Pacific Rim (2013) Review

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Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket
Idris Elba as Marshal Stacker Pentecost
Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori
Charlie Day as Dr. Newton ‘Newt’ Geiszler
Ron Perlman as Hannibal Chau
Robert Kazinsky as Chuck Hansen
Max Martini as Hercules “Herc” Hansen
Clifton Collins Jr. as Tendo Choi
Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb
Director: Guillermo del Toro

The government assumes the Jaegers, robotic war machines battling the Kaijus, to be ineffective. However, Stacker Pentecost’s (Idris Elba) team believes that only the Jaegers can save the world from destruction.

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It had been a while since I watched Pacific Rim, I remembered liking it when I watched it previously. Having re-watched many of del Toro’s movies more recently however, I decided to revisit it. It is quite a different movie from Del Toro, a large scale blockbuster, even larger than the Hellboy movies. Pacific Rim isn’t great, but it is far better than it had any right to be, with it being quite entertaining and well made generally.

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The story itself is pretty predictable and by the numbers for this genre, and a lot of the characters are typical and I wasn’t really invested with them. I will say that to the movie’s credit, there was character development and depth and at least they made an effort with them (although not enough to make the characters great). Also while the story isn’t anything special, the story is not overly complicated and is straight forward enough, while also having subplots which fit into the rest of the story quite well. When watching Pacific Rim, live-action anime was what really came to mind, and from what I can tell they really pulled it off. It really is a solid harmony between sci-fi and monster movies. The movie is undoubtedly silly, but it fully embraces its silliness. The movie is self aware, and some of the dialogue is cheesy yet awesome at times (Idris Elba’s “We are cancelling the apocalypse” comes to mind). Del Toro knew exactly what movie he was making and that really works to its benefit. At the same time, it doesn’t feel like a cash-grab or lazy blockbuster, it’s clear that a lot of love and effort was put into making this movie.

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The cast I’d say are probably decent at best but most of the problems goes to the characters, for the most part there isn’t quite enough material for the actors to be great. Charles Hunnam is a decent actor and he’s okay in the leading role here, albeit quite bland. However his character doesn’t have much to him, the only thing I remembered about him is that he was played by Charlie Hunnam and his brother dies early in the movie. The two performances that stood out the most in the movie for me were Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play over the top eccentric scientists, and Ron Perlman is also entertaining in his few scenes. The rest of the cast I don’t really remember, they don’t really leave much of an impression.

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Guillermo del Toro is the reason why Pacific Rim was as good as it was, it would’ve been a lot weaker without his direction. It is visually stunning, with some beautiful cinematography, great use of colour, as well as detailed production design. The spectacular visual effects have held up quite well even over 7 years later, with the CGI being near perfect. The action sequences are among the parts that stand out the most, and those scenes are really great. The action is very large and does well at showing off the scale and designs of the two opposing forces. It would’ve been so easy for these moments to look like a mess, but with Pacific Rim, you can really get a good look at everything that’s happening on screen. The battles during the night-time are particularly look great. There’s a battle that takes place at night time around halfway through and that’s where it really where the movie took a step up for me. The monsters were greatly designed and detailed (as you can expect from del Toro).

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Pacific Rim is definitely a silly action movie, however it is nonetheless an entertaining blockbuster that knows what it is. Even with the dumb moments and less than stellar characters, it’s directed quite well and generally keeps you watching for the visuals alone. It’s definitely in the lower section of Guillermo del Toro’s filmography but his work here is still impressive. I think it’s worth a watch at the very least, if you haven’t seen it already.

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