Ever since I saw a monster get hit with a boat by a robot, I was down for Pacific Rim. I don’t care about the story and I don’t care about the characters, just give me more of that awesomeness. So I guess you can say I didn’t have high expectations for Pacific Rim (well from the screenplay side of things) as the trailers just showed robot on monster action. The movie couldn’t have been two hours of straight action (although how cool would that have been) and had to have some sort of story, so the trailers not showing a whole lot of that got me worried that between all the awesome fights, we would get a lackluster story. After seeing the film, I’m happy to say that’s not true. Not only does Pacific Rim actually have a pretty solid screenplay but it has GIANT MONSTERS SMASHING ROBOTS INTO BUILDINGS!!!
After a portal opens in a crevasse in the Pacific Ocean, giant monsters called Kaiju rise up and start tearing apart the country. To battle these giant monsters we create giant robots called Jaegers which is commanded by two pilots whose minds are locked together so no single pilot can overwhelm another pilot (kind of hard to explain but just go with it). After years and years of ass-kicking from both parties, it’s time to end this once and for all.
The story might be pretty straightforward but works well for the film. A complex story with twists and turns would only seem unnecessary and convoluted as the purpose of this movie’s existence isn’t to win an Oscar (well it will probably take home a Visual Effects one, more on that later), but to have monsters and aliens beat the living piss out of each other. Nothing makes too much sense but it’s a sci-fi movie so you can’t overthink it.
The dialogue scenes are kept entertaining with some laughs and some great speeches from Idris Elba. Speaking of Idris, the performances in the movie are pretty good for the most part. People are complaining about Charlie Hunnam (who plays the main character) but he was perfectly fine in the film. It actually worked better having a mostly unknown actor (he does star in Sons of Anarchy so fans of that show might recognize him) as there was no “distraction” when he was kicking some monster butt. Idris, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, GLaDOS, and Burn Gorman were all great in their roles though. Nobody was phenomenal but those were the standouts.
The real standout in the movie isn’t any actor or line of dialogue, it’s the giant monster rampaging through Hong Kong. Assuming most people came to the movie expecting some sweet action (if you didn’t then….what?), you will be very pleased. Unsurprisingly, the fight scenes in this movie are absolutely fantastic and some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time. Every punch and building demolished brought a huge smile to my face with quite a few “holy sh*t this is awesome” moments in the film. Action fans will be in paradise.
The special effects in the movie are outstanding and really some of the best visual effects I’ve ever seen. Your jaw will drop constantly where even the dialogue scenes will impress you as there’s a giant robot being constructed behind the actors (don’t worry, it’s never a distraction). We knew Guillermo del Toro can direct great sci-fi action with the Hellboy films but nothing near as cool as this. Guillermo is slowly becoming one of my favorite directors working today as it seems everything he directs is pretty damn good. Everybody behind the scenes (including the genius who added rock music to the boat smacking scene) should be commended and better take home some of them Oscars.
I saw the film in IMAX 3D. For a movie like this, absolutely go IMAX. Not only did the film take up the whole screen (while most movies are letterboxed for most or all of the film) but the sound is absolutely phenomenal. The 3D, while better then most movies out there, didn’t add a whole lot to the film. If you go IMAX then the 3D is forced but those not willing to travel to an IMAX theater (SHAME ON YOU), just stick to the 2D.
Pacific Rim was exactly what it needed to be. Robots and monsters were kicking some ass and its story and screenplay, while nothing phenomenal, worked perfectly fine for the movie. You’re not going to walk out of the film a changed man, you’re going to walk out of the film saying to your friend “that was fu*king awesome.”
For reviews and more from me, Petey Oneto, you can check out my blog but be sure to check back with Resident Entertainment for more of my posts in the future.