Category: Film Reviews
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(DL) – With superhero films appearing as the only reliable summer blockbuster draw, Pacific Rim provides a change in diet to theater goers. Updated only slightly from known monster verses mech stories, Pacific Rim is reminiscent of Evangelion and a homage to campy Godzilla monster movies of the 1960's. There is nothing original about it, combining concepts from sci-fis since film began such as King-Kong to Avatar.
In a narrated montage Raleigh Becket played by Charlie Hunnan walks you through the first five minutes setting up the plot. You should interpret that as a spoiler mistake by the director. If you have half a brain, you understand this point. If you don't have the brainpower to figure out what the implications of a protagonist operating as the narrator means, then be advised your ignorance is bliss.
Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) has been honed by directors over time. Each new movie using CGI increases the detail and our senses adjust expecting more. At Comic-Con geeks were lead to believe Pacific Rim would be a game changer in this category, instead it feels like Transformers with a story. I'd say much better story but Transformers has no story. To Transformers credit, they gave us well lit scenes. In Pacific Rim, darkness and rain are used not to enhance but hide detail. Perhaps the budget was being busted on so much CGI? Hype for Pacific Rim started a year before release, almost every poster highlighted a well lit fight scene. Throughout the film most monster vrs mech scenes are tight dark shots. Perspective shots are short. The interior settings are odd, war bunkers are a combination of post apocalyptic with a dash of steam-punk. Why so much rust in places that would never oxidize? Style without substance is just one more reason Pacific Rim doesn't reach great levels in storytelling. You get the feeling a world was created that can't exist.
Becket is your typical American hero. No character flaws, strong and mild mannered. In his calm voice you learn he is a pilot of huge robot machines named Jaegers, pronounced (yea-ger). A Jaeger must be manned by two humans, which I'll leave for you to learn why in the story. They are the world's only means to fight the war with giant undersea monsters known as Kaiju (Japanese for strange beast.) Here is what every theater goer should be asking. "What is the motivation for these colossal beast to rise up out of the sea and stomp all over buildings?"
They lumber up out of the ocean and they are pissed off for what reason? Are they hungry? Can they get their fill on tiny human morsels? Wouldn't dining on whales be an option? Worse yet for myself if I'm going to get a subtle understanding of why we are at war with these creatures - other than the obvious fact they are destroying everything, there is never a clear visual message of what our monolithic enemies are up to when they surface. If things like this nag at you when you watch an action blockbuster, reasons such as this are why the film is good but not great.
The Kaiju are relentless. Meant to look like a cross between a shark and alien they look more like generic sea monsters. Becket tells us that for a time humans were winning the war against the Kaiju through the procurement of Jaegers but the size and the frequency of the Kaiju have become more than the Jaegers can handle. In the establishing montage there may be only one small glimpse of a Kaiju getting owned by Jaegers in battle. We see the Jaegers fighting with the upper hand but aside from a visual or two of the Kaiju getting socked in the face with oversized metal fist, there isn't much to be excited about. For as brutal as the fight scenes are you don't get the feeling earth is being saved, you get the feeling it's being destroyed....Read more...