Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Movie Review: Pacific Rim (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)
If I have any complaints, I will say that there are a few pacing issues with the film. While the action heats up pretty quickly at the beginning, it backs off a bit about 15-20 minutes in, with a fairly decent period of time where we see neither Kaiju nor Jaeger throw any punches. Yes, that's a part of the film reserved for something called a "plot", but while it was still entertaining, I was itching to watch a Jaeger destroy a Kaiju. Some of my fellow viewers complained about some of the humor and cheesy lines, but I truly feel these were added in to pay homage to the classic kaiju and Toho films, especially those that Westerners watched dubbed on television. I truly feel that nearly everything done with this film was done intentionally to create a particular experience. Heck, del Toro has even stated that when you're watching the fights, the film is clear to show you that all the buildings and vehicles are empty so you can focus on enjoying the destruction rather than feeling bad about it.
Pacific Rim is truly a joy to watch, both because it's fun and because it's a gorgeous looking film. The Jaegers are really well designed. Each of the film's four Jaegers are brilliantly designed, and visually fulfill a different purpose. Gipsy Danger, Striker Eureka, Crimson Typhoon, and Chemo Alpha are all easily distinguishable and have their own personalities (although Crimson Typhoon needed a lot more screen time!) I wish the Kaiju were all as well designed as the Jaegers, because they tended to feel a bit generic. Not bad, but they didn't stand out the way I imagined they would. Del Toro has helped to bring some of the most imaginative creatures in recent film history to the screen in Blade II, Hellboy, and of course Pan's Labyrinth, so I had some very high expectations for the Kaiju. Still, they rock in the fights, and that's the important thing. While the action is largely set during storms and at sea, it all manages to be well shot and comprehensible. You're not going to get lost looking at the screen, and the ocean effects are incredible.
Can I reiterate that this movie is fun, plain and simple? While it has some melodramatic moments and some great action scenes, it doesn't strive to bring you to tears, make you feel the hopelessness of the human condition, or hammer home any political or social point; it's about the pure joy you experience watching giant robots and giant creatures battle each other. I squealed with delight throughout this movie whenever something cool would happen. When the Jaeger Gipsy Danger picked up a cargo ship and proceeded to beat a Kaiju with it like a baseball bat, I squealed like a teenage girl watching Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift do the Dougie (that's what the kids like these days, right?). If you just want to enjoy a movie and have fond memories of any kind of giant creature or robot, whether it's Godzilla, Voltron, or King Kong, you should absolutely love this film. Del Toro set out to make an enjoyable monster movie that would make us all feel like kids again, and this absolutely did it for me. I haven't had more fun at the movies this year! It may not be the "best" movie of the year, but I feel that five years from now, it's probably one of the movies I'll still be watching and talking about with friends. Plus, after I left the theater, all I wanted to do was make robot noises and wrestle my dogs, pretending they were Kaiju. I loved this movie.
Confirmed: Great and a 1/2