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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pacific Rim Review: We Are Cancelling the Apocalypse!

I will say I am a film critic with being a Toku reviewer as well. I love movies a whole lot as there are many different types and many directors can share their tastes with audiences from over the whole world. Sadly for America the giant robot and giant monsters wasn't really that big of a thing. Now there was a moment when I remember watching Godzilla and other Kaiju movies on television, but soon it stopped. The only Godzilla movie around was the terrible America take from 1998 as I still see it on FX or somewhere else. I still kept my love for the massive titans though and I kept many Godzilla films and watched tons of Kaiju action. I even kept my love for robots thanks to Super Sentai and some really good anime like Gundam and Gurren Lagan. So when I heard one of my favorite directors Guillermo Del Toro was making a movie where Jaegers and Kaiju fight it out I was so happy. I mean along with the Godzilla reboot coming out I want to hug Legendary for doing this. Bringing these types of films is a really risky move since the budgets will be crazy high. The last big theater giant robot movie was Robot Jocks which was a silly movie, but I still find it enjoyable. Even the sequel which didn't get a theater release was another goofy yet fun movie. So it finally came, Pacific Rim and I was sad to hear how it did for the American box office. It reached third place, as Grown Ups 2 and Despicable Me 2 beat it. The reviews for it were mostly positive though and my favorite reviewers from Team Snob loved this movie a whole lot. Then came great news as the film reached number one in the international box office and it hasn't even hit countries like Japan yet. So not only did I see this movie once I saw it twice and I want to fully support this movie as it was what I needed to have hope for this genre to come back.
Pacific Rim is the film that easily kick starts the rebirth of giant robots and monsters as it's a great love letter to the whole genre while being a huge blast of fun. As said by Max Force from the Midnight Screenings said, "If you hate this movie, you hate joy." Also he said that he inner ten year old was having the blast of his life and I so had that same reaction. This film are for the fans who loved collecting the action figures and just playing with them as much as they could. The film is a huge action thrill as the most important thing for an action film is that you can see things that are happening. There are lovely effects to look at and the camera wants to show you all of it. You see punches, kicks, and explosions all done with the beautiful animations as the touches of the blue blood going around the area is nice to look at while you can see the mechs getting destroyed and seeing their parts flying around. Now I didn't see this in 3D since I don't like that gimmick, but I heard great things for it so maybe I could see it a third time, hehehe. You got a lot of creative touches for the action as the main robot Gypsy Danger really brings the power into the fights. It picks up crates, boats, and etc to use as weapons in a battle. Then the simple punches, uppercuts, jump punches, laser fire, and the core blaster! Overall the action was very well done as you can see everything as the effects of practical and special effects are at a perfect blend.
Now some critics gave negative reviews because the story wasn't complex and thought provoking. Also they said the cliches and arch type characters bring the film down, personally I don't agree with that. Most of these "cliches" and "arch types" are mostly tributes to the past Kaiju films and anime mech series. There were many times I would think of a past movie or series I watched and that just made me more happy. This shows the love Del Toro had for this genre, he has seen many of these films. Also some Toku fans didn't like this either, but again I say the same thing. First of all it's not only giving tributes to the live action series, but also the anime series. Then going on it mostly tributes the olden days of the genre. I will discuss this more with the characters, but just because a film has cliches doesn't make it a bad film. Sometimes blending some in can make the experience feel good overall. That is the most important part of any film, the lasting effect, what is felt overall. Now if you personally don't like the cliches and stuff like that, well have fun watching older series because they started them. It's hard to be completely original and Del Toro knew this, but he wanted to give what he loved from his childhood and I know many like myself share that love of just seeing monsters and robots duke it out. Overall this film's cliches don't bog the movie down at all as there are a lot of tributes to the days of the beginning of this genre.
Leatherback reminds me of the old Godzilla where he had a couple of pounds on him.
Now onto the characters and again I mostly see their character traits as tributes to the genre. The main character Raleigh Becket is well a maverick hero. He goes against the usual ways and wanting to save many while defeating the monsters. When I think of a character like this I think of the Gundam protagonists who didn't do what was ordered, but still get the mission down as they also worry for the other people around them. Then Mako was the main heroine and she was a really fun character. She has a lot of ambition and doesn't want to back down which reminds me of many Gundam females or Asuka from Evangelion. Going on with these two some thought they were a force love pair, I can see why people can think that, but again I remember a lot of Kaiju films where a man and female got closer together from the journey. Also there is actually some good detailing for these two. They both lost something close to them and certain events changed their lives. Also Mako looked in very well about our main character and the two easily get used to each other from fighting each other to fighting together. Again a big battle can leave open for romance and there is some detailing in the background that support these two so I am completely fine with them.
Then onto some really memorable side characters. Now the general, Stacker Pentecost was a cool guy. He is bold and dynamic. I loved a good amount of his dialogue and the bond he had with Mako was a nice touch. These two really act like father and daughter which is needed for when people lose someone and they need a new person to help them get back up. Mako sees him as a role model to follow and I can clearly see why. He is a man who follow protocols very closely, but he does this for the safety of his crew. Now everything can't work perfectly as not everyone can be saved. When the time is right though he will step into the fire and will do what he can to put it out even putting his life at risk. Then there were the two scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. These two characters were wacky and were needed as they still do a lot of things to help the heroes, but also being good comic reliefs. I really miss movies with superheroes and the mix of darkness with brightness. A good sense of humor is needed and can make the feeling of the film feel better as it can uplift you at good times. There are also a good amount of jokes along the film and sometimes the over the top reactions from the doctors were needed to get the audience laughing. Then there was Ron Perlman who was the most over the top character, but was also a serious badass. Del Toro you really know how to use this actor as this was a really fun role and he gave a great performance. Then there was even the navigator who helped run things and telling the heroes what is happening. He is played by Clifton Collins Jr. who usually gets minor roles, but he does a fine job with them. He does well here as well as his character is a great supporter who again adds some nice moments for the movie. Then we got two other pilots who had Striker Eureka as we had the usual jerk with his strict father. Now again arch types are fine as long they have good moments. Chuck Hansen the jerk did have good moments and thanks to how the film explained on how pilots were treated like superstars it makes sense on how some could be cocky. The best part was the bond with his father as the two do risky things together and nothing is stronger than family bonds. I will say though there are some random side characters and sadly their robots get that treatment as well, but oh well at least there were still many fun characters that I enjoyed in this film.
Then going on with other factors of the film that I liked was the cast. These weren't the big Hollywood superstars you usually see as Mako was played by a Japanese actress as she mostly did Japanese movies. Then we had mostly T.V. stars like Charlie Hunman and Charlie Day. Then adding some new actors I haven't seen or some I haven't seen for a while and the cast really feels good because of this. It gives a unique vibe thanks to these different actors and not big time superstars. Also I didn't find their performances to be bad, I think it was above average at best. Actors express emotions well and Rinko (Mako) did great with showing expressions on her face at many moments. Then Ron was at his finest as I could tell he loved this role of being a black market dealer of Kaiju parts. Both Charlies did nice as Hunman really performed his anger well and when he yelled during the battle I got excited. Charlie Day was like Rick Moranis as he gives a funny performance, but still does a nice job as an unsung hero. Then there was Idris Elba who did the best for me as he got the boldness of the general. He made the speeches sound better thanks to his tough voice and not breaking at all. So I don't think the acting is bad, it's not perfect, but I really do like the fresher cast as this reminds me of the Toku series and some of the Kaiju films.
Even if the story was simple that is fine as the overall feeling was great. Drama was nice, the action was very very exciting as my hear was pumping much harder than usual. Then there were some nice detailed moments I really liked. These were how people react to giant monsters attacking them. It really made a lot of sense because soon the pilots were treated like super stars, merchandise was being made based on the monsters and robots, and we even got black markets for Kaiju parts. Also add somethings like displaying the first Kaiju skull in a museum to using a skull as a church! The film really added some nice details to how people would react to this type of situation because with victory comes praise and soon people will get used to it. Also kids would easily love the giant robots and monsters as this kinda pokes to how the genre does have a lot of merchandise. It also reminds me of Stars Wars as some of the really minor things can really come with big results like Boba Fett.
Overall I really loved this film and I hope this love for the genre can still exist for film making. It's a simple and very fun movie and it does add some detailing where it is needed. It also tributes the genres a whole lot as the beginning of the movie really reminded me of Gurren Lagan with the two brothers fighting along each other and how Gypsy Danger's head is basically screwed onto the body which reminds me of the drill head. I heavily support this film and I think others should do as well cause this is a good representation of the old school days of the genre and with enough support we can make it evolve. It's not the most perfect film, but it delivers what is needed as I give Pacific Rim an A.
Long live Tokusatsu!


  1. siegfried jurgenJuly 28, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    What an Excellent review about Pacific Rim. I must say that I have watched this fantastic film 3 times already ever since it was shown in my country last July 12 (Directors Chair, IMAX 3D and 2D) and even now I am still amazed at the wonderful effects and story that I was being played out on the Big Screen!

    I was eagerly waiting for this film to hit theaters ever since it was being conceived since 2010 and let me say the wait was well worth it... I felt like I was a 10 year old kid again! hehe

    I was literally off the edge of my lazyboy seat and was amazed at the visual (both practical and CG) effects!

    The only thing was missing was me having Pacific Rim action figure at hand while watching the movie...

    Having grown up watching lots and lots of Big Robot Movies like Voltes V, Daimos, Mazinger Z, Gundam and even Neon Genesis Evangelion and of Kaiju Movies like the various Toho-made GODZILLA, RODAN, AND GAMERA Films! I was really able to see the influence made by those films that was being honored by the Director himself, Guillermo del Toro....this is truly a film for the fans of those genre like me (Laughs)...

    I hope this film earns a lot so that we can have the much awaited sequel for this magnificent film! :)

  2. It's funny I am thinking of getting a third watch on this movie with it being the IMAX 3D for the final time. Going on then I mostly grew up with Kaiju's, giant robots were still awesome, but during my childhood I missed some of the great ones. I easily seen a good amount though like Gundam and I still remember a little bit of Voltron. I was just so happy with this movie in general as it didn't have to be this over complex film just to carry a strong image. I think what does it for me though is that we see the end of the war and know it has been going on for a long time and that was easily established. I am so mad that the American box office didn't help this film out that much, but at least internationally it's doing great and it still hasn't hit Japan yet so I easily know a sequel will happen.

    1. I understand your sentiments! I hope this movies does well Internationally so that a sequel could be made (I hope a prequel too)

  3. I don't watch movies multiple times, but I've been seriously tempted to for this film.

    It's hard to express with words just how elated I felt watching it. And even though the character bits were cliched the fights made up for it in spades. In *spades*.

    You tell a STORY with action scenes (something Mr. Michael Bay hasn't grasped). And while I just sort of coasted through the non-action bits, satisfied but not gripped, I was on the edge of my seat when poo hit the fan.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Yea Michael Bay doesn't understand how to do this effectively mostly because you can never see his action fully even though the later films did fix that a little. Also the worst part about his Transformers films are the padding and his comedy. The padding and comedic scenes take too long and they are completely useless for the film. The comedy fails because it's too crude and tries to be shocking and has no context at all to the film. With Pacific Rim there are quick moments of comedy and they may have not been needed for the film, but I got some good laughs when the two scientist jumped into the Kaiju brain.