Pacific Rim review

By Max Maier | Jul 21, 2013

Ever since I was a little child, I've been a big fan of Transformers and Godzilla, a.k.a. giant robots and giant monsters. So when Pacific Rim was first announced, I went nuts. I was excited to see giant robots and monsters duke it out on the big screen in CGI glory. Then as trailers and commercials started emerging, showing more of the human cast and story, I was a little shaken. Yes, movies should have plot, but a tight focus on what the people paid to see. So going in to see this, I was worried the wrong things would get more focus, sadly, I was right.

The story...or what there is of it... starts in the near future. A portal, or "bridge" has opened at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Giant monsters codenamed Kaijus, start emerging from the bridge and destroy anything in their path. The highest powers amongst Earth's populous decide to build monsters of their own after no other weapon has worked. They build giant human-controlled robots named Jaegers to battle the Kaijus. At first, it works. Jaegers are able to stop the Kaijus, for sometime. Until the threat gets bigger and the Earth is on the threat of extinction. It's up to our heroes to Jaeger up and take down the Kaijus once and for all.

This movie should have been just a 100 minute romp of giant battle glory. That's what people really wanted to see. Unfortunately Pacific Rim does not break the mold of monster movies of the cast: we have to introduce a bland cast of characters that we don't want to see. Now, the cast is not horrible, compared to other movies, but they are no different than what we have seen from the past, especially if you are familiar with monster movies.

Our main hero is brash and young, cocky pilot of a Jaeger whose world is shaken by tragedy and it changes him to be the moral compass who can do no wrong. The female love interest is the top student in the class who follows the rules but is just as talented as everybody else, but repressing her past holds her back. The leader of this group is a strict, no-exceptions hardass, but inside has a heart of gold and is just a big teddy bear with a sad past. There is an obnoxious nerdy scientist that studies the monsters, and a bully co-pilot who thinks he is the best and antagonizes the hero through a big chunk of the movie. If you have not seen these characters before, you are part of a lucky few. Now, none of them do, particularly bad jobs, but none of them were great and were pretty forgettable. I will admit the bully and leader change a tiny bit towards the end, but only for a few minutes. The best character of the movie is a black market dealer played by Ron Pearlman. His character is over-the-top and ridiculous, but he gets a couple laughs and he is enjoying how ridiculous he is.

The story, is just pure nonsense with many plot holes that will make you question a lot of what happens. ESPECIALLY with the origin of the Kaijus. It is so rushed and hardly fleshed out, it feels like we were given half the cliffnotes of the actual plot. The rest of the story is not really exciting or engaging. Also, the Jaegers are controlled when 2 pilots drift into a mental link where they share their whole minds with each other to control the robot. It is very silly and seems unnecessary. Why couldn't it just be that the 2 humans control the robot? I know this is how the writer wanted it to be, but it seems silly in theory. Even the friggin' Rugrats in Paris movie managed to have better controls for the giant Reptar robot. So you're telling me the writer couldn't just make it simpler? It leads to complications with the female lead, in a really annoying scene, and they don't even follow its rules all the time. They mention early on both pilots need to have similar minds to be able to control the Jaeger, but then throughout the movie they don't really follow the rule. So one of the silliest parts of the movie isn't even respected fully. It's kind of ridiculous.

BUT. That is not why people want to see this movie. Everything I've just talked about is low on the totem pole compared to the main attraction: JAEGERS VS KAIJUS. Let me tell you, it was all worth it to see these fights. The battles are massive and both sides present some very unique and cool monsters that are just an absolute thrill to watch. I expected these fights to be some of the best action I've seen, and it didn't disappoint. I'd even say they were more impressive than films like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. (p.s. this whole movie is better than Iron Man 3). I was jumping in my seat watching these fights, and I wish I got to see a ton more. Unfortunately they only make up 25-30% of the movie. And just like my thoughts on the Transformers movies, it's a shame there has to be a cast in this movie.

I know I did a lot more complaining than praising, but that's because these action scenes must be seen. They cannot simply be described. These battles are a sight to behold. If you can, see it on the big screen, because no other movie this summer can match the scale of this movie. It is a massive movie, with massive action, and massive monster satisfaction. The cast and story don't ruin the experience, but it's a shame they take screen time from Jaegers and Kaijus. I recommend Pacific Rim if you love monsters, robots, action or sci-fi. It is a really fun experience. If you want a movie with deep story, depth and great characters, there may be better options. Go see Despicable Me 2 again if that is the case.
The team behind this movie are bringing us a Godzilla movie next year, I believe one of the most famous monsters in the world has a good shot at success.

p.p.s. The voice of the Jaeger operating system is the same voice of Glados from the Portal video game series. That was awesome.

I give Pacific Rim a larger-than-life 3.5 out of 5 

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