When I saw Pacific Rim in the theatre, it was all but done its run. The IMAX 3D had already left town, though I did catch the regular 3D version before it too had departed. Now that it is coming out on DVD, I figure this is probably a good time to review it.
Here’s how I can tell if you are likely to enjoy this movie as much as I did.
1) You love Hellboy and/or Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2) The idea of giant mecha beating the shit out of giant monsters sounds awesome.
If you answer yes to both of those, I’m pretty damn confident you are going to totally dig Pacific Rim. If you answered yes to one of those, you’ll probably enjoy it. This movie delivers what it promises in the trailer: mecha vs. kaiju. It has a lot of failings and weaknesses, but I went into the theatre wanting to see giant mecha fighting giant monsters. That is what I got. It looks awesome. It was hella fun. Sometimes, it was tense.
I’m not going to lie to you: the characters are not deep, and the attempts to make them so are generally about as poorly sketched. It reminded me a lot of some of the anime I’ve seen. I’m not saying all anime has shallow characters (stop the angry cards and letters, . . . first of all because it’s the 21st century and we are way beyond that shit, now we anonymously character assassinate on the internet)
Those of you out there more versed in anime may know if failure in the character depth department is common, and if so, this might be a feature rather than a bug. I used to be floored by the melodrama in Hong Kong “heroic bloodshed” movies or Korean actioners. That’s just part and parcel of the genre. I’m down with it now. It is part of a package that I have learned to love. It may be the same with shallow characters and anime. Guillermo del Toro definitely loves him some anime, so he maybe doing his damnedest to put what he loves up there on the screen.
And don’t expect logical explanations. A buddy of mine mentioned that it kind of bugged him that it was never explained why mecha were the best solution for fighting monsters. Well, I replied, that’s probably because there is no way to explain that, because they never would be the best solution. However, when someone tells me that this is a movie in which dudes in giant battle-machines fight preposterously sized monsters, I pretty much figure things like physics has gone out the window. I’ve already accepted the bonkers premise because even though it is bonkers, the awesome totally outweighs that.
What I saw up there on the screen thrilled me. I loved the fights. I wish there had been more fights. I wish there had been more mecha. I wish there had been fewer “character moments.” However, I can’t think of a movie that I believe was executed to absolute perfection. Nothing’s perfect.
But Pacific Rim is as close as I can reasonably expect. I will be buying the blu-ray (how fitting that I finally invested in a blu-ray player!). I will be watching it again. It won’t be as awesome on my TV as it was on a movie screen, but it will be awesome enough.
I totally love this movie. It is imperfect, but so are all things. It does what I want it to do, and it does that damn well.
I give this movie 4.75 rocket-powered fists out of 5.
You can find more on Pacific Rim here.
You can find more on Hellboy here.
You can find more on Hellboy II: The Golden Army here.