Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pacific Rim: It’s Giant Monsters vs. Giant Robots

Pacific Rim.
It’s giant monsters vs. giant robots.
That’s all you need to know. 

Okay, giant monsters vs. giant robots, and it is directed by Guillermo del Toro. That’s all you really need to know about this movie.

Guillermo del Toro is the guy who directed the Hellboy movies, Pan's Labyrinth, Blade II and Cronos among others. This guy knows his way around a visually stunning and exciting movie and I am happy to report he delivers here.

If you are old enough to remember the old 4:30 Movie on ABC, then you might recall that every so often they would do MONSTER WEEK. This was when they would show a Japanese monster movie every afternoon for a week. It was always a highlight of the year and I could not wait to get home from school each day. It’s where I first met Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, Mothra, Gammera and the rest of those classic and humongous creatures.

Well, Pacific Rim is like they squeezed the five days of MONSTER WEEK into two hours to make one hell of a summer movie.

Too young to remember MONSTER WEEK? Then imagine Voltron vs. Godzilla times 1000.

In a summer full of remakes, reboots and sequels like Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, and Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim has gone bit under the radar… which is funny, because giant monsters and robots are normally very visible on radar.

Here’s the Google Movie Trailers synopsis of Pacific Rim

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes -a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind's last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

If you are looking for intricate plots, lots of subtext, deep character development and Oscar worthy performances, this might not be the movie for you. However, if you love really fun, amazing looking movies that involve giant monsters fighting giant robots, then this flick is just what the doctor ordered.

First of all, the special effects are tremendous. We’ve come a long way from the "man in a monster suit destroying a model city and some toy tanks" days. Plus, this is actually a movie where I noticed and appreciated the 3D.  Most 3D movies these days seem like a waste of money.  Here it actually enhances the experience. Bottom line: the robot/monster fights are spectacular.

Second, while the characters are very much right out of a cartoon, they get the job done. As a kid, I always loved monster movies, BUT, I would occasionally get bored to tears during the scenes between the monster attacks. Not so in this movie. The Jaeger pilots are fine, but it’s Charlie Day, from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Ron Perman, from Hellboy and Burn Gorman, who you might recognize from The Dark Knight Rises, who help make this movie more than just a big budgeted version of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. They add an entertaining, humorous and somewhat silly side-plot to the movie that keeps it from taking itself too seriously.

Another great thing about this movie is that it does not have the baggage that Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, and Iron Man 3 all have. Each of those movies were very polarizing, with many people either loving them or hating them based on deviations from the source material and expectations based on prior versions of the characters. With Pacific Rim, you are dealing with new characters, a new story and best of all, no baggage.

No, this film is not rocket science, nor is it brain surgery; but is does feature a lot of rockets and some cool monster brains. Look, this movie is not for everyone, but if you are a fan of this kind of stuff, or you just enjoy action-packed, escapist fun, summer popcorn movies, Pacific Rim is worth a look. Don't over-think it, just enjoy it.

I mean really… it’s giant monsters vs. giant robots. What else do you need to know? 

Bonus: Rock out to the Gammera Song!

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