Pacific Rim Is The Rare Summer Blockbuster That Not Only Lives Up To Its Hype, But Exceeds It.
Director: Guillermo del Toro.
Writers: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro.
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman.
Pacific Rim might as well be a movie nerd's wet dream.
Giant robots? Yup, it's got that.
Giant monsters? Uh-huh, that too.
Direction from Guillermo del Toro? Yessir.
Yes, Pacific Rim, which finally stomps into theaters this weekend with promises of being the single biggest film event of the entire year, indeed boasts all the right ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster done right.
But does it live up to expectations? I mean, could it even possibly come close? Let's face it: This summer movie season hasn't exactly been a blast. Thus far into the season's run, each supposedly big release has only brought bigger and bigger disappointment. Plus, after multiple disastrous Transformers sequels and robotically engineered copycats, it's not like we really need more of this suddenly cliche fare, right?
Quite the opposite, actually. Pacific Rim may actually be the giant robot/monster movie to end all others. It's also the single most crowd-pleasing movie-going experience of the summer.
In my mind, it's the film that that's been marinating in del Toro's imagination since he was a kid, back when he was sitting on his bedroom floor, crashing Godzilla and Ultraman action figures together as a Tokusatsu movie played on a TV in the background.
And boy does he knock it out of the park: The writer/director achieves a scale and scope here unlike anything we've seen before. Throughout the film, colossal robots and mammoth monsters engage in rock 'em, sock 'em action on land, by sea and in mid-air action sequences so grandiose your popcorn will end up buttered with your drool..
The story is simple and del Toro wastes no time getting right to the meat of it. In a matter of minutes, he establishes the realism of a modern-day world in which alien giants from another dimension emerge from the ocean floor and begin to go all Rampage on our cities — and repeatedly at that. So, in an effort to fight these monsters, society creates its own monsters to cancel out the Apocalypse — Herculean robot fighting weapons operated by two pilots who are mind-melded together so that their machines can mimic their every movement.
Basically, it's completely awesome.
But it's not just 132 minutes of watching lizards and tin men exchange blows, either. As the robots, codenamed Jaegers, attempt to squash the aliens, called Kaiju, like bugs, the film offers up a secondary science-filled story featuring Charlie Day's tatted-up Dr. Newton Geiszler, who puts on his “thinking cap” in attempt to solve the alien issue not with braun but with his brain (quite literally, actually).
Among the giant robots and monsters, it's Day who stands out as the film's unlikely star. His is a performance that both echos and homages Rick Moranis' Louis Tully in Ghostbusters.
Oh, and Ron Perlman's a total badass here, too.
Still, with no known movie stars or preexisting source material to be based off, Pacific Rim's unfortunate downfall may be that general movie-going masses just might not flock to it like the movie nerd set will. It'd be a crying shame if that ends up the case, of course.
With its blend of awe-inspiring action and honest-to-goodness hysterical comedic turns, Pacific Rim is the rare movie that more than lives up to its hype. Hell, I'd go as far to say it exceeds the hype.
This film is a perfect example of how big popcorn fun and original creativity can coexist. It's the summer movie you've been waiting to see.
If only as a means to tell Hollywood that we're sick of all the sequels and reboots, you really should check this one out.
Score: 9 out of 10 robots bitch slapping monsters with boats.