PACIFIC RIMDirector: Guillermo Del Toro
Actors: Charlie Hunnam
Genre: Action & Adventure
Run Time: 132 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Amyliabedelia Grade: A+
Plot Summary: A ragtag band of humans band together in the year 2025 to fight legions of monstrous creatures rising from the sea. Using massive piloted robots to combat the alien threat, earth’s survivors take the fight to the invading alien force lurking in the depth of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless enemy, the forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee – who now stand as earth’s final hope against the mounting apocalypse.
ARE YOU READY TO CANCEL THE APOCALYPSE?
As my friends can attest, I love this movie. LOVE. This. Movie. If I could see this movie all day everyday I probably would, but since I am a ‘functioning’ person, I cannot. But why? The plot is dumb. ‘It’s just Godzilla vs. Transformers’ my friends complain to me. ‘Hush up’, I snap back, ‘and prepare to listen’.
In the future massive alien beasts called the Kaiju have emerged from a rift in the ocean floor, sending humanity into a mad scramble to survive. Their solution? Giant robots piloted by two people whose minds are linked together. These giant robots – called Jaegers – engage the Kaiju directly, preventing them from making it to land. Over time however the Kaiju have become more evolved, and it’s becoming harder and harder to push the invaders back. In a last ditch effort to save the world, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) recruits veteran Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnan) to pilot one of the last remaining Jaegers in the world. That’s right – humanity’s solution is literally to fight aliens with the power of friendship.
Pacific Rim’s fight sequences and overinflated technology is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws to this movie. The visuals are stunning, and each fight between Jaeger and Kaiju amps up the ante, unleashing new moves for each one. While I enjoy watching robots and aliens pummel the crap out of each other, I love Pacific Rim because of the emotions behind it, silly as that may sound.
The ‘hero’ of the story is Raleigh Becket, who loses his brother in the films exposition and gives up Jaeger piloting as a result. This is doubly traumatic – jaeger pilots have to link on every level, physical and emotional. Raleigh believes that he has lost his co-pilot, and quickly fades into obscurity to work on the wall, a bureaucratic response to the Kaiju invasion (hint: it doesn’t work). While his backstory is super predictable I was pleasantly surprised by Raleigh’s character. When he is introduced to Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) his future co-pilot, he treats her with respect and deference. It is so REFRESHING to see such a humble, well-characterized ‘hero’ of an action film. Usually they just do whatever they want to do, spewing misogyny and getting the girl anyway. This doesn’t happen here! Mako and Raleigh’s relationship is far more friend/friend or mentor/student than girlfriend/boyfriend. Let me repeat that: HE RESPECTS HER. THEY ARE FRIENDS AND COWORKERS AND DON’T END UP TOGETHER. But such a thing is typical for Pacific Rim, which at its core is about relationships.
The movie may be billed as an action film, but it has a huge heart behind it. I watch it and I think of all the important relationships in my life – siblings, friends, family – and all the way that we work together. Sure the characters in Pacific Rim are just that – characters. But they feel so real. They have to struggle to work together, and nothing comes easily for them.
Moving away from the story aspect of Pacific Rim, this movie also deserves recognition for its fantastic shots. As I said before, the visuals are stunning. The Shatterdome (the home base for humanity’s last stand) reminds me of a World War 2 bunker. It’s a refreshing change from all the futuristic movies that I see today, where interiors seem to be composed almost entirely of white chrome. Pacific Rim is a movie based on people’s sweat, tears and blood. Nothing about it is pretty, but it’s such an effective visual piece.
Guillermo Del Toro has often been hailed for his visions and in depth world building. Pacific Rim is no different. We are treated to decades of backstory in twenty minutes, and he considers how finances would work, how popular culture would absorb the jaegers and the ‘celebrity’ of jaeger pilots. It’s amazing the amount of detail that he manages to create in such a short time – Hong Kong’s bone slums, for example, are just a small piece of the movie that has a powerful impact. Del Toro manages to build a world that feels lived in, even if you’ve only seen it in a minute.
Pacific Rim is a movie about people, first and foremost. It’s about humanity deciding to work together to keep out a threat, and they do it in the best of ways – by creating literal soul bonds. That’s awesome. This movie is awesome, and I could probably keep going on and on about how important this movie is to me, but I should stop now. Please, go watch Pacific Rim. If you think it’s just another dumb action movie, that’s fine. But if you think it’s as brilliant as I do, then please drop by my inbox.