Robots? Check. Giant monsters? Check. No unnecessary silly love story based around the human protagonist? Check. Giant robots and monsters share the spotlight in this film, which should have fans craving for action sighing in relief.
If you’re looking for a summer blockbuster contender, “Pacific Rim” should definitely be on the top of your list of movies to see. Director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan's Labyrinth”) masterfully executed direction of the film. Del Toro manages to blend non-stop action, with just enough elements of backstory and subplots to appease moviegoers who love to pay attention to detail while focusing on what most of us are there for -- to watch robots beat the living daylights out of giant monsters.
The film brings you up to speed immediately, establishing the backstory with a voiceover narration explaining how the human-piloted giant robots, called Jaegers, came to be as a response to giant sea monsters, known as Kaiju. As the Jaegers won more and more battles against the Kaiju, their pilots became rock stars, until the monsters started gaining the upper hand, slowly unraveling the Jaeger program and its army of giant robots. Years later, the Jaeger program is on its last legs and Earth’s cities are falling apart from growing Kaiju attacks. The world turns to the last remaining Jaeger pilots, including a washed-up ex-pilot, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), and an inexperienced but skilled trainee, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), among others, to turn the tide of battle.
From the moment you’re first introduced to the Jaegers, a sense of nostalgia calls back to childhood memories of watching many Japanese anime series and television shows centered on giant robots, including “Gundam,” and “Voltron,” and an even deeper connection to the Japanese film genre Kaiju, especially the “Godzilla” series of films.
For the anime-lovers, geeks, nerds and nerds-at-heart, this film very much acts as a love letter. The action sequences of the Jaegers fighting the Kaiju are full of destruction and mayhem. But, unlike the indiscernible blobs of metal of “Transformers,” you can actually see what is going on in each action sequence.
It was surprising how well del Toro manages to feature the Jaeger pilots, without detracting attention from the Jaegers mercilessly fighting against the relentless Kaiju. After a while, the pilots blend seamlessly into the Jaegers, becoming a part of these giant robots rather than a distraction.
Where the film really excels is its ability to touch on subjects without beating you over the head with them. For example, two scientists, Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Herman Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), are introduced in the movie to delve into the science behind the Kaiju attacks, but the film doesn’t dwell on their explanation for more than a couple minutes, bringing you back to the action as fast as possible.
If you’re going into the film expecting a deep and dense storyline, don’t. The plot isn’t dumbed down by any means, but it isn’t so dense that moviegoers looking to forget about the real world for a couple hours won't be turned off. It is, in essence, everything a summer blockbuster should be. As for whether or not to see the film in IMAX 3D, the cinematography lends itself well to the format, blending the 3D effect to become a part of the story, rather than something in your face, and that's where “Pacific Rim” truly excels. The film manages to do a lot of things that work together to strengthen its focus on the real stars -- the Jaegers and the Kaiju.
“Pacific Rim” hits theaters Friday, July 12. Watch the trailer below and let us know what makes you excited for “Pacific Rim” in the comments.