Review: ‘Pacific Rim’

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, TransformersPower RangersGundam, 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.

 

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26 Replies to “Review: ‘Pacific Rim’”

  1. Sounds good. I haven’t heard much about it, and I’m too poor to afford cinema tickets these days, but will try and catch it when it’s out on DVD.

  2. this is not by any chance an original story. It was lovingly ripped of Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 09 “Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!”. But hey, at least they won’t need to buy the rights anymore… I can’t wait to see how they will rip off Akira… “Doom choppers”?

    • You say “ripped off” but I say “inspired.” Pacific Rim has its own flair and mythology, even if it is all heavily influenced.

    • The NGE Rebuild features a dual pilot system in a single EVA in the third movie. Though it would have come out too late for any direct influence, someone was clearly thinking the same thing.

  3. Because if there is one thing about this movie that really sells it, it’s the fight scenes

    I liked this movie a lot. I believe it was on the film’s IMDB board where someone noted that the action scenes were like live-action anime.

  4. I saw this movie last week, with low expectations, but ended up really enjoying it. I agree that the fight scenes were great to watch. The only thing that bugged me about the fighting was not using the weaponry (like swords) until the last possible second, albeit the fighting time would be cut down dramatically!

    • The sword thing did drive me crazy. Could have really come in handy during the first 1.5 hours -_-

  5. how come no one have noticed Pacific Rim is the Hollywood-movie translation of the Japanese cartoon Evangelion ?

    • On the contrary, I’ve seen many who have pointed this out.

  6. Maybe I’ll go and see that movie. I didn’t know what they were trying to do, make a movie like transformers? Thank you for this post!

  7. Man, it’s a good thing y’all realized that this movie is a “ripoff” of an episode of some obscure anime show. If you hadn’t warned the world of this literally tens of people might have been disappointed when they went to see it. Good on ya.

  8. I agree with all the points you made. I think the only place we differ is the amount of importance placed on the acting and dialogue. I expected better of it. I do agree that the action, set design and creature were fantastic!

  9. I think that they did a great job on Pacific Rim. I also believe that, after watching Neon Genesis Evangelion recently, the two are very similar, but they also have HUGE differences. Some likenesses are that most of the time, the Kaiju (Angels in NGE) come out of the oceans. Also, the synchronization idea is the same, but with a single pilot in NGE syncing to the Evangelions themselves, where in PR two pilots sync to each other. I, personally would like to see a NGE movie that has special effects similar to PR, but with the story and action of NGE. If they made a movie series for Neon Genesis, that would be great. I think quite a few fans would enjoy it.

  10. Sorry, but I’ve watched this movie… & was a little disappointed.. It started to drag eventually!!

  11. Its actually more of a rip off a Ultraman, which I dont think is commonly watched in America or Canada. But its huge in Japan and SEA. In fact the term Kaiju comes from the series. There are also multiple styles of monster (a pterodactyl sptting acid is in there, and a monster called leatherback is also in it). The kaijus were also clones and sent into our dimension to conquer earth (except in the Ultraman series they seem to only attack Asia, HK once and the rest is all over Japan.)

    In fact NGE is a rip off of Ultraman.

  12. i like or is momen

     like
    
  13. i like it
    is momen

     like
    

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