Pacific Rim (2013)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:15 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 7.2/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

PACIFIC RIM (2013) - Guillermo del Toro

We always thought alien life resided in the stars, in the void of space. But instead, it came from deep beneath the Pacific. A fissure grew deep in the ocean floor, forming a portal between the human world and the monster world, called the Breach. For years, the world has suffered millions of deaths from each and every invading monster, known as Kaiju. In response, nations united together, set aside political and religious differences to fight in one common cause: to create monsters of our own. And so, the Jaeger program was born, where two pilots meld their minds together to operate one single giant robot. We won the first few battles, but then the tide was soon turned.

Pacific Rim starts off with a terrific prologue explaining everything I just wrote, in which the movie invites the audience to dive right into the plot. No slow buildup. No cliche narrative. Start right away. In fact, when we meet the characters and the plot narrative officially begins, we are in Year 7 since the War with the Kaijus began. Believe me, the way this film begins is the smartest, most efficient way possible. Begin by immersing the audience into this war.

The film revolves around Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a former pilot of the US Jaeger, Gypsy Danger. After losing his co-pilot brother, Becket disappeared into the world, refusing to go back to being a pilot, for his mind is too closely bonded to his brother's. Five years later, he is brought in once again by his commanding officer Pentecost (Idris Elba), and discovers that the Jaeger program has been decommissioned, and as a result, the remains of the program formed the Resistance. After joining, and in search of a new co-pilot, Becket meets Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), a strong-willed woman who lost her family in a Kaiju attack.

One amazing thing about Pacific Rim is its script. For a movie about giant robots smashing giant monsters, it actually pulled off a story in which we cared for the human characters. Within the first twenty minutes, our protagonist suffered a huge loss, and lost his own will to keep going. Therefore, when we see him slowly rise to the challenge once again, we can relate quickly. For Becket, either he can die working at a construction zone, or he can die in a Jaeger robot. His chemistry with his commanding officer and Mori is an interesting, humorous, and emotional one. Each person is connected to the other in their own unique way.

Elba this time around is given a whole lot of dialogue, and to be frank, he pulled it off the way I wanted him to pull it off. Pentecost has a sense of authority, but he also has a sense of humanity. You can see it in his eyes and the way he speaks. He shares a fatherly relationship to Mori. As for Mori herself, she comes forth as a carefully crafted character, a female who is equivalently in the same field as males. Though her Japanese accent obscures some of her English words, she is actually quite a good actress and represents the strong-willed female that science fiction films like to choose as female leads.

In addition to having two scientists who study the Kaiju, give out plot details, and release comic relief, the human cast in this film is no cardboard material, and I highly praise the screenwriters and del Toro for this. Despite the fact that Pacific Rim is a mindless film, the crew gives us characters and a story that is worth being mindful about. With great directing, meticulous writing, and intelligent craft, the movie ends up becoming something else... more than it appeared to be. As a result, the crew has cancelled the apocalypse that this towering film could have been.

Without a doubt, the Jaegers and Kaijus are all attractively designed. Each country's Jaeger looks different, is operated a different way, and has a certain emphasis in weaponry. In addition, there is a nice scene where the film takes its time to identify each Jaeger, so we won't get confused. Fortunately, I wasn't. As for the monster designs, you already know where this is going when you hear that the director is Guillermo del Toro. Though he emphasizes more on twisted fantasy creatures like the ones seen in Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy, del Toro backs up a little and gives each Kaiju room for Japanese inspiration and animalistic appearances. One Kaiju will resemble a shark. One will resemble a gorilla. Each one is dangerous and deadly for our humans.

Surely, everybody here cares less about the way the Jaegers and Kaiju look. Instead, they care more about how these two fight. Well then, have you ever seen intense fights? Surely you have. Have you ever seen epic fights? Yes. Now, have you ever seen fights that are both of those, but overall beautifully artistic to look at? I don't think so. Nearly every Jaeger/Kaiju fight scene takes place at night, in the colorful streets of Hong Kong, in the heart of thunderstorms and the midst of showering rain. With a swift combination of neon lights and flowing water, the battle sequences are stunning, gorgeous, and very elegant. The ocean itself is very dynamic throughout the movie and is incredibly beautiful, expressive too. In fact, they are very similar to the classic Japanese painting The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Del Toro is right. The water itself really is another character on its own.

Thought transformers were huge? Think again. Picture this: If dinosaurs were lizards, then the Kaijus are the crocodiles. In addition to the monsters, these Jaegers are incredibly enormous, and del Toro places the camera at the right places, panning and tilting to highlight these monsters' towering heights, how gigantic and tremendously mighty they are. When the Jaeger lifts its foot while walking, you can hear the metal clanking and howling, as if the machine itself is very much alive. When the Jaeger loads a punch, it loads very slowly, you can feel the arm's weight, and you can hear the sound effects roll into your ears as it loads. Once the punch lands on the Kaiju's face, the sounds echo in the night, circulating together with the sound of falling rain. As the Kaiju falls backwards into the water, a grand tidal wave soars upward, as the sound of the monster's screech is merged with the rumbling sound of the ocean. For sure, it is epic. But even better, it is majestic, stylish, and enchanting...

Certainly, the film's substance is familiar, in which the tale is a simple one of compassion and teamwork. At times of crisis, we humans will set aside our differences, trust and believe in each other, and fight facing the same direction. Though familiar, del Toro waxes the inner core with a glorious mythology. Simplistic films like these tend to throw away the brain and only have an action-packed heart. But inescapably, those films missed something, something that Pacific Rim unexpectedly had. That something is called a soul.

In conclusion, Pacific Rim is one of the most colorfully ravishing films I have ever seen. It knows perfectly well what kind of film it is supposed to be, and it went even further. Going where no other summer movies tend to go, the film carried a nice humanistic touch, took our breath away, sparkled our eyes, and unleashed the inner child within all of us. Here, Guillermo del Toro has taken his fantasy filmmaking talent to towering heights. Pacific Rim is fantastic, artistically awesome in every way possible, and packs an elbow-rocket punch.

Box Office Prediction: $800 to 900 million. Desire to break $1 billion

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