In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in the culture of hype. As a person who is reviewing a work or giving a recommendation of some type of material, there is always the risk of overselling. People stop heeding what you have to say after a while if you make a habit of reveling in hyperbole. The best practice is to abstain from crying wolf. It’s usually good form to just be cool and calm; keeping those few bullets of über-praise chambered for special occasions. Well, currently these concerns don’t really matter as I am going to fire off my last remaining fanboy ammo and give you my earnest initial reaction after seeing Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D on opening night:
PACIFIC RIM IS THE MOST AMAZING THING I’VE EVER SEEN IN A THEATER.
Cot damn. Holy Mother of God. We came into this movie with realistic expectations as we have been tracking this movie for about a year. We were sold from the first pitch, Guillermo del Toro, one of the great multi-genre fantasy directors of our time, was giving life to all of our childhood fantasies: giant robots fighting giant monsters. So that is what we were looking forward to; a solid summer popcorn movie, no more, no less —Kaiju-battling gigantor robot mecha porn. Oh, how we would soon be blown out of the water (pun intended).
It’s scale is massive, exhilarating and terrifying. GDT masters the issues of weight, scale and mass as you can feel the hugeness, the enormity. Proportions, perspective, space and light are carefully considered which add to its realism and keeps it from being just another superimposed, cut-and-paste, CGI bukkake. The director also understands that there needs to be pain behind the annihilation and action. The problem with films like Man of Steel (whose technical achievement was as mind-boggling but lacked the x-factor in the final product) and Star Trek into Darkness, and so many others, is that there is a whole bunch of desensitized destruction without any emotional weight, pathos or consequence. This current trend of “demo porn” in blockbusters in a post-9/11 era is bizarre. I’m over it. But not with this one. Don’t get me wrong, this ain’t To Kill a Mockingbird when it comes to emotional capacity but it sure as hell succeeds more than the majority. The action and mayhem of Pac Rim is relentless and satisfying but you don’t feel guilty or hollow indulging in it, in this case. There were moments where I was left slack-jawed for a battle sequence’s duration. My body vibrated as I vacated Lloyd Cinemas.
But back to the emotive string pulling. At times, it almost borders on maudlin and mawkish, definitely sappy and sentimental. It is cheesy BUT it has heart. My 3D glasses fogged up at least three times as I strained to hold back the tears during those gooey and saccharine scenes. I hated myself for that, as I felt stupid for succumbing to the schmaltz. It’s a surreal feeling being weepy in a pop movie. But it works. In particular, a flashback scene which is heart-wrenching enough.
Idris Elba aka Stringer Bell is convincing, commanding, and his usual suave self. I would most likely let the fierce actor lead me into battle. Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy‘s Dax, is serviceable as the hero/lead and is really likable. I found myself invested in the character and rooting for him. You will too. Ron Perlman is over-the-top, sometimes awful, but ultimately entertaining. Charlie Day is annoying yet funny. This is a huge role for him as he gets a ton of play. Newcomer Rinko Kikuchi as rookie, Mako Mori, is strong yet adorable. Kikuchi is absolutely charming, I look forward to seeing more of her.
I can’t help but feel that we are lucky to exist in our advanced era –to witness an achievement and visual masterpiece of this magnitude. There needs to be a new word for “epic” because dum-dums have utterly diluted the word. Your only choice is to go see it in IMAX 3D. Anything less than the prescribed format would be disrespectful and a waste. I was surprised to hear the film was post-converted but it’s the best 3D I’ve ever seen. I’m not even an ardent 3D fan, and this may sound naive, but it’s not only a money-grabbing marketing gimmick here; it’s an immersive and mind/body altering experience. The degree of intricate detail amazes. The 2D trailers and stills just don’t do it justice and I can’t imagine watching it on DVD or on a television in the future, it would spoil the film and not do it justice. Maybe that makes it flawed but I’m fine with it. It’s your duty and privilege to see it in the right way, it would only be appropriate as it is magical sauce on that giant and deep screen.
I want this one to win some technical award at the Oscars. Hell, give it an Emmy, Grammy (by the way, the sound and score delivers), and Espy. It is worthy of the effusive praise it has been receiving:
- Los Angeles Times: Review: In ‘Pacific Rim,’ Del Toro makes magic with monsters
- The New Yorker: SHOW THE MONSTER: Guillermo del Toro’s quest to get amazing creatures onscreen
- Tested: Holy Crap I Loved Pacific Rim by Adam Savage
- Kotaku: Hideo Kojima Reviews Pacific Rim In Eight Tweets
- Time: Pacific Rim: Transformers Transcended
I loved this film so much I’m dragging my dad next week, as I will be viewing it for the second time around. The man has not been inside a movie theater since Lethal Weapon 2. Or was it Dragnet? The IMAX 3D and sound is going to melt his 74-year old brain.
I don’t think this is just one for the fanboy geeks with Peter Pan Syndrome. I think most moviegoers will enjoy this one. If you think this is some Transformers knock-off then you are seriously misinformed. It genuinely irks me to find that people hold this misconception as the Transformers sequels are pure tripe. Honestly, it’s going to be awkward for me when I interact with those that didn’t enjoy this offering. To each his own? I will just have to conclude that they might be dead within or have previously suffocated their inner child.
Go see this sucker…NOW. It needs to be rewarded with your hard-earned money. All Hail GDT. TODAY, WE ARE CANCELING THE APOCALYPSE.