His Pacific Rim Review:
Last year at Comic-Con was my first experience with Pacific Rim. Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, was promised to be a big spectacle full of giant robots fighting giant monsters. All of the previews and trailers seen certainly hyped this aspect of the movie up. What was not immediately apparent was the character development or the details of the story. Unfortunately, these are lacking severely. But let’s get into the movie review for Pacific Rim.
Pacific Rim stars relatively unknown actors, with the biggest one probably being Charlie Hunnam, known for his role in Sons of Anarchy. Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is also in the film as a crazy scientist named Geizler.
The movie begins with a history lesson, providing us where these “monsters” came from. They are referred to as Kaiju. Our main character narrates this montage, explaining where they come from, and the boon in technology needed to develop a response to these Kaiju, given their destructive power.
As the movie progresses, we learn that the soldiers manning the Jaegers (the term for the massive robots) have become rather famous, including the main character.
Fast forwarding 5 years, the main character has fallen out of the Jaeger program due to a personal loss while in the fight, and has become a construction worker for the “paper” walls meant to keep the Kaiju out. Meanwhile, the Kaiju have become more and more powerful, making the government decide to only rely on this wall being built to defend Earth from the Kaiju. The government begins to shut down the Jaeger program, moving the remaining Jaegers to Singapore until the shut down is complete.
The leader of the Jaeger program, Stacker Pentecost decides to begin revitalizing the Jaeger program, bringing our main protagonist out of retirement. We soon find out that Pentecost has a plan to end the Kaiju war, as he has been working with a team of 2 (really annoying) scientists. Of course these scientists can’t come to a consensus on how they can end the war, but at a whim, Pentecost thinks that throwing a nuke down the portal will dothe trick.
Meanwhile, the Kaiju attacks have become more frequent, and have destroyed the wall that the government thought would hold in a matter of seconds. Geizler has decided to attempt to “mind-meld” with the Kaiju to see how fun that would be, and our main character Becket goes through the motions of being the “new guy”, dealing with romantic and social problems .
The movie continues to escalate the violence, with bigger and stronger Kaiju, and even smarter Kaiju, equipping one with a biological EMP. But we have all seen this movie before from here on out. In fact, several people have made an excellent comparison for this movie—it is Independence Day meets Top Gun.
I will start with the pluses of this movie. The CGI in this movie is superb. It is a very “pretty” film. Each Kaiju is uniquely made, and realistic looking. The Jaegers also have been stylized very well, in a way matching the country the drivers hail from. The action scenes and fight scenes are excellent, if not over the top. A couple characters are likable, such as the Commander, and the Australian guy’s father, Herc Hansen.
Now for the hate, which I expect to be the divisive aspect of this movie. First is the majority of the bad acting in this film. Other than the two characters mentioned above, I could not find a compelling reason to like any other character. The characters all felt two dimensional, and there isn’t a moment I really felt the need for a character to succeed. In fact, any emotional scene I was hoping a Jaeger or Kaiju would come tearing in to have a little fun again.
The next piece of hate for this movie is probably my most controversial point of the film. Humanity has come thousands of years, developing not only better and better technology, but better and better military strategies. Humans use creativity to solve problems. We aren’t apes that simply us brute force to solve our problems. And what does Pacific Rim feel is the best hope for humanity against the Kaiju? Making big robots, so we can turn major metropolitan areas into boxing matches for the two. I cannot imagine how many towns were leveled because these robots and monsters were duking it out Rocky style.
Now this is not to say that I do not think the Jaegers could work, and that I am just a Jaeger-hater. However, I would think that humanity would have other methods of technology to handle these creatures. Perhaps developing a biological weapon against them? Aircrafts used for flanking maneuvers, and to draw the Kaiju away from the cities? Armor-piercing rounds that can penetrate their hides? Please give me SOMETHING else that would assist the Jaegers, rather than simply having two building-sized boxers going at it with each other. One final nit-pick I have with the film—why on Earth would a Jaeger pick up shipping containers to use as almost a brass-knuckle? I have to think the Jaeger’s fists are MUCH more harder than a shipping container would be. But anyway, I digress.
Overall I have to give this film a 6 out of 10. It was really fun watching the fight scenes between the Kaiju and Jaegers. But the story is something we have seen before, just on a grander scale, but poorly executed. Almost every human interaction in the film was terrible, and some decisions they made left me scratching my head. I had high hopes for this film, but was severely let down.
Her Pacific Rim Review:
Pacific Rim is a sci-fi action film directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who is known for directing films such as Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. The film had been hyped up quite a bit among the nerd community, with Del Toro making an appearance and showcasing footage at both San Diego Comic-Con 2012 and Wondercon Anaheim 2013. If not for these two appearances at which we were in attendance, I’m not so sure I would have taken much notice of the film. But what I saw at these two conventions looked pretty awesome, so I was definitely intrigued and looking forward to the movie.
The film is not based on any specific source material, although there was a prequel graphic novel entitled Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero that was released about a month prior to the film’s release. However, the film does draw upon the Japanese monster, or “Kaiju” genre movies.
Pacific Rim starts out by giving us an explanation of the giant alien monsters, known as “Kaiju,” that started showing up out of nowhere, and then suddenly started showing up more and more often. To combat the Kaiju, we made giant robots called “Jaegers,” which are so large that they have to be piloted by two people, whose minds have to link together to do so. I felt that the introduction did a good job of catching us up on the current state of affairs, and I felt immersed in this world where the Jaeger pilots had attained celebrity status.
One of these famous Jaeger pilots is Raleigh Becket, played by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), who goes out on a routine Kaiju call with his partner, his brother, but something goes wrong, and Becket ends up retiring and finds work as a construction worker, building the Wall which is supposed to keep the Kaiju from attacking the coastal cities of Earth. The Jaeger Commander, Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba (Prometheus), soon learns that the Jaeger program will be discontinued so that efforts can be concentrated into building the Wall. Pentecost has a couple of scientists working for him, Geizler and Gottlieb, played by Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Burn Gorman (Torchwood), respectively, who think they might have a plan to stop the Kaiju. The Commander therefore tracks down Becket, and convinces him to come back. The only problem is that he needs to find a co-pilot who is in sync with his way of thinking and fighting. He soon finds a partner in an unlikely person. But they have to learn to work together quickly, as more and more Kaiju appear and the Jaeger numbers dwindle, and we get to see a lot of pretty awesome giant monster vs. giant robot fights.
As for my thoughts on the movie, let’s start with the positive. The film is visually stunning, especially in IMAX 3D. We get to see each and every detail of the humongous Jaegers, and they look magnificent. Even the CGI Kaiju look pretty great. The Jaeger vs. Kaiju fights are really fun to watch, both from the exterior, where we see the actual fighting going on, as well as the interior, where we see the “robot jockeys” working together to control the Jaegers.
Unfortunately, some of the fighting is a bit unrealistic (yes, even for a sci-fi movie which is unrealistic in itself), and there are certain weapons or things that happen that are a little too convenient or inconvenient, as the case may be.
Additionally, some of the acting was very distracting, so over-the-top that it completely took me out of the movie and literally made me cringe. The biggest culprits were Rinko Kikuchi, who plays Mako Mori, who becomes a Jaeger pilot, and the two scientists. Mako is portrayed as this humble, innocent young girl, but she takes it way over the top to the point of being annoying. I mean, I can appreciate the fact that in addition to that, she also is a strong woman, and expert fighter who can beat out all the men vying for the same position that she wants, but fight scenes do not make up for the acting which is supposed to carry the storyline of the film. As for the two scientists, I can understand that they were supposed to be the comic relief in the film, but they were mostly just annoying to me, and I found it disconcerting how much they disagreed and fought with each other. I would be worried if the fate of the world really was in their hands. I also felt like the casting was way off for Gottlieb, who seems like he’s supposed to be an old man, whereas the actor who plays him is only 38. In any case, both were very annoying and over-the-top. I can appreciate that they both might be a little eccentric, but this was a bit much.
Lastly, the ending was just a little too Independence Day for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Independence Day, but when other films seem to have very similar endings (Oblivion), it starts to become a little bothersome. Even the Commander’s pep talk speech near the end was reminiscent of the President’s speech before the big fight at the end of ID4: “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” versus “Today we are canceling the apocalypse!” said in very much the same way. But, maybe it’s just me that noticed that and was bothered by it.
I was also disappointed by the fact that the Chinese Jaeger was supposed to be piloted by three pilots rather than two, but we never got to see how that worked.
Overall, the film was fun, but suffered from poor acting and unrealistic scenarios, especially considering that the Jaegers were the only thing that mankind was relying on to save itself. Oh, and if you’re going to (***SPOILER ALERT***) introduce an obviously strong romantic interest, at least give it a decent payoff. The ending was a perfect opportunity for the two to kiss, but instead, just a lame hug. Really?? (***End Spoiler Alert.***)
My Rating: 6.5/10