Pacific Rim, legendary director Guillermo Del Toro’s newest movie, is a high-budget spectacular blockbuster which pits huge Godzilla type lizard monsters against 25-story high colossal robots in a battle for the Earth. I cannot think of anything better.
The movie manages to create an undeniable sense of fun that had me grinning and sometimes even laughing at the sheer entertainment of watching giant robots beat up giant lizards, entertainment that can’t quite be explained through an analysis of the film.
As we saw with Iron Man 3 earlier this year, you can keep the main attraction of the movie to a minimum and still have a very good film. There are only a total of 3 skirmishes with lizards (Kaiju) and robots (Jaegers) so the audience is not constantly bombarded with mind-numbing destruction (see Transformers. Actually, don’t see it, it’s terrible). There’s also no confusion about what is going on as these creatures do battle, each of the fighting moves the robots execute are shown in a simplistic and mechanical way that provides a great link between the pilots and the robots.
What’s more important is that there’s no doubt that you care about what’s going on underneath the rough metal exterior of the Jaeger robot suits. The characters, while they may be more simplistic than others we have seen this year, have genuine emotion and enough depth for you to follow and root for them as they wage war against the monsters.
If there’s one pitfall in this movie, it is some of the acting. The movie sports one of the worst on-screen Australian accents since Tarantino’s cameo in Django Unchained, and while this doesn’t affect any enjoyment of the movie it’s quite distracting in some scenes.
The setting of the film is excellent, as it doesn’t overdo the actual beginning of the war, but takes us 13 years into the war against these monsters – the 11th hour so to speak. It actually feels like there is a war and disaster going on, although this slightly jars with the extraordinarily fun battle sequences.
It’s odd to see such a labyrinth-like story and set-up behind the technology, monsters, and characters in a film with such a simple premise. There are plot points centred on how the mechanics of the robot warriors work, how they are piloted, how different robots are capable of the different things, the anatomy of the lizard monsters and whatnot. All of these things are simplistic enough, but its great details like these that give it the edge over other robot-bashing movies (again, see Transformers).
The visual effects in this movie are astounding. It’s kind of assumed they would be given it’s a movie that relies so heavily on them; however it’s still great to see such vivid, bright, detailed and intricate effects which reflect the time and effort put into creating them. It’s really quite fantastic.
Pacific Rim was always going to be a risk. If there’s anything that turns away the mainstream audience, it’s giant robots fighting lizards. However, if there’s a more fun movie this year, I’d be surprised. From the incredibly detailed sets to the huge titans waging war at sea, in the air or in the midst of a crumbling city, Pacific Rim is blockbuster entertainment at its best.
Besides, it’s worth it just to see a giant robot slap a giant lizard in the face with a boat.
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