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 mecha and robot cartoons I used to watch as a kid. We saw trailer after trailer these before the release of this while each one was an improvement, I had to admit…I still wasn’t sold the first time I sat down to watch this. What was 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? I hate to sound like a screeching teenager, but OMG! This movie ended up being the BOMB! So much so that I actually paid to go back…BIGGER and BETTER the second time around. Oh yeah! I went IMAX 3-D and my ears bled in ecstasy from the stomping of the robots feet on the hard pavement or the smashing of their fists into the jaws of the Kaijus. I’ve never seen an absolutely glorious orgy of men (robots) and monsters throw down like this and something tells me it will be a long time before we ever see something of this grand scale again (here’s looking at you Godzilla). So while I’m still feeling all giddy after just watching Pacific Rim for the third time on the Blu-ray format, let’s get this monster party started!
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 (also referred to as GDT interchangeably throughout this review) 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 (whom I think we can all safely call Mr. Christian Grey) as our hero Raleigh Becket, Idris Elba (quickly becoming one of my favorites as of late) as Stacker Pentecost, Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, Charlie Day as Dr. Geiszler, Rob Kazinsky as Chuck Hansen, Max Martini as Herc Hansen (Chuck’s father), Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Ron Perlman (who is hit or miss in my opinion) as Hannibal Chau. And last but not least, fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will feel right at home here as the music within is scored by Ramin Djawadi, also known for his work on 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 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 NEED to buy Pacific Rim on Blu-ray. 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, nuts and bolts. 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. But honestly, 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 believe 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 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 twice with a sh1t eating grin from ear-to-ear when I walked out of this one. This one SCREAMS show me on the BIGGEST screen possible so remember that when choosing where to watch your Blu-ray disc for the very first screening. This movie didn’t make the mad cash that the big Marvel properties usually pull in, but in my opinion, summer action blockbusters don’t come any bigger than this. So thanks to the international box office success of this one it looks like a sequel will indeed happen and guess what?! I’ll be the first in line for it! 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 this past July that pretty much sums up 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 BUY this Blu-ray (click here)! Show Hollywood these are the types of bad-a$$ sci-fi flicks you want to see by legally supporting the home video sales of this. In doing so we can all come together for a better film world tomorrow.
One word…REFERENCE. This Blu-ray presentation doesn’t disappoint. That’s for sure! You know that whole massive size and scope thing I have been raving about all review long, well it’s rendered incredibly here. I must say, I was a doubter at first. I questioned with everything happening onscreen, how is it not going to be a pixelated mess? Was I ever a fool for worrying about that. And here’s the weird thing. I know I’m watching a two-dimensional presentation, but why does it feel like I’m viewing it in 3-D? This thing just pops! It’s the magic of Blu-ray, baby! So Warner Bros. really delivers a HUGE winner with this MPEG-4 AVC codec transfer perfectly filling your HDTV screen in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The colors are all crisp, bright and vibrant while the black levels are some of the inkiest and deepest I have seen in a long time. Besides the rich hues and saturation, the detail is where it’s at here. Yeah baby! The detail is fine, rich and sharp throughout. Heck, I never noticed how Elba’s head was shaved until now. From the welts and rivets in the doors and on the mech warriors to the individual stars, snowflakes and beads of water, this track is like a Kaiju, live and kicking! Fine textures are abound everywhere from the skin on the monsters to the wooly fabric employed on Elba’s jacket. The contrast is pumped in different scenes, but it’s purely intentional. All the while the skin tones remain natural and healthy. There’s not a single spec of noise or forbidding artifact to be seen in the print. This presentation rocks more than 10 cans of Monster energy drink. It’s that good! I profess my Blu-ray faith once again, my disciples.
Just like in the video department above, this one also echoes the same sentiment…REFERENCE. Warner Bros. brings us a BOMBASTIC track that will rock your living quarters if you don’t tame this monster. Wow! It sure packs a punch and I love it for that! You’ll find both a MASSIVE 7.1 and a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless surround track here that once again will knock you on your a$$ if you’re not careful with it. I got chills when I heard Elba say to Hunnam’s character “Haven’t you heard Mr. Becket, the world is coming to an end. So where would you rather die, here or in a Jaeger?” I fricking love that line! And it’s captured and rendered with amazing fidelity and clarity here. Heck, despite all the debris exploding everywhere in this flick, the dialog is a true winner as it always remains loud, clear and intelligible throughout. You honestly couldn’t ask for anything more out of it. And the bass! Wow! Hearing those Kaijus scream and roar definitely rocked my world today. However, my favorite surround moments are heard when Jaeger pilots enter into a drift. It’s both fascinating and orgasmic. Indeed! From the gears that engage the Jaeger robots to the rousing and triumphant score, I’m in love with this immersive audio track. It’s as aggressive as I remember it in IMAX and also in D-Box. If you let it and have the ability to do so, this one can blow your hair back, as long as you have some to blow back of course. And while we are on the subject of the score, how about the rat-ta-tat-tat of the drums during the bo staff training match-ups. It’s hypnotic to me and it’s also the little things in life like this that which make me smile. See, I’m not that hard to please. Who said I was? You know they’re wrong! And before I forget because my mind is so under the spell of this lossless audio track, I should make mention of the fact that one can also select Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks to listen to as well as their respective subtitles.
Believe it or not, there’s a third disc in this one. And it’s a Blu-ray! I feel like I’m announcing the birth of my son. LOL. The second Blu-ray disc houses all the below special features minus the audio commentary and the focus points, but more about that below. In addition to the second Blu-ray disc, there’s also a separate DVD disc housing the film in standard definition as well as a code redeemable for an UltraViolet HD Digital Copy too. There’s a lot to keep you busy with here! I have included some exclusive unboxing pics below so you can keep track of all the discs I referenced in this “monstrous” three-disc set. Enjoy!
- Audio Commentary by Guillermo del Toro – Do you love hearing GDT talk? So do I! He’s adorable and so nice and genuine in person. This one’s simply a treasure trove to endure. I love how he says this movie is made out of love. That’s exactly how I feel about it too. It’s a movie as GDT puts it that injects new life and passion into two genres he loves and grew up with. You can tell this guy loves his Kaiju. That’s no secret. It’s all interesting here as we get to hear GDT’s take on everything and hear how it differs from yours perhaps. I could go on and on here, but I think this one begs…no it screams to be listened to. You want the full making of story? Well, you’re not going to find that anywhere else except by listening to this track. I’m not usually a fan of all of these kind of tracks, but I do admit to watching this flick all over again while listening to this commentary and writing this review. As far as commentary tracks go, this one is triumphant and majestic as GDT would say. Probably the most interesting thing I heard from the guy is how much he is a disciple of attention to detail and all the detail he wanted dispersed in the sets, costumes, patches, etc (a year just to texture the computer monitors). Love you for that GDT! You da man! And I’ll leave you with this…watch to find out why the color red is so important to GDT in this feature. That’s all I’ll say! This guy is a master of presentation. I’m sorry for ever doubting you GDT. You have a unique flair and vision here that very few could ever reproduce or even talk about it. I love his take on the importance of the narrative through audio/visuals. Okay I’m shutting up here. I can rave about this commentary track forever I feel. You want the complete making of? You MUST watch this! Period.
- The Directors Notebook (HD) – This is an interactive presentation of del Toro’s Pacific Rim notebook. How cool is that?! It features clickable pages to access targeted interview pods, image scans and notes created during the film’s pre-production phase. The 3D holographic interface also includes a magnify mode that translates blocks of Spanish text and activates exclusive still galleries. Wow! This is the stuff dreams are made of for the hardcore fans out there. Don’t you think?! Who needs the paper book when you have this?
- Drift Space (HD, 5:24) – This extra breaks apart the film’s four drift sequences and diagrams the importance of the events represented onscreen.
- The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim (HD, 17:10) – This is the one you’ve all been waiting for lads. Go behind-the-scenes as we look at the creative process the ILM artisans were subjected to in order to breathe life into del Toro’s 2D renderings and transform them into huge, breathtaking digital creatures/beasts for all to see and take refuge from…unless you are a Jaeger that is.
- The Shatterdome (HD) – This one gives viewers a look at archived and some never before seen animatics, maquettes and concept art.
- Focus Points (HD) – Believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, there are a total of 13 separate focus points. Let’s tackle them in order, shall we?
- A Film by Guillermo del Toro (HD, 4:47) – The cast and crew discuss the changes a film undergoes through del Toro’s direction.
- A Primer on Kaijus & Jaegers (HD, 4:09) – The filmmakers discuss the storied tradition of mech versus monster battles in Kaiju films. You knew we had to have something like this, didn’t you?
- Intricacy of Robot Design (HD, 4:53) – Here’s a very cool one as we get to sit in an early design meeting about the Jaeger machines and see first hand how concepts evolved into giant metal warriors.
- Honoring The Kaiju Tradition (HD, 4:30) – Here we get a tour of the film’s Kaiju lineup as created by the mind of del Toro. Impressive!
- The Importance of Mass and Scale (HD, 5:45) – This is the one I have been waiting to see…how they designed the huge scale of the film with all the intricate detail intact.
- Shatterdome Ranger Roll Call (HD, 5:39) – Here we explore the actors and the relationships they have within the film to fuel the emotion of the script. Who said there’s no emotional qualities to Pacific Rim? Not I!
- Jaegers Echo Human Grace (HD, 4:01) – Find out how the actors trained and got in the incredible shape as this feature explores scenes where great physical prowl and dexterity is required of them.
- Inside The Drift (HD, 4:34) – This one is quite interesting. Del Toro describes the rules of drifting and presents real-world counterparts as reference points. Things that make you go hmm.
- Goth-Tech (HD, 4:39) – The artists who had a hand in creating the colors and unique look of the post apocalyptic world of Pacific Rim chime in here.
- Mega Sized Sets (HD, 8:54) – This one is just what you would imagine from its title. Explore the huge sets and see how Jaeger cockpits and devastated Hong Kong streets were rendered and created.
- Baby Kaiju Set Visit (HD, 3:07) – Here we get an all access visit to the Hong Kong set to witness firsthand what’s real and what’s digital.
- Tokyo Alley Set Visit (HD, 3:17) – Remember all those explosions in the street during the Kaiju attack when Mako was just a little girl in the film lost in her first drift? Well if not, witness them all here!
- Orchestral Sound From The Anteverse (HD, 4:04) – Become a fly in the room as we attend meetings between composer Ramin Djawadi and Guillermo del Toro and witness how the score all came together.
- Deleted Scenes (HD) – There are a total of 4 deleted scenes you can access here with the ability to select play all as well. The four deleted scenes are “The Wall of Life/Rations” (:46), “”Excuse Me” (1:01), “Theft” (:28) and “Catch You In The Drift, Dad.”
- Blooper Reel (HD, 3:52) – This is just what you would expect, a bunch of botched lines, lot of laughs and even a scene of bad breath. So in other words, it’s your usual stuff here. But wait! The final scene ends on applause as del Toro enters the room. The man deserves it for this bad boy! I salute you, Guillermo.
- DVD (SD) – There’s a separate DVD disc that houses the film in standard definition for those long minivan drives.
- UltraViolet (HD) – When you open your Pacific Rim Blu-ray set you’ll find a loose sheet of paper with the redemption code to add the flick to your UV collection. Please bring back the iTunes Digital Copy, WB! Please! At least this UV one is HD though.
With a GIANT release like this it would be a shame to skimp on EVERYTHING you get here and that includes my exclusive unboxing pics. So without further ado…give it up for the beloved unboxing pics of Pacific Rim 3-disc set on Blu-ray (roars and applause fill the website).
Check out the Blu-ray’s lenticular slipcover that changes as you move it.
Here’s the Kaiju slipcover…
…and here’s the Jaeger (Gypsy Danger) slipcover.
Here’s the rear slipcover, which contains same rear case artwork too.
Would you just open the damn thing already?!!!
There appears to be only 2 discs, huh?
Whoa! What’s that which lurks underneath the film’s Blu-ray disc?
How was that? Was it as good for you as it was for me? I hope so!
So you say your life is boring? You say you want to have a fun time, but epic in the same token? Well you’re in luck. No, I’m not here to sell you drugs. I’m here to sell you on Pacific Rim. It’s the tale of a washed up pilot and an untested trainee who are teamed together to take a stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse. It’s what dreams and your childhood are made of. You have never seen this much scale and size on the Blu-ray format before. To combat all the other Blu-rays out there, Warner Bros. built a monster…they named it Pacific Rim and in less than a week the Blu-ray can be yours to own, cherish and enjoy for decades to come. The del Toro commentary alone is worth the price of admission here. I can watch and listen to it over and over. Trust me…this Blu-ray is the real deal…maybe even Blu-ray of the year. Who knows? All I know is this. You want to play with the BIG boys? If so, pre-order Pacific Rim today! I can’t recommend it enough. Keeping it simple, del Toro has won me over and rekindled my earliest childhood memories and I love him for it. Thank you GDT! And thank you Warner Bros. for one of the finest Blu-ray experiences of the year. I’m very much in your debt for this one.
If you like what you read above, please help to support our site by pre-ordering Pacific Rim on Blu-ray here. Many thanks! Other wise it hits retail shelves at a store near you everywhere on October 15th.