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Pacific Rim is better than the sum of Godzilla plus Transformers could ever be

Updated on July 14, 2013

Are you a fan of Godzilla (any of them)? Maybe Cloverfield? How about Mobile Suit Gundam Wing or Tetsujin-28?

If you're familiar with those last ones, then this movie should be just up your alley.

Director Guillermo del Toro was apparently inspired by anime from his youth, though he took pains to keep the designs of his robots and creatures unique and different.

And I'd have to say it's all working for him.

But first the story

The world has been invaded.

A dimensional rift has opened up deep in the ocean and, one by one, giant monsters—dubbed Kaiju, Japanese for "strange beast"—have begun emerging and attacking major coastal cities. It's like they know exactly where to go to get the highest body counts. And they clearly have to make their quota of destroyed national landmarks. The coincidences are pretty staggering.

In response, mankind has begun manufacturing equally giant robots—dubbed Jaegers, German for "hunters"—driven mentally by two or more pilots.

We jump into our story as brother pilot team Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff), under the leadership of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), jump into their overgrown suit and head out to fight the largest Kaiju yet recorded. It's a rousing fight and we get a great idea of how it all works in short measure.

And all before the title screen.

Anyway, a few years later, Raleigh, having retired from the Jaeger program because we need a dramatic reinstatement into the program, is dramatically reinstated into the program for a daring plan.

He's introduced to the young and eager Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), number man Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Kaiju xeno-biologist Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day).

From this point, the story mostly bounces a bit between "monster emerges and attacks and the good guys zoom in and take it down" and a little bit of "scientist has a cool but dangerous idea to better fight the monsters".

Pacific Rim Trailer

Dot dot dot

This is the first movie since 1993's Cronos Where Guillermo del Toro has cast Ron Perlman as a human. And the character sort of only technically qualifies as that, but I very much enjoyed his presence in this movie. Some pretty fun scenes with that dude.

Charlie Day too. When I saw his name on the cast list, the first thing I thought was "Is he seriously in a serious action movie? Serious?" But he's really a great addition to the movie. Love his scenes.

That being said, there are a few cliche story elements and snatches of dialog, but they don't ruin the fun. For instance, as they're going into the final fight, Elba gives a quick St.-Crispin's-Day/Independence-Day/It-Is-Not-This-Day speech to work the crew up into a frothy let's-kill-the-monster lather. It's not the best speech I've heard but it's short. It's not terrible, and the last bit is okay, but the first half is rather generic though it works.

What really works the best for this movie is the fantastical and exciting (and amazingly not too confusing) monster/robot fighting, and the fun character moments. Now some of the action sequences could stand to be trimmed a little, but not like those Brobdingnagian action sequences from the Transformers movies.

And it's refreshing that the movie doesn't try to be deeper than it is. Not that it's a shallow movie. But by not pretending to be anything more profound, it actually lets the story play out at just the right depth.

Oh, and there isn't a scene at the end of the credits, but there is one just a little ways into them, so don't get up and leave because you just need to beat the rush for the door. It's not a terribly important scene, but it does change the way you think of one particular scene from earlier in the movie.

But what do you think about the movie?

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Pacific Rim

For me this one gets a solid 7 / 10. Almost an 8.

Pacific Rim is rated PG-13 for a little language and plenty of sci-fi action violence.

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