Pacific Rim (2013)
PG-13 / 131 min
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi
Director: Guillermo del Toro
In some alternate universe, I’d like to imagine that Godzilla and the Transformers exist together. In that universe they are fighting each other in front of the backdrop of a towering city, leaving fiery destruction in their wake. Monster versus technology in one epic battle for the ages. Alright, this is a pipe dream of mine but Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s epic summer blockbuster, is the closest thing I have to my pipe dream.
Everything about Pacific Rim defines it as a summer blockbuster. The film has epic battle sequences with massive set pieces. It’s colorful, explosive, and thrilling. Massive sea creatures, known as the Kaiju, are threatening humankind. They come from an alternate universe and their main mission is the destruction of mankind. In an effort to put a stop to this threat, massive weaponized robots called Jaegers are developed as the prime offensive against the Kaiju. These mechs, piloted by humans, are mankind’s last hope against the apocalypse at the hands of the Kaiju.
As the war rages on, two pilots are called to lead a mission that involves a big showdown between the Jaegers and the Kaiju. Raleigh Becket, played by Charlie Hunnam, is a trained pilot who has experience in the cockpit of a Jaeger while Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi, is a trainee who has had some history with the Kaiju in a different way. Unlike most big summer action movies, these characters are actually likable. They’re not just meatheads piloting mechs, but instead they have some memorable moments that set them apart from most characters of their type. Idris Elba however might have had the best performance as commander Stacker Pentecost.
In terms of story, Guillermo del Toro takes a lot of creative liberties. The science behind the movie’s events is a little silly and sometimes the logic wasn’t always there. The nature of the movie’s events doesn’t warrant realism but they could have maybe tried a little harder to make it seem more believable. It also doesn’t help that the two scientists, Dr. Newton Geiszler and Gottlieb, played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman respectively, are silly and don’t really seem qualified for their jobs. Despite the film’s questionable logic, the film still manages to stand it’s ground. The science is goofy and laughable, but that didn’t detract from the overall experience.
What makes this movie a standout is the visual experience that it offers. The CGI that the movie employs is fantastic. It’s colorful, explosive, and just really well done. The battles between mech and sea monster were epic in scope and feel. Buildings crumble in their wake as the gargantuan giants swing punches and throw each other around. It was delicious candy for the eyes. As I was watching the movie I couldn’t help but think about the kind of work that went into bringing the movie to life through its CGI. The visual effects department put in a lot of work into the movie and it really shows. With a movie like this, I have to give a shout out to the visual effects crew behind the movie, because Pacific Rim wouldn’t be the movie it is without its special effects.
Pacific Rim is a movie that deserves a lot more praise. It was underrated when it was initially released during the summer of 2013, but it could be considered one of 2013’s biggest surprises. Sometimes movies as big as this fall pretty hard under the weight of their own size but this film manages to stay on its feet. It’s full of great characters and memorable action set pieces. My younger self would have probably been obsessed with Pacific Rim and its undeniably monumental action, but it’s safe to say that even though I am older now, I still really like this movie.