Review – ‘Pacific Rim’ (2013)

PACIFIC RIM

‘PACIFIC RIM’

Directed by – Guillermo Del Toro

Written by – Travis Beacham & Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro delivers exactly what he promised, nothing more, nothing less. What you see is what you get – Fantastic visuals, edge-of-your-seat action and an excellent use of 3D (I watched it at the IMAX). But what really pulled me in was the treatment of the film. Anyone who has grown up watching Japanese anime will know what I’m talking about when they see it. And even if you haven’t, there’s enough bang for your buck to give you a good 2 hours worth of entertainment.

Firstly, the Japanese influence is blatantly obvious. The fact that it has Giant Robots vs Giant Alien Monsters is enough by itself, not to mention the names – Kaiju (Strange Creature). But in addition every little detail, from the dialogue delivery to the shot compositions, the production design and Ramin Djwadi’s pumping score, makes you feel like you’re watching an anime adaptation. It is pure nostalgia on that front.

Now some folk might find that this film treads similar territory to ‘Transformers,’ but unlike Michael Bay, Guillermo Del Toro gives us characters worth caring about. There may not be a great amount of character depth or development, nor an ‘awards-worthy’ level of performances, but there’s just enough substance there to make them likable and easy to root for.

But most importantly, Del Toro has created an enemy of gargantuan proportions. The Kaiju are incredibly formidable, not only large in size but also relentless and capable of adapting. Unlike your average ‘creature feature,’ the Kaiju manages to instill in us a sense of hopelessness that keeps us invested in the story.

 

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Although none of the performances are really noteworthy enough, I feel I should give some credit to the ultra-cool Idris Elba, who as usual is solid and stoic. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi’s performances are adequate enough but they are easily overshadowed by Jaegers (robots) who are the real stars of the film. Both their characters are given a compelling backstories that are inadequately explored. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman have a fun dynamic going on with each other, but the pair serve as nothing more than comic relief, with Day’s portrayal as a Kaiju specialist being incredibly over-the-top. Ron Perlman looks great as Hannibal Chau and feels like he’s stepped right out of a Miyazaki film in funny albeit pointless cameo.

The action sequences are again, constructed with a delightful Japanese flair (The robots have swords!). Although incoherent in a few instances, the choreography is, for the most part, enthralling to watch. However, the sound mixing is patchy in several parts, where the effects drown out the dialogue.

Perhaps my biggest issue with the film is the amount of exposition thrust upon us at the start through voice over narration. There is a lot of information to take in regarding the history of the war against the aliens, the introduction of the protagonist and the inciting incident that throws him for a loop. Add to that the technology of the Jaegers and origins of the Kaiju and you have a lot to process within the first 15 minutes. So watch out for that.

Overall, Pacific Rim is pure guilty pleasure and not a thinker’s film by any means, so Do Not expect to be intellectually stimulated. But in an era when mindless entertainment is created by mindless filmmaking (yes Bollywood, you especially), Del Toro has stepped up above the mess with a film that is intelligently crafted to be fun and utterly cool!

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~ by vishaaldesai on October 11, 2013.

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