Evil Movie Reviews: Pacific Rim
Happy Saturday Evil Geeks! If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been waiting all summer long for a certain blockbuster to hit. Sure it’s been a pretty geeky Summer at the box office with Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 hitting, but as much as I love comics and comic movies, there’s been one movie that I just have absolutely been dying to see and that is Guillermo Del Toro’s giant monsters battling giant robots epic Pacific Rim. As a kid growing up not too far enough away from New York City that we didn’t get their channels, I spent a lot of Saturday afternoon’s plopped down in front of the TV watching old Godzilla and Gamera flicks on WPIX’s Morgus Movie. Every show was hosted by the mad scientist Dr. Morgus, who would introduce the movies and do skits set in his laboratory for commercial bumpers. I was raised on a steady diet of 60’s and 70’s monster movies because of that show and to this day I still have a soft spot in my movie loving heart for cheesy movies featuring dudes in rubber suits fighting each other. So how does Pacific Rim hold up to someone who’s a lover of Godzilla classics? Read on and find out!
I’ve been waiting for this movie like a kid waits for Christmas, ever sine last Fall when Big Evil and I saw Guillermo Del Toro and Travis Beacham, the writer of Pacific Rim, get interviewed at a taping of the Nerdist podcast during the 2012 New York Comic Con. Del Toro and Beacham spent the entire night talking up Pacific Rim even though it still wouldn’t be out for almost another year. They spoke at great lengths on the universe they’d created for the movie, writing a thousand page “bible” for the movie that detailed the entire backstory of the Kaiju invasion. In case you’re wondering what in the blazes a Kaiju is, it’s the Japanese translation for “GIANT F@#$ING MONSTER!!!!”, as used in sentences like “Sweet merciful crap, there’s a “Kaiju” stomping its way through my city right now!” The writer / director team 100 percent sold me on this movie that night and I’ve been eagerly anticipating it since, so my expectations were super high. The trailers and promos all looked amazing in the lead up to the release, so my fingers were crossed hoping that the film would deliver.
The story revolves around a dimensional rift that opens up deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, which begins spitting out giant beasts like a slot machine that’s just put up triple sevens. The first monster surfaces in, then promptly destroys the city of San Francisco before finally being taken down by the Army six days later. The moment you see the first Kaiju, all your worries about this movie sucking instantly vanish. It’s a startling spectacle that strikes a fear in you that still can only be fraction of what it would feel like to see a Kaiju in real life. Six months after the San Francisco incident, another Kaiju attacks the Philipines, then slowly more and more start rising from the depths of the ocean. In response to the seemingly unending parade of Kaiju coming out of the Pacific, the world finally unites as one to pool their resources and start the Jaeger program. Jaeger is German for Hunter, but it’s also Del Toro-ese for “Cool Big-Ass Robot”. The towering Jaegers begin battling the Kaiju whenever they appear and for the first time since the monsters showed up, the humans are winning the war against the behemoths. The story starts off in the heyday of the Jaeger program, following the Becket Brothers, pilots of the Jaeger known as Gypsy Danger. Gypsy is basically the Capt. America of the world’s fleet of giant robots. It seems the Kaiju are increasing in size as time goes on and one day when the Brothers take Gypsy out to lay a beat down on the biggest Kaiju ever recorded at the time, Knifehead, things go horribly awry. If you weren’t sold on the movie after seeing your first Kaiju, the battle between Gypsy and Knifehead in the icy waters off of Alaska surely will be enough to leave breathless. The films incredible FX are on full display for the first time and the action sequence is unparallelled in scope as the two hulking goliaths battle out in the middle of the ocean. I couldn’t help but sit in slack-jawed awe as the clash played out on-screen. After the devastating battle, the story shifts five years into the future; a time when the Jaeger program is fading in both effectiveness and popularity. The Kaiju are getting increasingly larger and more ferocious, as well as coming at an ever-increasing rate. The funding for the Jaeger program is being cut in favor of building a gargantuan, Kaiju-Proof seawall from Alaska to California, but Marshall Stacker Pentacost (played by TV and movie badass Idris Elba), is arguing for continuing the program long enough for one final assault on the dimensional rift where the Kaiju originate from. Being denied the funding to continue the program, Pentacost goes rogue and organizes the assault anyway. Charlie Hunan is Raleigh Becket, who is called out of retirement by Pentacost to once again pilot Gypsy Danger in the last-ditch attack against the rift. Also in the film is It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Horrible Bosses star Charlie Day as Dr. Newt Gieszler a scientist specializing in Kaiju biology, who has some theories on what the Kaiju’s true intentions are.
I saw Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D and if you have to option to do so also, I would highly, highly recommend it. It’s worth the extra price to see the battle scenes between the colossi, whose scale are beyond epic, fought out in the large format. The entire theater shakes under the weight of the giant’s punches and rumbles as cities fall in the wake of fight. Jaeger’s get tossed through bulidings, Kaiju get body slammed Andre the Giant style as the humans battle the invaders. It’s all very reminiscent of one of my favorite cartoons ever,Voltron, and I am sooooooooo OK with that. We need more Voltron in all of our lives damn it! Maybe Pacific Rim will pave the way for such a thing to happen. To compare it to a Godzilla movie would be like comparing Jack Daniels to a wine cooler. It’s everything you wished a Godzilla movie could be, if only for the fight sequences alone. As much as I’ve talked up the effects, the story is really good too. The rest of the movie follows Raleigh as he returns to the Jaeger program and culminates with the aforementioned final assault on the dimensional rift from whence the Kaiju spring.
There were several times during the fight scenes when the audience I saw the movie with erupted into applause as a Jaeger would turn the tide in a crucial moment of the battle, because it’s such a fun film to watch. It’s a big budget summer movie, but with Del Toro at the helm it ensures that it’s not just a pretty but hollow shell of a film, with no soul to it. You’ll want to cheer for the Jaegers, to which I give you my full approval to do so, but damn do those Kaiju look cool too! If you’re an action and/or a sci-fi fan, then this film is a must for your summer theater viewing schedule. No doubts at all, this one gets a huge thumbs up from me. Thanks for checking out Evil Movie Reviews, see you soon Evil Geeks!
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