The best episode of Power Rangers meets Godzilla you’ll ever see.
Pacific Rim is Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to the Kaiju (giant monsters) and huge robots Japan is well known for, set in 2020-something, the Earth is under constant attack from these Kaijus who have come out of an interdimensional portal found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, the only way to stop these monsters are ‘Jaegers’ – colossal robots controlled by a pair of humans who join minds using a neurological bridge in order to control these Jaegers. The story focusses on the latter days of this war between humanity and Kaiju, when the situation looks grim.
Written by Del Toro (who also directed the picture) and Travis Beacham Pacific Rim has fun with its already ludicrous premise and oozes cool in its entire runtime. Unexpectedly however, there is some human emotion thrown in and it actually comes off quite well instead of incredibly cheesy and tacked on, this is done by solid acting by the cast and the film’s good use of character.
The film centres on Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) as a former Jaeger pilot who has suffered a tragic loss, whose commanding officer Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) needs to complete one last mission. Rinko Kikuchi plays Mako Mori – Raleigh’s love interest and new partner in the Jaeger. Each of these characters are likable and are played convincingly by each of their respective actors. However, the supporting cast does not perform at the same level, some are good: Max Martini as Herc Hansen, the older of the two Australian Jaeger pilots, Ron Perlman plays a good black marketer in the name of Hannibal Chau and Robert Kazinsky is decent as the younger Australian Jaeger pilot Chuck Hansen. But some of the supporting actors are not up to the same level; Charlie Day’s eager (and ultimately very clever) Dr. Newton Geiszler comes off a little too annoying at times and his scientist partner Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) felt just a little off at times – they weren’t bad, just not good.
The film is all about the rule of cool, not the acting, and this is where it excels: every fight scene, every camera-shot and just everything about the film is a 12-year old boy’s dream (as well as appealing to every grown man’s inner child). Each monster seems intricately designed, like Del Toro hand-picked every attribute, and the same goes for each of the Jaegers, they all excel in different aspects and difficulties in others; it’s like an awesome videogame. There are so many cool effects used throughout the whole film it’s ridiculous, even the rain looks cool. Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, editors Peter Amundson and John Gilroy alond with all the rest of the crew involved in creating the film’s visual and special effects seriously deserve a huge amount of credit and praise.
Pacific Rim however is not a masterpiece, it is silly, some of the acting seems a little off and a couple of the characters felt slightly out of place as the film didn’t require characters to provide the comedy, the film is already more than ridiculous enough as it is. These are just small complaints for what is otherwise a great, fun film that sits easily above its peers and shows what a CGI heavy blockbuster should be (in your face Transformers).
Del Toro’s love letter to the Kaiju and what he loves about Japanese pop-culture is a great film that doesn’t feel like it runs for over two hours at all, you will leave wanting more of the fantastic action sequences interplayed with just the right amount of human emotion and heart, which is something that can’t be said for a lot of films at this length.
Del Toro really has crafted the best Power Rangers vs. Godzilla movie you will likely ever see.
P.S. Do your-self a favour, watch the film in 3D, the effects are amazing.