My girlfriend likes to see movies that have some substance and require an intellect higher than that of an average 12-year-old. So when I first suggested to her that we should go and see Pacific Rim, she shot me a look that clearly said,”You’re pushing your luck.” I eventually managed to convince her, citing quite a few reviews that said that the movie was good. However, about 15 mins into the movie I began mentally preparing myself for being single once again. As I turned to her from my seat and started whispering an abject apology for dragging her along, she impatiently gestured for me to shut up. I realised, in no small amazement, that she was actually watching the mayhem on the screen with rapt attention, and a smile.
Yes, that about sums it up for Pacific Rim. You should be fine, so long as you don’t try to take things too seriously. I mean, this is a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters, for god’s sake. What else did you expect?
Guillermo del Toro is not a stranger to the grab ’em, smash ’em genre, his previous offerings being the two Hellboy movies. However, mentioning only those two names would be an injustice to the director. He also made the great Pan’s Labyrinth. Anyway, talking of smashing things, it seems I owe an apology to the makers of Man of Steel. I had called it a “how-to-destroy-buildings-by-throwing-people-at-them instruction video” in my article. Well, as far as smashing things are concerned, few movies would come even close to Pacific Rim. Admittedly, when both your good guys and bad guys are the size of skyscraper blocks and have friends of similar dimensions, you have a distinct advantage over the likes of Superman, the Hulk and even Godzilla.
The story goes like this: A breach opens under the Pacific Ocean, thus creating a passage to the Earth’s core. From there, giant creatures called Kaijus emerge and immediately get busy renovating the skylines of the Pacific Rim cities. After normal military weapons have been tried and declared unsuccessful against them, a scientist stumbles upon the idea of building giant robots to fight these monsters. Thus the Jaeger (that’s German for hunter) program is created, led by the cheerfully named general Stacker Pentecost (A very sincere Idris Elba). The Jaegers are essentially giant robots that require two human pilots, and pack a lot of punch inside their steel bodies.
The Jaegers fight valiantly against the steady rush of these Kaijus, until funding for the program is stopped in favor of a gigantic wall being built all around the Pacific Rim. This wall proves ineffective, of course, and Stacker Pentecost gathers his last 4 remaining Jaegers into a base in Hong Kong called Shatterdome, in an effort to block the portal and end the menace permanently. What follows is a glorious 2 hours of considerable violence and mayhem. I’m a pretty peaceful guy, but there’s something childishly cheerful about giant robots and giant monsters bashing each other up with all the grace of a bar fight. My personal favorite: when Gipsy Danger picks up a ship on one hand and proceeds to beat the sh*t out of a chemical-spewing Kaiju with it.
Despite whatever critics might say about Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro has got my vote. He’s made a children’s movie, and made it with all the indulgence, care and attention of a parent hell-bent on spoiling a kid. While the monsters are evidently computer generated, when a Kaiju erupts from the sea to land on an unsuspecting Jaeger, you’ll actually find that you’re flinching and bracing for the impact in your seat. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what is so good about this movie. After two hours of mayhem, explosions, unabashed computer graphics, smashed cities, roaring monsters and cheesy one-liners (“we’re cancelling the apocalypse!”), one fact stands out. Pacific Rim is FUN.
Even my girlfriend agrees.
- Pacific Rim (rec45.wordpress.com)
- Pacific Rim (2013) mostlycinema.com
- The Overblown Incoherence of ‘Pacific Rim’ (realiction.wordpress.com)