Considering the amounts of entertaining movies Hollywood releases annually, sometimes I doubt that in a decade it will be possible to amaze cinema audiences; discerning viewers must have seen almost anything the modern entertainment industry could offer them. However, Guillermo del Toro’s recent movie “Pacific Rim” is an outstanding exemplar even by modern standards, and by many parameters, it can be characterized as great. “Pacific Rim” is indeed worth watching—especially if you are a fan of titanic battle robots and even bigger monsters inspired by ancient Godzilla movies.
For me, “Pacific Rim” looked like an interpretation of a famous Japanese anime series: “Evangelion”; the idea of huge manned robots fighting with alien monsters is almost classical for Japanese pop-culture. However, watching a highly technological movie in 3D provides a totally different experience than drawn cartoons; besides, “Pacific Rim” has its own scenario, so besides the aforementioned robot-monster opposition, these two franchises have little in common.
“Pacific Rim” tells a story of a tragic and intense battle between humanity and gigantic sea monsters—the Kaijiu, who come to our world through an underwater portal to another dimension. Kaijiu devastate coastal regions of Earth; to deal with the problem, humanity creates huge human-piloted robots: Jaegers. At first, this new weapon seems to increase the chances of humanity to survive, but soon Kaijiu evolve and the situation becomes even more dangerous; the Jaegers Program is stopped in favor of a coastal wall, which is expected to stop the monsters. However, the wall lasts no longer than one assault, and the Jaeger Program is rehabilitated. After a number of battles and defeats, a team of Jaeger pilots manages to destroy the portal and cut the link between another dimension and our world, thus saving the planet.
This is the shortest possible paraphrase of the plot; I knowingly mentioned anime, since the movie, as well as many anime series, have a perplexing scenario that would be rather difficult to retell in full. The screenplay does not let viewers get bored; as soon as the audience starts to feel tired of numerous explanations and background specifications, epic fights between Jaegers and Kaijiu come into play and defuse the situation. The number of visual effects and the quality of computer graphics provide a stunning experience, especially if you watch “Pacific Rim” in the cinema: metal colossuses and skyscraper-tall monsters are not something you see every day.
I do not know whether it is good or bad for a movie like “Pacific Rim,” but the director seemed to completely forget about the personalities of the main characters behind the Jaeger-Kaijiu opposition. The specifics of manning a Jaeger implies the temporary merging of the minds of its two pilots into one; this gives a unique chance to show the inner world of almost any character in the movie, convey their emotions to the audience, make them credible and almost real. But unfortunately, “Pacific Rim” is full of random people who walk around, fight, and announce words; most likely, Guillermo del Toro had put all his passion in Kaijiu. I know it is not a strange claim for an action movie where all emotions are focused on gigantic robots, but formulaic characters seem to have been inserted in the movie just for show. Everything else in the movie—soundtrack, humor, design of monsters and robots, cinematography—is spectacular.
“Pacific Rim” is an epic movie about gigantic robots and even bigger monsters. Remember all the comic books and cartoons you read and watched in your adolescence, all the stories about saving the world from alien monsters? “Pacific Rim” will most likely be a perfect embodiment of them all. Since this is rather an action film than science fiction, one should not expect any realism in it; “Pacific Rim” is all about entertainment, and it accomplishes its primary function: to amuse the audience, completely.
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