Pacific Rim review

Live action anime, if you're into that

WRITTEN BY: Michael DeLaney
Image Source: Debris2008 via Flickr

Pacific Rim is pretty much the epic rock ‘em sock ‘em smash-down that you’d expect it to be. From Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is one parts monster movie, anime and Top Gun rolled into one.

Pacific Rim is set in the 2020s, in a world that is devoid of our current geo-political problems due to the fact that gargantuan alien beasts happen to arise from a portal in the Pacific Ocean every now and then to attack us.

Time for some sci-fi info dump:

The appearance of these monsters, known as Kaijus, unites the world to smack the big guys down. In an effort to better arm themselves against the Kaijus, humankind invents humanoid mechs known as Jaegers. The Jaegers are piloted by two-man teams whose minds are synched to operate the machine as one.

The emotional core of Pacific Rim feels like it was recycled from the Hollywood B-movie junkyard: our protagonist Maverick err, I mean Raleigh Becket, is the best of the best when it comes to Jaeger pilots. After losing his brother and partner, Maverick/Raleigh decides to leave the Jaeger program. Years later, he’s called back to duty for one last fight against the Kaiju. The resident Iceman tells Maverick that he is dangerous and inter-office rivalries go down and then they go fight the monsters a few times. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

Pacific Rim is nothing if not an entertaining view. It is probably the closest thing you will see to a live-action depiction of any number of mecha-anime programs that your friend Ronnie told you to watch on Adult Swim in high school. It has the ambitious escalated action of an anime show as well as stunted dialogue as if it actually was translated from Japanese. Added to that the fact that lead Charlie Hunnam’s voice sounds like a Solid Snake knock-off.

Cheesy character interaction and awkward dialogue aside, Pacific Rim is a pretty engaging sci-fi flick. One thing that is refreshing about the film is that the world of Pacific Rim is an already established one. This is not an “origin story” where we see mankind react to the first appearance of these monsters by building prototype mech-armor. This is a world where the advancecd technology is already a part of our characters’ lives, which helps the story move along more smoothly.

The visual effects of Pacific Rim are definitely a spectacle to behold. The battles between the Jaegers and the Kaijus are the cityscape throwdowns that you’d anticipate from a monster movie. The good thing is that they don’t overstay their welcome and become monotonous like other summer blockbusters (I’m looking at you Man of Steel!)

Another plus side of the visuals is the ever changing styles of the Kaijus and Jaegers. Pacific Rim would’ve been much less entertaining if the monsters popping out of the ocean were cookie-cutter copies. Instead, every new creature that showed up was bigger and better than the last.

Pacific Rim is a high-concept sci-fi film that suffers from its rather unremarkable character dynamics. It’s still worth a viewing if you want to see some good action this summer. 

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