Has this summer’s box office apocalypse been canceled by Pacific Rim?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist that lead in. My favorite line in this entire movie is easily Idris Elba’s meme-worthy, “WE ARE CANCELLING THE APOCALYPSE!” line that I can just imagine being plastered on Reddit with Twinkie references.
Anyways, here is my spoiler-free review of Pacific Rim, where I tell you whether or not I think this movie is worth watching.
Explaining the premise of this movie is actually a bit tricky, as the movie actually has two sets of exposition in the first half-hour, but all you really need to know is that this movie is about robots and monsters duking it out in hotspots across the Pacific ocean, including Alaska, California, Australia, and eventually, China to name a few.
Years ago, a “breach” appeared in the Pacific ocean, releasing Godzilla-esque monsters into our world named Kaiju. To properly combat this threat, the world unites its resources and develops “monsters of their own.” They create giant robot suits named Jaegers that are powered by dual pilots.
I don’t really want to get into specific plot details, since part of the movie’s fun is experiencing it’s lengthy world-building for yourself. If you watch the trailers, you’ll notice that the plot doesn’t allude to much, but that’s for good reason.
Here’s the one sentence that might suit your needs: After years of a losing war with the relentless Kaiju, the world’s last 4 Jaeger teams from China, Russia, Australia, and America team up for one last, all-or-nothing mission to eliminate them permanently.
The movie stars Idris Elba as the “Marshall,” a ranking military official who oversees the last, join-Jaeger mission and Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh, a veteran Jaeger pilot suffering from the loss of his co-pilot. Raleigh is joined by Mako, played by Rinko Kikuchi, with whom he needs to train as his new co-pilot for his fearsome Jaeger, “Gypsy Danger.”
The characters are flat-out fun. I don’t want to use up time explaining them all, but one really big piece of praise I have for this screenplay is how creative it was with developing relationships between characters. See, each Jaeger has to be piloted by two people, because driving requires a neural link. One person can’t handle it on their own, so two people have to work together. The more seamless the bond between two people, the better they are piloting the Jaeger and fighting Kaiju. It’s a beautifully simple way to create drama that doesn’t feel manufactured.
Pacific Rim is fun because it is an original story (for once) that is influenced by fun themes movies rarely touch these days. This movie is basically a combination of Godzilla, Transformers, Power Rangers, Gundam, and Big O, just to name a few. The combination of American and Asian themes is a beautiful recipe for blockbuster success.
Because if there is one thing about this movie that really sells it, it’s the fight scenes. Yes, the acting and some dialogue is pretty weak at times, and the movie is definitely aware of it’s cheesy take on the apocalypse. But that is all insignificant when you’re watching these robots take on the powerful and diverse Kaiju.
And it’s not just the special effects, which are fantastic by the way. The choreography is extremely well-done, as no one fight in the movie is similar. Each Jaeger has a different “personality” and fighting style if you will, and each Kaiju has different powers and characteristics.
One of my favorite Kaiju was an acid-spitting pterodactyl. Read that sentence again.
Is this movie worth watching? Absolutely. It’s an original, action-packed, monster movie that proves the best movies can be inspired without having to be recycled. Hopefully, this is the harbinger for a new decade of new source material we will get to enjoy for years to come.