Pacific Rim is, hands down, the blockbuster event of the summer — a titanic sci-fi action fantasy that has been invested, against all expectations, with a heart, a brain, and something approximating a soul.
Guillermo del Toro is more than a filmmaker, he's a fantasy visionary with an outsized imagination and a fanatical specificity, a creator of out-of-this world universes carefully conceived down to the smallest detail. His particular gifts and passions are on display in the long-awaited Pacific Rim and the results are spectacular.
At first, watching Pacific Rim feels like rediscovering a favourite childhood cartoon – but del Toro has flooded the project with such affection and artistry that, rather than smiling nostalgically, you find yourself enchanted all over again.
If I were nine years old, I would see the monsters-versus-robots adventure Pacific Rim 50 times. Because I'm in my forties and have two kids and two jobs, I'll have to be content with seeing it a couple more times in theaters and re-watching it on video.
Generally favorable reviews- based on 1264 Ratings
Jul 13, 2013Disclaimer: I loved this movie. I watched it twice, back-to-back, in 3D.
I loved the action and the spectacle. The battles, despite the one absurdity of giant robots fighting alien invaders had sense of realism that was rather unnerving. Everything but that (minor detail) was eerily plausible. I also liked the other messages found throughout. Mostly, though, I loved how it all came together as a kind of celebration of the value science and technology when coupled with human courage, ingenuity, innovation, self-sacrifice, individualism (when appropriate), and cooperation (when appropriate).
It's the many minor messages within the movie that made it stand out from mindless summer action movie fare (which are fine, on occasion).
First, what I like the most: I liked abiding theme of science and technology being tools for human salvation. There are literally no scenes without some object of human ingenuity in view. The giant robots are man-machine saviours that aid humanity in fighting against grotesque organic monsters.
(As an aside: I like nature. I was raised in a rural area, and I enjoyed camping. But make no mistake, nature can be brutal, and it is only human scientific, technological, social, and other developments that can keep the monster at bay. If you doubt me, try surviving alone and without man-made equipment for a week in virtually any natural environment. You may not be dead, but you'll almost wish you were. Where I live (just outside a city of 1 million), you’d be dead in less than 5 hours without winter clothing, six months a year. Nature can be subservient to us, but it must never again be our master. Precambrian humans had an average life expectancy of 31 years. Also, like the monsters in this movie, any number larger wild animals would kill a human without a second thought. A bear will rip a child to shreds. Wolves (prior to their gradual domestication by killing the more violent ones over the centuries), were a particularly large threat in Europe. An elephant will gore a grown man. And so on. **It is solely our scientific, technological, and social advancements made possible by an appropriate mix of individual initiative and group cooperation that keep the nightmare at bay.** The movie Pacific Rim acknowledges this. Unlike the technological luddism of, for example, the Terminator movies or Avatar [which both partially denigrate technology and science], this movie celebrates human achievement and progress. And movies could use more of that.)
I liked that movie (unlike almost all American blockbusters) takes place in several locations, none of which are large American cities. The United States comprises about 5% of the global population, and it’s nice to see that represented in an American blockbuster. And how many times do you really want to see New York destroyed, for instance?
I appreciated the message that both cooperation and individual initiative are prudent and necessary. The fight against (for instance, there are several instances of insubordination and deviations from military procedure, but they mostly involve serving the greater good).
I liked the love story component. The lead man was not a handsome male Brad Pitt lookalike, and the female love interest was not the typical American supermodel of action flicks. Rather, she was an English-speaking Chinese national who models the very best traits of many females from that culture. She is polite and respectful, yet stands up for her beliefs non-confrontationally, and she is obviously intelligent. She is "equal but different" from the main male protagonist.
I appreciated the cursory mention of the cause for the alien invasion: global environmental degradation, the (spoiler) reason for the alien invasion.
Although there is much "apocalyptic porn" (hey, I like it too), the body count is actually quite low. While we see entire skyscrapers destroyed, because civilians are evacuated in shelters, the number of civilian casualties is less than 100. (Contrast that with "Man of Steel", which had a casualty count of six or seven figures).
It was nice to see scientists portrayed are heroes. The two scientist characters literally risk their lives to test a theory and gain evidence that is crucial to a positive outcome. This world needs more scientists and technologists. Even the characters' stereotypical eccentricity is endearing: they have their foibles, but they are each aware of it. Sometimes, human foibles are unavoidable, and condemning people for (relatively) harmless quirks that they cannot change serves no purpose.
I did like that movie avoids many Hollywood clichés (for the above reasons).
If I had one complaint, it's that the movie is too short. It's 2 hours and 10 minutes. However, there is less action than I would have liked. It's not that there is too much "non-action" content. It's just that another 30 minutes or so of giant robot battles would have been swell.
In short: see it.… Full Review »
Jul 12, 2013"Pacific Rim" is a spectacle for the eyes and ears. I mean this movie is a visual treat from well detailed robot and monster designs to high over the top, but well choreographed action sequences and massive collateral damage. The world that Guillermo del Toro creates is imaginative and his character designs are mesmerizing and complex. The sound design and the sheer force of the films score captivates you into a ride of sight and sound that pleases all your senses. From the metal grinding noise of the robots to the fleshy and almost beast like cry the monsters make, this film has you feeling like you are right there in the middle of the action.
While the movie is mostly is a visual treat, it doesn’t forget about its characters and there humanity. The film isn’t all bells and whistles, it really does have some really nice character moments in its script, which are about overcoming fear, moving on and trust. These moments make us care for the events that are unfolding. However, the script isn’t all serious business, it knows when to have fun. Some of these moments can be a bit too campy though and some of the emotional moments feel forced. The film sometimes even becomes contrived, mainly towards the end. However, director Guillermo del Toro balances things pretty well.
The actors in this film do a pretty good job, but the only real standout is Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost.This character is sort of the leader of the resistance and Elba commands attention every second on screen. Charlie Hunnam is pretty good as Raleigh Becket, a Jaeger pilot, who left the resistance after a traumatic incident. I wish they showed more of his inner battle, it would have invested us into the story more. Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori is really hit or miss. The scenes where she is more reserved are good, but when she tries to emote, it can be awkward at times. The rest of the cast is pretty solid and the supporting cast is pretty good, especially Charlie Day, who brings some of the lighter moments to the film.
Overall “Pacific Rim" as a giant robot versus giant monster movie is pretty awesome. The visuals, sound, and well directed action are all top-notch. They provide a treat for the eyes like never before. Even the 3D is spectacular, the best I’ve seen since “Avatar," it really absorbs you into del Toro’s imaginative world. The story, mainly the human element, is a bit weaker as it can feel contrived at times. It keeps us involved, but never takes us to the next level of emotional satisfaction. I give it 4/5, a blockbuster with some of the coolest and most imaginative action that I have seen this year.… Full Review »