Jennie’s Review: Pacific Rim

Letter Grade:

The Good:

The special effects
The fight scenes
Generally everything visual

The Bad:

The writing
The delivery of most of the lines
Generally everything that wasn’t visual

Cast & Crew:

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day & Ron Perlman

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language

The first thing you see when the movie starts is what appears to be a computer screen that explains that Jaeger means Hunter and Kaiju means giant beast.  This is the explanation as to why the giant robots are called Jaegers and the giant aliens are called Kaijus.   We are then guided by voiceover through the history of the very first attack in San Francisco, and then the second on Manila, and so on.  Then the voice quickly explains the development of the Jaeger Program and how the giant robot warriors are piloted by 2 persons with their minds and memories connected.  The Jaeger program seems to be successful, very successful, the pilots become worldwide heroes, and the whole situation starts to be taken less seriously because humanity now feels like they have the upper hand.  Of course, this is not the case.  The Kaiju apparently have the ability to evolve very quickly to adapt to and withstand the weapons used against them.  We discover this as the voice is revealed to be Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who is a co-pilot with his brother (Diego Klattenhoff) and they are called to defend the Alaskan coast from the newest Kaiju attack.  Things do not go well for the Becket brothers and from then on, the supremacy of the Jaegers is no longer intact.

PACIFIC RIMThe first 5 minutes of the movie are a (very) quick exposition on the history of the aliens arriving and the humans fighting back. A lot of it is included in the voiceover of the trailer linked below.  This part of the film should have been longer and not just the set up to the title of the movie appearing on screen.  The timeline they present doesn’t make sense in the first place and you aren’t invested in any of it when the first climactic scene takes place.  Honestly, you don’t ever really get attached to any of the characters.  The scenes that are set up to do that don’t work and the ones that had potential are way too short.

For the most part, the effects are great.  Now, I realize that they are veiled by being mostly set at night or in the rain, but I still think they were good.  There does seem to be some size consistency issues.  In one shot the Kaiju appear to be more than 25 stories tall and then in another scene a Kaiju foot steps on a semi truck and the proportions appear to be a lot smaller.  The fight scenes are good but occasionally are framed in too close.  This is fine for people fighting but when you have 2(or more) larger than life creatures that are fantastical in the first place, it’s hard to know what you’re looking at when it’s cropped so close.  Besides the special effects, the real life stuff is also stunning.  The character reveal of Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) is so beautifully done, it could easily fit into a far more pretentious art house film.  The toy market should be able to jump all over this though.  Both the Jaegers and the Kaiju are all given individual names, looks, abilities, and personalities, similar to the Transformers franchise.  It’s the stuff Hasbro’s dreams are made of.  There is wonderful SSD-14189.DNGattention to detail in the design of the Jaegers.  The hero Jaeger “Gipsy Danger,” even has a World War II era pin up girl painted on one of its chest plates.  It was a very small detail that for me (and probably the designer) was fantastic.

There are several things that don’t work logistically in the story line. I don’t mean because it’s science fiction, I’m OK with plot points being farfetched as long as it meshes with the story and world as a whole, and there were several times it did not.  The science-y part was also covered too quickly.  Part of the problem was the fast paced frantic delivery from Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.  The other part is that the movie mentions a few pretty big important ideas and then doesn’t explore or elaborate on them at all.  They very briefly touch on evolution, radiation, global warming, toxic spills, and so on.  The main unexplained science bit is the development of the “drift” technology (the sharing of memories and consciousness between 2 people) and why on earth it is necessary to drift in order to successfully pilot the Jaegers.

PACIFIC RIMGuillermo del Toro can make a beautiful movie (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy), but he needs better scripts, or maybe better taste.  The screenwriting (which Del Toro helped write) is atrocious and makes the talented actors (Idris Elba in particular) seem not so talented.  The scenes that aren’t so bad are often seemingly mimicking other movies (Independence Day, Avengers, Top Gun, Godzilla, Transformers, etc… etc…).  There are no surprises in this movie either. Everything is so obviously predictable, or they gave it away in the trailers. Pacific Rim is getting generally good reviews, which is nice for them, but I don’t see it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a robot punching a dinosaur type monster as much as the next guy and I love a good dumb action movie. I just felt that there were a lot of plot points, acting, and lines that were cringe inducing and I don’t think it was on purpose.

*Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Jennie Stoddart (24 Posts)

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