Edge of Greatness – A review of Pacific Rim

Charlie Hunnum and Rinko Kikuchi are Jaeger pilots - drivers of large mechanical robots that can kick kaiju butt and keep the world safe from giant sea monsters
Charlie Hunnum and Rinko Kikuchi are Jaeger pilots - drivers of large mechanical robots that can kick kaiju butt and keep the world safe from giant sea monsters

Title: Pacific Rim

Production Company: Warner Brothers

Run Time: 132 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Stars: Charlie Hunnum, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman

4 stars for Pacific Rim

Summary: This may simply look like Godzilla vs. giant rock ‘em sock ‘em robots, but behind it all, there’s a really fantastic plot coupled with great acting.

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I wrote this movie off as this year’s Transformers – all effects and no story. This just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

One of the first things you will notice right off the bat is the complete lack of big name star power. Perhaps the best known actors in the bunch are Idris Elba and Ron Perlman, the latter of which is in full scumbag mode for this movie.

Elba plays the leader of a group of Jaeger pilots who physically battle it out with giant Kaiju monsters from the sea that are bent on conquering Earth and eliminating the infestation of humanity from the world.

The Kaiju, it seems, have developed under the surface of the sea and periodically rise to wreak havoc until they’re defeated by the giant Jaegers. The Jaegers are 200 foot tall mechanical battle tanks built with human form. They are piloted by two humans who ride in the cockpit located in the Jaeger machine’s head.

The two pilots are psychically linked together so that they will perform as one inside the machine. What happens to one pilot will absolutely reflect on the other.

This is the true strength of this movie, though. The interactions between the pilots and the ground staff manage to anchor this science fiction story to our world. And we ask the same questions. How would we react if life deals us these same circumstances?

The story starts out in modern day and only a short span of time evolves before the story we witness is due to take place. We can actually buy the incidents that take place and, since our own world as we know it is in the crosshairs, we can empathize with all the characters and situations presented.

The only drawback, though, is the predictability factor. We pretty much know where this story is going to take us at every step of the way. But we don’t mind taking the ride because the situation is beyond cool. Its impact resonates with far more pathos and sincerity than any Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich film can ever accomplish.

Which brings me to this movie’s director. Guillermo del Toro has previously brought us the incredible story of Pan’s Labyrinth and equally exciting Hellboy movies. This man has his finger on the pulse of works well in action, yet keeps us emotionally satisfied in the process.

And even thought there is certainly closure to this story, there is also room for more if audiences demand it. Be sure to stick around for the end credits for a cleverly placed Easter egg that might shed light on the story’s future.

This is not a story that insults the audience or tries to bamboozle its way out of a corner. That’s why Pacific Rim warrants 4 out of 5 stars from me.

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