Mini-Review Monday: Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim Release: July 1, 2013

Story: In the year 2025, the Earth is in its 12th year of a deadly war with foreign creatures called Kaiju. They’re colossal beasts that appeared from a Pacific Ocean portal that acts as a gateway between dimensions. The Kaiju being hellbent on destroying everything in their path, the people of the world have pooled together their resources to create Jaegers, gigantic robots that dwarf city buildings. The Jaegers, piloted by two compatible pilots, kept the Kaiju at bay for years, but suddenly they aren’t enough. A final attack with everything the Jaeger program’s got is launched to stop the threat once and for all. If it fails, the world will be overrun by these creatures who may have more to them than mere chaotic destruction. Along with the few remaining Jaegers left intact, those joining the final taskforce are Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnman), a former Jaeger pilot who lost his brother/co-pilot in a battle with a Kaiju and has refused to fight since; Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Becket’s new co-pilot who lost her family when she was just a little girl; Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), who’s heading the assault and is Mako’s surrogate father; Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) two eccentric scientists who study Kaiju and estimate how long it will be until their next attack; Jaeger veteran Herc Hansen (Max Martini) and his cocky son Chuck (Robert Kazinsky); and two other sets of pilots, one from Russia and the other from China. Also reluctantly helping out is Hannibal Chow (Ron Perlman), a black marketeer who sells leftover remnants of Kaijus and who has no qualms about slicing you open or leaving you for Kaiju food if the mood suits him.

Thoughts: This isn’t my favorite of director Guillermo del Toro’s films. It only sits above one of his other movies. The tone is a little too corny, many jokes don’t work, the characters (while well acted for the most part) never stray too far from their cliche character types, the action isn’t quite where it needs to be for it to truly kick-ass, and it takes too much time to get from the first Jaeger and Kaiju fight to the second (about an hour), which is a big deal when this was advertised as a ridiculous giant monsters vs. giant robots flick.

Thankfully, it looks stunning, it captures some of the amazing scale of these mechanic creations, the action is over-the-top fun (even if it doesn’t excite and thrill as much as it should), and del Toro is clearly having fun playing with and creating within two genres that he loves (giant monster movies and giant robot films). It’s a good watch if you’re looking for light entertainment for the night.

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