Every now and then, a movie comes along with a premise that is so awesomely badass that it leaves you chomping at the bit to see it after the first trailer. Heck, sometimes it only needs a poster to give you a serious action stiffy.
That’s where Pacific Rim comes in.
A Guillermo Del Toro film, Pacific Rim is the movie that we’ve always thought existed, but didn’t. What do I mean? Well, an idea as gnarly and awesome as giant monsters smashing through a city while fighting giant robots with the fate of humanity on the line is so inherently cool that you’d have to just assume it had been done before on this scale. But it hasn’t. Pacific Rim is the movie that speaks to the inner child in all of us nerds and action-seekers across the board. It’s the film we’ve always wanted to see, even though we didn’t know it.
So other than giant robots, known as Jaegers, fighting a lineup of abominable monsters, known as Kaiju, what is Pacific Rim actually about? That’s a great question. While someone like me could — and absolutely would — pay to watch two hours of pure Jaeger vs. Kaiju destruction, the average movie-goer needs to know who is doing what, for whom, and why. Whatever.
Pacific Rim, at its core, tells the story of the soldiers brave enough to do what is right in order to save humanity from a terrifying threat, even without the support of the governments they’re fighting to save. Struggling with the loss of his brother and co-pilot, Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff), Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is called upon by his former commander, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), to once again pilot the mighty Jaeger, Gipsy Danger, in a last-ditch effort to save Earth from the menacing Kaiju.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well it is, and it isn’t. It’s a little bit Top Gun and a little bit Independence Day. It’s a little bit Godzilla, obviously, but not at all Cloverfield, thankfully. There are some twists and turns, even some excellent subplot stuff going on with a duo of scientists (Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) and a black market Kaiju remains dealer (Ron Perlman). For you manga/anime lovers, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) has you covered, and I’ll leave it at that.
Charlie Hunnam carries the weight of the world on his shoulders convincingly. He has moments of brilliance akin to some of his best Sons of Anarchy moments, but there are definitely some cheesy moments as well. To be quite honest, that’s fine with me. Most of the movies we love here at Everything Action are full of awkward moments, plot holes, and one-liners. If anything, even at its lowest moments, Pacific Rim is right in our wheelhouse in the very best of ways. Idris Elba shines as a conflicted and supremely hard-nosed leader with strong morals and a sense of duty. Without question, he is consistently the one to watch on the screen.
Of course, there’s also the battles. Sweet lord, the battles! If ever there was a summer movie to see in 3D, this is the one. The battles are epic, huge, long, and brutal. Basically everything you look for in a giant monster versus robot brawl. The sense of grandeur and scale is truly impressive, as are the visual effects. Though it seems obvious, it cannot be stressed enough how cool these sequences are. Watching Gipsy Danger go Barry Bonds on a Kaiju in downtown Hong Kong will have you asking, “Optimus who?”.
Long story short, Pacific Rim is everything that you want it to be and a little bit more. While it is certainly on track to be a big box office success (they’re already working on the sequel), I have a feeling that it will enjoy cult classic status sooner rather than later, too. This movie will be quoted, screened, and most likely become a staple of AMC’s now legendary daytime movie lineup. Pacific Rim is as epic and impressive as expect it to be, with a few awesome surprises and killer performances, but with cheese and a healthy dose of 1950’s B-Movie charm that we love.
Monsters. Versus. Robots.