Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pacific Rim movie review

Having grown up on a healthy diet of Ultraman, Godzilla, Power Rangers, Macross and Gundam, Pacific Rim was like a dream come true to me. Anything involving Mecha and giant monsters and I am there. Think Gundam versus Godzilla in a world in the distant future where mankind is on the brink of extinction.

Giant monsters, dubbed Kaiju (in tribute to the Japan monsters) have emerged from a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and have laid waste to the major cities in the world, killing millions and forcing countries to unite against a common enemy. To face this threat, the Jaeger Program was initiated under the command of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and Gundam-like robots called Jaegers (German for hunters) were built.

(L-R) Striker Eureka, Gipsy Danger, Cherno Alpha.
 The Jaegers can only be operated by two pilots through a mental connection that forces them to share their memories in order for them to work in unison. Despite their best efforts, the Jaegers began to fall under the relentless assaults of the Kaiju with one such battle ending the life of Raleigh Becker's brother and putting their Jaeger, Gipsy Danger out of commission. Raleigh (Charlie Humnam) goes off the radar for several years only to called back into action and partnered with an inexperienced new pilot, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to pilot Gipsy Danger once more in order to make one final stand.

For a movie tackling the difficult feat of combining giant mechas combating giant monster, it certainly did its job in delivering a near-perfect blockbuster. My hats off to Guillermo del Toro. The graphic was gorgeous and offered an impressive realistic depiction of the monsters and robots as well as the nearly trashed cities.  Some fighting scenes takes places at night in the sea, making it a bit hard to follow but once the scene transited into a bright and colourful city, you can fully appreciate the detailing of the fighting behemoths of machine and beast. The fighting scenes are spaced out nicely throughout the movie with plenty of gripping moments.

Kaiju Stattern
Mid-air combat.
Pacific Rim has found a way to insert human interaction and emotions amidst the giants and we are given a sense that everyone in the Jaeger Program has a burden to bear with a personal loss to avenge. The Drift concept where the pilots are mentally connected allows us to view the character's background through action and without the typical narration while witnessing the crippling results of those memories at the same time. In one particular scene, Mako flashed back to her tragic childhood where a younger her was played by an adorable but very talented child actress Mana Ashida who held her own in a movie of massive giants.

Mana Ashida
 Characters were portrayed by a fairly unknown cast with the exception of a few veterans which allowed the audience to enjoy the movie without over-analyzing their acting.

Raleigh and Mako.
Comic relief could be found in the form of two constantly bickering scientists  Dr. Newton Geizle (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman). Both are at odds over how to stop the Kaiju due to their different approaches to science. However, they play a pivotal role to the plot and quite possibly to a sequel.

Would I watch it again?
Yes and soon! Pacific Rim is the kind of movie that should be watched in the cinemas in order to fully experience the massive robots and monsters fill up the big screen and the battle roars blast from their speakers. I give this movie two thumbs up. If you are going to watch it, catch the mid-credit scene about a minute into the credits.

'Open wide and say aaaaaaah'

1 comment: