Let me get this out of the way: I absolutely LOVED Pacific Rim. It does have problems, most of which are story related and which I will touch on briefly later, but the action is beautiful, the designs are amazing, and when it gets the character and emotions right, boy, it gets it right! If you’re a fan of Godzilla movies, giant robots, action sci-fi, or anime (especially if you’re a fan of anime), don’t bother wasting any more time reading this and just go watch the movie. It’s very different than what we normally get from Guillermo del Toro, whose previous hits have all been fantasy movies, but despite the genre change it’s still carries a lot of his trademarks and is a fantastic movie.
Pacific Rim is set in a future where humanity has been fighting a war against the Kaiju, a mysterious race of giant creatures who come through an alien gateway in the Pacific Rim. In order to deal with the threat of the Kaiju, humanity developed giant humanoid machines called Jaegers. Each Jaeger is controlled by two pilots because the mental strain that it places on a single pilot is too much for a single pilot to bear. The main story starts where humanity is nearing the brink of destruction. The Jaegers, which once proved so effective at destroying the Kaiju, are slowly getting destroyed as the Kaiju attacks increase. Raleigh, a retired Jaeger pilot, is brought back into the fold when humanity faces it’s darkest hour.
- Great visuals and designs
- Damn good prologue
- Awesome sound
- Great atmosphere (Del Toro really succeeds in capturing the feeling of desperation as humanity fights to survive)
- Almost all of the main characters are interesting enough for you to engage with
- Epic action on a large scale that is fantastic to watch (Michael Bay, if you plan to do more Transformers movies you can learn from this)
- One: giant robots, and two: giant robots
- Really, I could go on for days how this is basically an anime fan’s wet dream (the references to anime, the way the pilots use verbal commands to perform specific special attacks, the character archetypes, etc.)
- Overuse of stereotypes
- Strange moments of comedy that feel out of place
- Non-American Jaeger pilots needed more screen time
- Some weird plot decisions
- Some gaping plot holes
- Some annoying performances
- Science be damned! No, seriously, there’s one major plot point/hole where something occurs and everyone I know thought “Wait, what?”
Movie Rating: I was pretty excited to see Pacific Rim, and despite it’s flaws it didn’t leave me feeling disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to go see it again as soon as I can find the time. As I said at the start of this review, it’s basically a mashup of Godzilla and mecha (giant robot) anime (in particular Evangelion, of which there are some shots/ideas that are used that will definitely stand out), so you should definitely go check this movie out if you like either of those things. Basically, if you’re a geek, you HAVE to go watch this movie. If you’re not a geek but enjoy big scale action movies (like Transformers) you should also go check this out.