johnlink ranks PACIFIC RIM (2013)

This is one of those movie I would have seen opening week when I was in my early 20s. Not that I am disinterested in it now, but I have less sense of urgency when it comes to big budget action sci-fi unless there is a real hook personally. I always knew I would watch PACIFIC RIM eventually, and I just hoped it would bring a bit of fun!


I watched PACIFIC RIM (2013) on 6.11.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

PACIFIC RIM, like many modern sic-fi films, was released in 3D. For the first time, perhaps, I find myself wising that I had watched that version. Most 3D films are a cash grab – a post production afterthought intended to milk an extra couple bucks out of each ticket. But PACIFIC RIM, watching even in 2D, has a depth of field which leaves the 2D viewer feeling like there might be more to see.

Which, it should be said, doesn’t excuse the constant use of gray and blue that Director Guillermo del Toro insists must permeate his film. PACIFIC RIM has much to look at, but too much of what we are asked to look at is buried in a dark color palette. A similar genre film like EDGE OF DARKNESS sees the optimism which can be pulled from a seemingly hopeless experience. PACIFIC RIM is constantly reminding us how dreary everything is.

The story tells us that giant monsters (called Kaiju) are exploiting a universal rift in the depths of our oceans. The world creates huge robots (called Jaegers) – which must be manned by at least two individuals – to fight these menaces. Our hero is Becket (Charlie Hunnam). He is a worthwhile avatar for our action needs, even if he is never asked to do much more than might be expected from a film of this sort. Hunnam’s performance is suitable, and once he is paired up with a female partner in Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako, we get a couple worth latching on to. Filling out the cast are Idris Elba as the guy running the robot program, Charlie Day as a fairly annoying monster geek, Burn Gorman as a mathematician, and Ron Perlman as a guy dealing in the black market of monster remains.

Everyone is fine, though the sidekick characters played by Day and Gorman are supremely annoying. They are the most obnoxious and obvious sidekicks in recent memory. PACIFIC RIM is a movie which doesn’t need that sort of comic relief, but we get it anyway. It makes for a longer distraction between action bits, and that is a waste. PACIFIC RIM is a movie at its best when giant robots are fighting giant sea monsters in hand to hand combat. Much of this fighting feels like sumo wrestlers trying to toss each other around, but when it gets going del Toro really does a nice job of surprising us. One such moment occurs when a kaiju holding a jaeger unexpectedly spreads its wings and flies off into the sky with the robot in its grasp. It is a loud, impressive moment in a movie which wants to impress us.

The CGI is mostly good, though there are moments which start to feel like fake things fighting each other. It is unfortunate that the entire final battle is under water, because it doesn’t look quite as realistic as the battles before. But in terms of just giving us a some mindless sic-fi action, PACIFIC RIM does it. That the script seems to always go for the obvious or easy choice is too bad because it makes the movie not quite as good as it could be. But be willing to have some fun, and PACIFIC RIM will provide it – just not much else.




FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on June 12, 2015.

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