The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about Guillermo Del Toro’s Sci-Fi Epic “Pacific Rim” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer!
For all those who have overused and misused the word “epic” in the past decade, you’re about to get a lesson in what that word really means.
Pacific Rim is the story of a not too distant future where the world has been besieged by gigantic mutant creatures from another dimension and our coming together as a planet to build gigantic mechanized robots to fight them. Things change when we realize there might be more to these Godzilla-like beings than we thought. Right off the bat, Pacific Rim is spectacular. Not just in the city-destroying battling of gargantuan creatures, but in it’s entire scope and scale. Almost everything about what director Guillermo Del Toro does here is compelling and interesting, and while it’s not a surprise that he brought an incredible visual flair to the proceedings, I am also impressed with how well he tied in such a powerful heart and message about community, teamwork, and relationships.
Now, I promise I will land on a specific best thing in a bit but there is so much I loved here. I mean come on, it’s giant robots fighting giant monsters, it’s like 10 year old me willed this movie into existence. OK, so let’s start with the basics. The score is beautiful, the writing is clever, and the action is directed wonderfully. Del Toro makes sure as big as these battles are that we always have a handle on where things are and what’s going on. Which brings us to the incredible scale. These creatures and the robots we build to fight them are huuuuge, not just big, but Gigantanormously big. And conveying that kind of size can be difficult on screen. Sure seeing it in 3D on an IMAX screen probably helped, but the movie does an amazing job at never letting us forget the largeness of what’s going on. I was also impressed with how many of these scenes there were. The movie over delivers on it’s promise and doesn’t burden us with too much filler in between the money shots. But here’s the thing, the filler was pretty good too! First of all, I loved the message of Pacific Rim. There is an overriding theme about community and cooperation that is beautiful and poignant. You see, the giant robots must be controlled by two pilots who sync minds and must work together to overcome the obstacles they face. It becomes a beautiful metaphor for marriage, parenting, or friendship. And it’s no accident that our pilot teams include all of these types of pairings. What else? Oh right, the best thing, it’s Idris Elba. I loved him in this. His portrayal of the commander of this robot program was intensely powerful and solidified him as one of the best actors working today. His goosebump inducing “pre-game” speech before the final battle was delivered with such perfect strength and conviction I just about jumped out of my seat to volunteer to fight with them.
So was there anything not to like about Pacific Rim? Sure. Idris Elba’s grounded performance aside, most of the other characters feel over the top much of the time. And that gives the movie a bit of what I would say is the worst thing about it, the melodrama. This overacting can give the movie a sense of ridiculousness that can occasionally distance you from the reality of the character motivations, but the story is solid and pulls things in line despite that one flaw.
In the end Pacific Rim is a thrilling rush of a ride, over delivering on its promise of giant battles and giant creatures. Despite some cheesy overacting the plot stays grounded in a wonderful message about working together as the community as a whole and with the ones we are closest too. Pacific Rim gets an A. ——–
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