Thursday, July 11, 2013

PACIFIC RIM: Not a "Transformers" Clone, It Was Better.

July 11, 2013

I was so ready not to like "Pacific Rim". It seemed just like another one of those giant robot movies that are just all noise and explosions, nothing else. Fortunately though, it was a good thing that this was the only movie about to start when I got to the mall this morning. It turns out that this is so much better than the "Transformers" clone I was afraid it would be.

"Pacific Rim" takes place in the near future, and the world is under attack from gigantic monsters coming from beneath the depths of the Pacific Ocean, called Kaiju. Manila was one of the cities mentioned to have been attacked by the \destructive Kaiju.

As the tagline tells us, "to fight the monsters, we created monsters." These are in the form of so-called giant mechanical fighting soldiers called Jaegers, controlled by the skills of human controllers.  The team dedicated to fighting these destructive creatures are based in Hong Kong. The soldiers were all hot-headed and macho heroic types, led by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba). The scientists were portrayed as nerdy and caricature-ish comic relief, led by Dr. Newton Geizler (Charlie Day). 

The central character is Raleigh Becket, who had previously retired from the Jaegers when his brother and partner died in battle. He was portrayed by Charlie Hunnam, who was not too familiar to me, just another generic blonde Hollywood hunk actor. His face could have been interchangeable with any of the other Caucasian fighters in there, not too distinct.

The lead female character is Mako Mori, an aspiring Jaeger fighter, with a painful past. She is portrayed by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, who we should remember was nominated for Best Supporting Actress back in 2006 for her role in "Babel". Here, she appeared to be confused on how to properly portray her role, so she did not come across too strongly as her character should have been.

Despite these casting and characterization flaws though, the movie as a whole still turned out very well. Director Guillermo del Toro faced such a challenge to execute a script that dangerously flirted with disaster, deriving obvious inspirations with not only "Transformers," but also "Godzilla", "Real Steel", "Armageddon," and even "Voltes V."!  He succeeded to create within this borrowed material enough heart to make audiences root for the good guys and care if they save the planet or not. 

When I was watching as the movie went along, it did matter too much anymore that the acting was not too good, or that the scenes looked familiar, or that the lines get corny. The movie was actually engrossing and entertaining. The special effects of the monster battles on both land and sea were of epic proportions. The whole thing worked overall, and that is what matters in the end. 7/10.

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