Ever once in a great while I get the feeling that movie producers green lit a project just for me, and Pacific Rim is one of those movies. For those of you that do not know Pacific Rim is the giant robot versus giant monster movie came out this weekend. It is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).
A giant rift in space has opened up and monsters called Kaiju are coming through, and to destroy the Kaiju the world has created Jaegers, giant robots to destroy the threat. The Jaegers take so much brain power to control that it needs two pilots to join their minds using ‘the rift’ that lets you see all the other pilots memories. Usually family are used due to them already understanding each other. The movie follows one such pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), and his rookie co-pilot Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) as they try to beat the crap out of the Kaiju that want to destroy our world.
This film features a lot of action movie tropes, the washed up pilot that needs to pull it together, the young dangerous rookie that could be something special, the jerky top pilot that worries the other guys are going to get him killed, and many more. Usually that would be a downside for me, but del Toro uses them with such glee that it is more of an homage then lazy writing. Because he actually does tell a decent story through it all with some good characterization, but he knows we were all in that theater for one thing, and that is some awesome monster battles, and this movie does not disappoint.
The monsters in this movie are massive, and while they all look similar in style, each one is different and has its own look, and just like the story the Kaiju are like a greatest hits of giant monsters, you will find all of your favorite city destroyers in there. The robots are treated with equal love. Each one seems like it was picked out of my favorite Japanese cartoon and delivered on screen, and when they clash, real movie magic happens. This is a movie that needs to be seen in theaters.
The way he shot the movie was brilliant. The scenes with humans are all nicely framed, but when he shoots the monsters or robots you get the feeling that he is craning the camera up, but he still can’t get tham all in one shot. They are just too big. It was the first time in a long time I wanted a bigger screen to try and fit these beast in, and yes I know that is not how movies work, but tell that to your brain as you watch the movie, or don’t, your brain is having a great vacation and it is best not to bother him.
The actors know their jobs. This movie is not about them, but del Toro gives them fun lines, and good scenes to work in. Ron Perlman, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman add the comedy as Hannibal Chau, Dr. Newton Geizler, and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb respectively. They are great and do not waste their screen time. Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost is as commanding as always, and I would following him to battle giant monsters any day. Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam do a good job leading this picture.
This movie is straight up fun, and it was designed to be. It is refreshing not have some gritty down to earth story that the new Batman movies told all blockbusters that they need to be now. No, this movie is an expression of joy, and it was Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to my thirteen year old self, and guess what del Toro, he loves you too!