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Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Pacific_Rim_FilmPoster.jpegSummers are filled with blockbuster movies. And as often happens with those blockbusters, spectacle trumps story and acting. Often this irritates me, as I think we’ve seen there is a way to do big blockbusters with both of those things still present. There are times though when I’m more than happy to sit back and enjoy the over the top imagery on the big screen. Pacific Rim is one of those times and movies.

The plot is simple, thin and something I’d expect to find on SyFy. Giant monsters come through a dimensional rift at the bottom of the ocean. We’re talking big monsters, like Godzilla big. To fight the monsters, the world bands together to create robots as big as the monsters. Basically, this is big fucking robots versus big fucking monsters. If you expect anything more than that, you’ll be disappointed.

This movie is all visual feast, something director Guillermo del Toro is known for and excels at. You know when his name is attached, the movie will look amazing. But this is a film that’s a celebration go what’s come before as well, steeped in Japanese pop-culture fun.

The monsters are called Kaiju, a Japanese term and the first obvious nod to what’s come before. Those monsters are given names like Knifehead, Slattern, Raiju, Scunner and Leatherback. Sadly there’s no “mega” or “mecha,” that’s saved for the robots. Those are called Jaegers a German term and they have names like Gipsy Danger, Striker Eureka, Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoon and Coyote Tango. Those sound like something out of Battletech, MechWarrior or even Voltron or Robotech. The influence was so strong, I almost felt like I was watching test footage for a future live action film of any of those properties.

If your a fan of those giant monster movies or anything involving giant robots you’ll dig this movie. That’s the draw, and that’s all there is. I could talk about the actors and acting, but it’s dog shit, as I expected. There’s a few known names, but generally the delivery of lines and acting is laughable. Luckily del Toro is smart enough to know that’s not what we want to see. Just give me the giant robots.

It’s funny, the direction was ok, the acting sub-par, the plot thin as can be, but I left the theater wanting to watch the movie again. Even the 3D was good adding a depth to the destruction that didn’t cause me to flinch or want to reach out and grab something, but instead added a layer for the snow, water and debris to fall. This was a summer popcorn movie I knew I was going to turn my brain off for and thoroughly enjoyed because of that. The whole was stronger than any individual part.

I went in to the theater wanting one thing, giant robots fighting giant monsters. Nothing more and nothing less. The movie delivered exactly what I wanted and exactly what I expected. And for that, it’s a success for me and tons of entertainment.

Direction: 7 Acting: 5 Plot: 5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: See in Theater