characters are terrific! They’re very stereotypical in some cases, for example the two scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman; but we get a good mixed bag and the film is all the better for it.

The final act of the film just gets bigger and bigger, I could not have asked for anything more; it’s just pure entertainment and real treat for the eyes. I didn’t see the in 3D as I’m not very compatible with the alleged format and I don’t think the film needs to be enhanced by something that’s mostly a gimmick. But that aside it’s just so much fun to watch, all the destruction is overwhelming, it’s seemingly endless. In one brief scene we see the city of Sydney being attacked and as a proud Victorian I found that pretty satisfying; better a postcard city be destroyed rather than a proper city like Melbourne. I’m just joking of course; or am I?  
Performances are very good in general; I don’t really have that much to say about them. The stand-outs for me would be Rinko Kikuchi as the rookie Jaeger pilot and without a doubt Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost, basically the man in charge. He gives such a commanding performance, his screen presence is unmatched and his character is awe inspiring. Idris Elba should only been seen on a big screen.

The special effects are incredible! Now this film is obviously CG heavy, that’s actually an understatement but not for a moment does it hurt the film. The effects are so good that it really gives you a sense of how far they’ve come in recent years and where the art form is heading.
A friend of mine described this film in one word, everything. And she is absolutely right, it offers a hell of a lot, it’s the grand sceptical of cinema that we movie goers love so much. Go treat yourself to this blockbuster’s blockbuster on the big screen while you can.   

By Kevin Bechaz

Credit Where Credit's Due

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer(s): Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman
Runtime: 132 minutes
Release Date(s): USA: July 12, 2013 Australia: July 11, 2013


  1. Great write up man. I saw this day one and fell in love. Can not wait for the blu on this

  2. Good review Kevin. It was a good movie that allowed me to have a bunch of fun while I was watching monsters and robots beat the heck out of one another.