When my reviewer Gerard Iribe and Aaron Neuwirth (his Comic-Con 2012 coverage here and WonderCon 2013’s here) first brought Pacific Rim to my attention, I wasn’t sold on it at all. The trailer and its crappy narration just felt way too generic for me and although the concept has never been done in this grand of scale on the big screen, I can’t help feeling like I’ve seen this all before in the countless hours of cartoons I used to watch as a kid. We’ve seen trailer after trailer these past several months and while each one is an improvement, as I nestled into my snazzy D-box movie chair this past Tuesday night, I had to admit…I still wasn’t sold. What is it about monsters from the Pacific Rim and giant man-made robots that had everyone‘s panties in a bunch that they were so excited over? No way around it, I was about to learn all about it and this review is my testament of what Pacific Rim is not only all about, but what you can expect from your theatrical visit. Don’t worry. This shouldn’t take too long. Take some deep breaths and follow me in. Here we go…
So I guess the backstory goes something to the fact that Pacific Rim is based off a treatment by Travis Beacham, with whom Guillermo del Toro ended up co-writing the screenplay with. Now I love Guillermo as a human being. He’s big, bubbly and super nice in person, but I can’t pretend to be his biggest fan in the world of cinema he creates although I do respect his unique visions and the storyteller he is. And while I haven’t seen all his work I still went into Pacific Rim with very low expectations because his flicks just don’t do it for me completely. But maybe that’s a good thing? Low expectations yield big surprises sometimes when it comes to movies you thought you would hate, but end up leaving the theater with a huge smile on your face from ear-to-ear. So I guess you could say it’s absolutely no surprise that Pacific Rim finds Guillermo in the director’s chair. In addition to the Mexican, the movie stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba (quickly becoming one of my favorites as of late), Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Burn Gorman and Ron Perlman (who is hit or miss in my opinion). And last but not least, fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will feel right at home here as the triumphant music within is scored by Ramin Djawadi, also known for Iron Man and Prison Break.
As you can see above, with my biases tossed aside, there’s no denying Pacific Rim actually has a lot of grand things going for it. Whether you see it or not, the film fits right into the heart of the summer blockbuster action lineup with its sheer gargantuan size alone. The basic premise of the film introduces to us a future world where giant monsters known as Kaiju have risen from a portal underneath the Pacific Ocean, which results in a lot of catastrophic damage and casualties to say the very least. I love this tagline…“To fight monsters we created monsters.” That tagline is indicative of just what mankind does as a response to build the only kind of weapon that has a chance against these monsters. Think of giant pilot controlled mecha robots and that’s exactly what you have with these Jaegers. These giant robots are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. Now I have to admit, that’s a pretty cool concept. What impressed me even more was the way del Toro and team created and thought up these monsters as he wanted to start over with something completely new and fresh, nothing like the Godzilla prototypes of the past. You have to give the guy kudos for that. So what did I think of it all? Well…I’ll give you THREE simple reasons why you SHOULD see Pacific Rim this weekend. How’s that for getting right to the point?
1. THERE’S BIG F#$KING ROBOTS AND MONSTERS!
I don’t know about your childhood, but I practically grew up on the old school Godzilla films and all the various Japanese monsters the big green guy did battle with. Make no mistake, first and foremost, this is a BIG MONSTER versus BIG ROBOTS movie. The tagline on the various movie posters don’t lead you astray here at all. They promise you big f#$king monsters and robots and they deliver nothing short of that. And it’s breathtaking. No, it’s spectacular! Aw…who am I kidding? It’s BAD-A$$ AWESOMENESS! They brought my childhood to life and conjured up warm thoughts of firing the rockets out of my Shogun Warrior toys. Now if you can do that to me, you already had me at hello…and make no mistake…Pacific Rim did just that as it started out with a furious bang of destruction and bolts right from the get go. They wasted absolutely no time dropping you into this film’s apocalyptic doomsday world and I love GDT for that! I absolutely love the guy now (well I still won’t be as forgiving with him for the Hellboy films or his involvement in Mama)!
2. THERE’S IDRIS ELBA!
Yeah, you read that right. I’m talking about the man who deserves your respect here, Idris Elba. He impressed me in last year’s Prometheus, but seriously folks…how can you turn your back on a guy who delivers a speech saying we’re taking back what’s ours and canceling the apocalypse? However, it’s not just the charisma of Idris here, it’s the collective cast as a whole. Whoever tells you there’s no character development here, turn a deaf ear on them. The characters are the heart of this story. I felt it and you will too. Ron Perlman is back in his fifth outing with GDT as the hilarious Hannibal Chau, a black marketeer who makes his bucks in…are you ready for this…LOL…dealing Kaiju organs! He comes in handy because that’s exactly what Charlie Day’s character, Dr. Newton Geizler, is in search for. Talk about a mad scientist! If you love Charlie in comedies such as Horrible Bosses, then there’s no way you’re not going to adore his character here. And speaking about hilarious…that brings me to another character who absolutely had me in stitches…Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb. I sat there the whole time wondering where the heck do I know this guy’s face from. Bingo! The Dark Knight Rises! Rest assured, there’s also a love story. What good screenplay doesn’t have one, right? It’s also a story of one man getting back up and rising from the ashes that his life has become OR incompatible people coming together to make it happen. Redemption is all abound here folks. No story or characters? Hogwash! Don’t give into the haters!
3. SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS DON’T COME ANY BIGGER THAN THIS!
Quite honestly, I can’t think of a world where there’s a bigger summer blockbuster action movie than this. True, it’s not based on a popular toy franchise, video game or a reboot of a time-told tried-and-true classic, but that’s a good thing! A VERY VERY GOOD THING! That mean’s it’s something new, something BIG, BOLD and FRESH! The sheer size and scope of this project is FREAKING EPIC! There’s really no other way to put it. I apologize for my inner geek coming out here, but I left the theater with a sh1t eating grin from ear-to-ear when I walked out of this one. If I can do it all over again, I would love to check this one out in IMAX. The 3D was decent and the D-Box press seats we had were kicking, but this one SCREAMS show me on the IMAX format like no other film in history. This movie won’t make the mad cash that the big Marvel properties usually pull in, but in my opinion and I’ll say it again, summer action blockbusters don’t come any bigger than this. I don’t know if there will be a sequel, but if there is…I’ll be the first in line. Kudos to GDT for the first film of his that I really ate up. I think my reviewer friend John Ary over at AICN said it best with his closing statement in his video review that pretty much sums up the exact same words I would want to echo to the masses interested in checking this one out. Don’t download this illegally. Don’t torrent it. Don’t do anything but SEE IT! Show Hollywood these are the types of bad-a$$ sci-fi flicks you want to see by supporting the box office this weekend. Can’t we all come together today for a better film world tomorrow?