I dig giant robots!
WE dig giant robots!
CHICKS dig giant robots!
Oh yeah, Pacific Rim is here baby! While all of those other boring losers go and watch Grown Ups 2 (DON’T LIE! I saw that it beat this at the box office for some ungodly reason!), you people all know better. You know the true fun of summer movies is all in the action! You know that this is a film involving giant robots, fighting giant monsters, with a budget higher than any paycheck I will ever see in my lifetime. You also know it was directed by Guillermo del Toro, who gave us a billion other already awesome works! Honestly, it was a win before you even saw the damn thing, people!
Okay, so the movie isn’t perfect per se, but it’s still pretty freaking good, and a great step for films of this genre in the US. What is that genre you ask? It’s a mix of what’s known as kaiju (a Japanese word that translates to “strange creature,” though it’s used to classify giant monsters like Godzilla) and tokusatsu (Japanese word translating to “special effects,” mainly used to describe shows like Power Rangers/Super Sentai and Kamen Rider)… And to the people that haven’t left yet, congratulations! You either have no life, or are curious enough to delve into what the hell I’m talking about more! (Oh you swell little people, you!)
Del Toro more or less wrote this movie as a love letter to all of the confusing, but informative stuff I wrote about in that paragraph above (thanks Wikipedia! Wait, I wasn’t supposed to mention that part… I mean, I knew this stuff on my own! I was just double checking!!! Japanese words are hard! >_> ). There are all kinds of references to other giant robot and monster films of the past, even with a hint of classic anime thrown in for good measure. I could write a book about all the little Easter Eggs they threw in there, but I have an audience to keep… Assuming I didn’t lose everyone with the kaiju paragraph. You still with me? WAKE UP YOU! *slap*
The plot is simple enough overall. In the future, the Earth is attacked by (what they actually CALL) kaijus, and humanity develops giant robots called Gundam-ah, I mean Jaegers! These bad boys are about equal in size, and designed to combat the kaiju. There’s a twist to piloting these babies, however. They have to have two pilots per Jaeger, and those pilots need to be linked… in the brains! If you have a bad link, you’ll get your ass kicked faster than you can say “It’s GODZILLAAAA!” This becomes especially interesting in terms of character development, as the pilots literally learn everything about each other upon linking. I’d say this makes flashback scenes go by faster, but… I’d be lying. Perhaps if we could somehow link with the actor’s minds… Oh yes, NOW we’re on to something! I could link with Ryan Reynolds and find out how many women he conned into bed with false promises. He’d be the right actor for my movie because then we’d truly become one mind!
Going any farther into it would give away too many plot points, but know that the movie becomes a fine mix between completely cheesy and completely serious, once again similar to many anime/toku shows of its type. And the whole thing leaves a lot of potential open. I have a lot of friends who were disappointed that there wasn’t more to the film, and weren’t expecting a sequel to come either… More on that later.
The music and scenery of the movie are perfectly fitting. Nothing too stand-out-ish, but definitely some well-made orchestral pieces to get the kaiju blood pumping. The effects are surprisingly great for a movie of this type. I think one of the reasons this movie is doing so well in Japan (besides the fact that this movie is once again a love letter to their concepts), is the amazing level of CGI effects that went into the film, and more importantly, that they didn’t detract from the decent story itself.
You’ve got all the necessary acting types in the film. The main protagonist who is generally silent, but obedient and knows how to crack a joke or two, the female partner, who is also silent, but mainly because of some traumatizing childhood experience who learns to grow with the protagonist, the “no BS” commander who gives all the orders and expects you to be as depressing as them for some reason, the rival character who acts like the main character is a wash-out, an over-the-top scientist and kaiju fanboy, and even your local parts dealer who looks so ridiculous, using words to describe his ridiculousness would not do the man justice. Basically, there are no duds in this group, and that’s a win!
Just about the only complaint I could really muster for this film is that there’s simply not enough of it! They were hinting at some interesting new developments in the second half, and it seemed like they just kind of dropped them because they were probably running out of time to get into it all. The good news is Del Toro already confirmed a sequel, and he’s already kind of pseudo–confirmed that some of those very developments hinted at will make their way into it! I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say if the name Evangelion means anything to you, you have my permission to cream your pants… and then get new ones, because eww…
SOOOO, to sum it all up: We have amazing fight scenes, amazing effects, an excellent soundtrack, a story that’s surprisingly good for a movie of this type, and actors that got the job done; all with the flaw of there not being nearly enough of it! Oh, there’s also the possibility that some may not “get” this film, because the line between serious and silly gets crossed a lot, and if you’re not familiar with the way the Japanese do this kind of programming, it may throw you off a bit. To those people, I suggest every Godzilla movie ever, and a chill pill for good measure. What? No, I can’t actually give you a chill pill. Those little things are expensive these days, man!
As long as you’re not looking for something super deep (at least for now… Seeeeequellllll…), and want to watch a FUN movie with FUN fight scenes, then jump on the bandwagon and stop giving your ticket money to something less deserving!... Unless it’s Despicable Me 2; that actually looks hilarious…
8 Sliced-Up Kaijus Out of 10
See this and support more Kaiju/Tokusatsu films in the US of A! Also, by all means, stick this movie in the face of every Transformers fan you know. It’s a crap-ton better than all three of those movies put together. ACTUAL plot goes a long way bitches! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some action figures to go play with! *pew pew pew* *Reaaaaaaaagh!* *pew pew pew*