Who doesn’t like giant robots?
If you ever watched the old Japanese movies/shows featuring Gozilla or Ultraman or other monsters fighting or generally wreaking havoc on the cities underneath them, then Pacific Rim is the movie for you.
As a kid, I thought the giant robots were the coolest thing ever. At least, until Star Wars came out.
I even owned one of these giant Shogun Warriors that came out in the late 70s (yes, I know, I’m old). While I had Raydeen, a neighborhood friend had Mazinga, and both were pretty cool. I mean, these were toys that were almost two feet tall! And, they shot rockets! (This was before the industry took shooting plastic projectiles out of toys because some kids were shooting the projectiles at each other.)
Pacific Rim, to me, is an homage to those old monster/robot fighting movies. It’s a summer popcorn movie that’s big on action and visual effects and, of course, giant monsters fighting with giant robots.
On that score, for the most part, Pacific Rim delivers big time. The monsters are massive, and there’s a bit of variety to them (although it’s never explained how, once detected, they have nicknames). The machines are equally massive. The destruction scenes are nothing short of spectacular. IMAX, natch, takes things to an even bigger scale.
The story is pretty basic. Monsters, named Kaiju, start rising from the sea and attacking coastal cities around the Pacific Ocean, causing massive amounts of damage and costing millions of lives. To combat the Kaiju, humanity combines their resources to build “monsters” of their own: Massive robots, called Jaegers. Jaegers are piloted simultaneously by two pilots who are neurally linked. The war begins, and for awhile, the Jaegers prove extremely successful.
Eventually, though, something changes. The Kaiju begin to adapt, and they begin taking out the Jaegers. Humanity’s leaders opt to look for other options and leave the Jaeger program to fend for themselves. There are no real surprises to the story; you won’t find any Oscar caliber material here. This is a movie about giant robots and monsters, remember?
One of the only downsides to the film I found is that, like Transformers, the fights occasionally zoom in so close that it’s fuzzy about what part of the monster is hitting the robot. Part of that is that most of the fights happen at night in the rain and near the shore, so both monsters and robots are at least partially submerged in water.
I’m sure part of the decision to bring things in close is to make the audience feel like part of the action. It’s a little disappointing though to not see a few wider shots though, to get a bigger perspective that the robot and monster are tearing up a city while they’re fighting. It also seems strange that the Kaiju have ranged attacks but the Jaegers do not (or at least, don’t seem to use them).
There were a couple of minor things that bothered me, but they start getting into taking apart the plot. Pacific Rim is one of those movies where you shouldn’t get lost in the details of the plot because they will hurt your head.
Pacific Rim is a great summer action popcorn movie. It’s long on action and visual effects and short on plot, which, when it comes to giant monsters fighting giant robots, is just the way we like it.