Friday, July 12, 2013

To See Or Not To See: Pacific Rim

My husband and I headed out for an early showing of Pacific Rim last night with pretty high expectations. We've been hearing about this movie for ages and it's a Guillermo del Toro project (you know, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, etc).

We got there a bit early - first ones in the theater - and I immediately started to worry. See, I have beef with Hollywood of late. For the past couple of weeks I've been hearing ominous predictions of Pacific Rim's inevitable demise. Earlier this week I even came across dismal predicted opening earnings. It's all kind of pissing me off.

Pacific Rim is a big budget movie packed with special effects. It's a movie I've been looking forward to for a very long time. To hear that Hollywood is ready to write it off as a failure before it even hits screens is aggravating, not to mention possibly influencing of potential audiences.

In a time when every other movie that's released is a remake or reboot or sequel (the majority of which should never have been made due to a number of factors: Why remake a movie that's only a few years old? Why remake a movie into crap? Why change the genre of the original in the first place? Why bother with a remake if it's got a name big enough to carry a generic pic of the same genre? I can go one and on.) it's discouraging - to say the least - to hear that no one expects Pacific Rim to be a hit. Personally, I'll grab at just about any opportunity to see a new movie that's an original concept and that's exactly where I'm going to spend my money. If my options become limited to Grown Ups 2 and the remake of (pick your favorite movie growing up), I'm probably not going to spend my money at the movies anymore.

Anyway, the theater never did get packed to the gills but it was a decent showing and it was playing on two other screens at the same time (in 3d and on IMAX, no less).

So, Pacific Rim (no spoilers unless you want to go in with NO knowledge of the movie):

The movie begins after the kaiju have made their appearance and the jaeger are up and running as our defense. There's a good bit of exposition explaining this in the beginning (and in the trailer linked above) so I won't go into it. The world is getting pretty desperate as these giant creatures have wrecked every defense we have against them. Charlie Hunnam plays Raleigh, a talented jaeger pilot who's been off the scene for a while thanks to events at the beginning of the film. He's approached by his old commanding officer, Stacker Pentecost (the excellent Idris Elba) to participate in a new project involving the jaegers. Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) has been helping to restore the old jaegers, Raleigh's in particular. And then you have Newton and Gottlieb (Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Charlie Day and Torchwood's Burn Gorman) the science team trying to unravel the mysteries of the kaiju. They add a bit of levity to the movie and prove to be an interesting aspect of Stacker's project as a whole. 

The effects are freaking awesome! I mean, really freaking awesome! But that's never enough to carry a movie in my opinion. Sure it's looks nice and shiny, but is there a story? In this case, yes. Hubs felt there could have been a bit more going on story wise but I thought that the just over two hour film struck a good balance between effects/action and actual story development/plot.

There is a bit of a comic book element to the movie - particularly where Newton and Gottlieb (and the necessary Ron Perlman inclusion) are concerned but that's pretty typical of del Toro's style as a whole in my opinion and wasn't unexpected. At any rate, I never felt like it made the movie overly comical or detracted from the entire experience as whole anyway, so again - a good balance.

Pacific Rim is a definite see in my opinion - if you couldn't tell. It's kind of the perfect summer blockbuster but certainly one with a bit more going on than the usual popcorn fare.

Rating: 5/5 (or in other words, I'll be buying it when it comes out!)

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