Once upon a time, there was a genre of movie called Kaiju. Spawning from Japan, this genre influenced more than a generation, starting with the release of the original Godzilla in 1954.
Fast forward to 2011, Guillermo del Toro has just seen his project for an adaptation of Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness get cancelled, unwilling to compromise on 150 millions of budged and most importantly an R rating. I can’t really disagree. This is Lovecraft we’re talking about here, not C.S. Lewis. Not even three days later he signs on to direct a movie based on the idea of Travis Beacham, spawned by a vision he had on a beach of ‘a giant robot and a giant monster fighting to the death’. From there, they start developing the project of a movie who would be inspired by Kaiju and Mecha movies and at the same time be something completely new, with its own mythology.
On July 11th 2013 Pacific Rim is released in theaters. Guillermo del Toro has done it again, delivering like few others can. Michael Bay, eat your heart out.
Brief Plot Recap
Ten years or so down the road, earth is under attack. Colossal, monstrous creatures known as Kaiju have been demolishing coastal cities in the world since 2013. Hailing from another dimension, arriving on earth through an interdimensional passageway located in the Pacific Rim -hence the title-, humanity eventually develops a new weapon to fight back: giant humanoid robots known as Jaeger, piloted by two humans who necessitate total mental synchronization.
Charlie Hunnam is Raleigh Becket, a washed-up Jaeger pilot who’s called back to duty by his old marshal Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba. The situation is rapidly worsening and time for humanity is running out.
How’s the movie?
Earlier this summer I went to see Man of Steel and World War Z. I abhorred both for many reason, but ultimately because they tried to be what they weren’t. World War Z tried to be a zombie movie without zombies and with a PG-13 rating, Man of Steel tried to be another Batman instead of being a Superman movie.
Pacific Rim doesn’t try to be anything but what it is: a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters for the sake of humanity. The movie focuses on delivering that experience, and the result is ultimately a big, epic, genuinely fun picture. There’s not a single scene wasted. No useless shots of a heroine in lingerie, no forced romance subplot, no comic relief that doesn’t also serve the plot’s final means, all pumped up by one of the best OSTs I’ve heard lately, by Ramin Djawadi. The movie’s main theme will not get out of your head anytime soon. Pacific Rim is pure and honest: you get what you see and expect. Going in expecting something more it’s a mistake on your part.
Sure, it’s not perfect. There are a couple plot-holes (just two, really), a couple character story arcs may have been polished better, and at times you may feel like there’s one character whose personality may annoy you -even if it gets fixed quickly with development-, but ultimately it’s solid and a tons of fun. Fans of Mecha Anime are going to love its plot structure, and will probably be ecstatic when they recognize a particular shot in one of the last sequences of the movie.
A tip: before watching this, watch the original japanese opening to Evangelion again.
My final thoughts
Score: 85%. Go in expecting to watch a fun, simple movie about Mecha VS Kaiju and you’re in for one of the best experiences of this summer. I’m probably going to buy the Blue-ray too, to see it in its original language -so that I can hear Ellen McLain as the Jaeger AI- and for that hour of content that Guillermo del Toro had to cut.
Also, I’ve already bought and downloaded the OST on iTunes. This theme isn’t getting off my Writing Playlist anytime soon.
- Pacific Rim Is Literally the Most Awesome Movie of the Summer (wired.com)
- Pacific Rim Review! The Absolute Perfect Summer Movie! (dreadcentral.com)
- The Ultimate Guide To PACIFIC RIM (goodmoviesbadmovies.com)
- Guillermo del Toro Talks About Pacific Rim’s Formidable Female Lead And The Lack of a Love Story (themarysue.com)
- Guillermo del Toro on Monsters, Robots, and Why ‘Pacific Rim’ Saved His Life (news.moviefone.com)