Thursday, July 25, 2013

'Pacific Rim': Suck it, Transformers

Pacific Rim is one of the best movies of the summer.  There.  Let's just get it right there in the open.  I have been a tad obsessed with it since I first saw the trailer, and I feel like the movie delivers on many levels.  It's a big, loud, fun blockbuster.  The best part?  It's not a sequel or a remake!

In the near future, giant Godzilla-y, Cloverfield-esque creatures come through an interdimensional portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  These ugly, angry lizards are known as Kaiju, and soon big cities like San Francisco and Manila are reduced to rubble.  No vacation spot is safe, people!  In order to fight them, the government develops huge robots to take them down.  These robots, called jaegers, succeed in combating the kaiju for a while, but the monsters get stronger. 

He's not having a good day...

Jaegers are operated by two pilots who are neurologically connected through a process known as "the drift."  These guys must be in sync with each other at all times, and they cannot allow to get involved in each other's memories or experiences.  In the beginning of Rim, we meet Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a hotshot who pilots a Jaeger named Gipsy Danger with his brother Yancy during the first Kaiju resistance.  During a fight Yancy is killed, and Raleigh is traumatized (he was still connected to the drift when he died). 

Soon the Kaiju have become so powerful that the Jaegar project is in the process of being shut down.  A wall is being constructed to hold the Kaiju back, but in the meantime, the four remaining Jaegar are deployed to Hong Kong to hold of the beasts until the wall is complete.  Pentecost (Idris Elba), the Jaegar commander, enlists Raleigh to come back and fight until the wall is completely fortified. 

All right, all right, enough plot.  Pacific Rim packs the plot in at the beginning to get everyone up to speed, and then the movie really gets to show what it wants to show.  Robots beating the living crap out of monsters.  This is straight-up entertainment.  Big, colorful, loud entertainment.  Have I mentioned that it's robots fighting monsters?  It's fun and awesome.  Plain and simple. 

Del Toro's flick is a blast of fresh air this summer.  I am so sick of sequels and remakes.  I had a better time during Pacific Rim than I did in Star Trek: Into Darkness and all of the Transformers movies combined.  He includes some great characters like Charlie Day as a Kaiju enthusiast who clashes with his scientist parter, Burn Gorman.  Rinko Kikuchi (Oscar nominee from Babel) plays Mako, a young trainee who gets paired as Raleigh's new partner.  There is a great scene where Raleigh takes down all the other potential co-pilots during training, but Mako puts him in his place. 

I love the design of the movie.  It's not slick at all and has a grungy, dirty look to it.  When the Kaiju and Jaegers fight in Hong Kong in the climactic battle scene, the neon purple and red lights from the city almost pop off the screen.  I feel like I need to personally begin a campaign for this to get a Production Design nomination, because the movie deserves it. 

Does anyone else remember the video game from the 80's, Rampage?  The one where you tear down cities and avoid being shot down?  Rim made me want to play it.  Random.  

The movie isn't performing as well as everyone thought it would at the box office, and it makes me really sad.  Go see this movie, people!  Summer is the time for loud, stupid entertainment, Pacific Rim knows what it is.  Sure, it has really cheesy dialogue, and it goes on too long sometimes, but when was the last time you saw something that was this fun that wasn't something you've seen over and over?  I was happy to get an original back story and new character at this point of July. 


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