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“Pacific Rim” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

July 10, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 8.26.31 AMThe 2013 Summer Movie Season just got better and BIGGER. Guillermo del Toro returns with another rock ’em sock ’em action/fantasy/adventure of epic proportions, the “Hellboy” filmmaker tackles monsters of two different scales; robots and aliens. Could you believe something so ‘B-Movie’ level could become a passion project for the Spanish filmmaker behind such greats as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devils Backbone”?“Pacific Rim” almost feels like a movie he wouldn’t normally do, the farthest he’s gone in this particular fantastical genre are the “Hellboy” movies. And yet, I expected nothing short of astounding from the man behind those movies. Dynamite special effects, fun story, and a cast that leads the film with such triumphant, “Pacific Rim” is without question my favorite movie of the summer.

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea through a ‘bridge’ leading to their world into ours, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, the world’s leaders band together, putting aside differences to create a special type of weapon: massive robots, called Jaegers. Jagers are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural path. Soon enough the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju continue to rise. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)-who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past: THE GYPSY DANGER. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

GODZILLA meets TRANSFORMERS, if there is anyway to best describe this movie, that’s what many people will say. But, “Pacific Rim” makes up for a lot of things that “Transformers” continue to fail at. Number one, the action is actually coherent, it’s not the crazy chaotic mayhem that Michael Bay thrives on like a an ADHD school boy. Second, del Toro makes the action look…well, beautiful, seriously I haven’t seen action like this in quite a long time and it truly looks beautiful. An array of color palettes are used, many of which you’d never see in a monster movie; hot pinks, neon blues and yellows, the color is all over the place.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 8.31.28 AMAnother thing this movie does right, which many films like it have rarely done on a successful level like this film, is it’s choice in it’s cast. The lead protagonist are relatively unknowns, with the exception of Idris Elba as Marshall. Charlie Day plays a mad scientist of sorts, and he’s not necessarily unknown, but if you’re not much of a fan of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or “Horrible Bosses”, then he’s pretty much an unknown to few. Idris Elba, in my opinion is the backbone to this films overall cast. Strong-willed and stern, Elba brings such gravitas and commanding lead to the movie. His best scenes are the ones where he’s in a mood you don’t want to mess with him in.

The movie does have it’s flaws in some areas, there’s the typical “Top Gun” approach to some supporting characters, and the whole idea that the Kaiju invade this world to exterminate, and move on to the next is very “Independence Day”. In fact lots of things this movie does rings back to past alien invaison or giant monster movies, or war films even. But, to put it simply “Pacific Rim” is a terrific modern creature feature, it’s bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun and humor, with just enough room to give you some surprises for people who’re familiar with the genre. It’s so good, that it brings many Guillermo del Toro fans to beg him to make that “Hellboy 3” movie we’ve been waiting for, I mean when you have Ron Perlman featured in a movie about giant monsters/robots, why not?

3D GRADE: B-

FILM GRADE: A-

OVERALL GRADE: A-

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