Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Go big or go extinct.

Big budget summer blockbusters take many different forms.  There is the remake or adaptation of a beloved book or old movie that puts a modern twist on an old story.  There is the comedy with a group of friends getting into shenanigans.  There is the fun loving animated kid’s movie that costs $260 million to produce.

Then you come to Pacific Rim.

Pacific Rim belongs in a genera of movie that went out of style with the late 80s and early 90s.  It’s an action movie made purely to appeal to the 12-year-old inside all of us.  You know, the kid who played with Legos, Matchbox Cars, Barbie, and Play-doh.  The kid who had to use his or her imagination to make those toys come to life.

Pacific Rim brings to life a future where mankind is on the brink of extinction.  Through the magic of alternate dimensions, aliens known as the Kaiju are slowly invading the Earth.  These massive monsters cause death and destruction on par with the worst wars known to man.

To fight the Kaiju, humanity responds with its own equally large monsters, the mechanical Jeagers.  Able to stem the tide of the Kaiju, the Jeagers are humanity’s bandaid for the alien invasion.

The film is co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, a man who is no stranger to fantastical action movies, having directed the Hellboy movies, Blade2, and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Del Toro has a unique style that often blends cultural and racial lines.   For example, many characters in the film speak both English and Japanese- a touch not often used by directors.

Charlie Hunnam, notable for his roles in Sons of Anarchy and Children of Men, portrays former Jeager pilot Raleigh Becket—a man with a troubled past.  Hunnam’s biggest role to date, he escapes being a two dimensional action star (cough, Channing Tatum, cough) and delivers a solid performance.  Hunnam has a bright future ahead of him in film

Co-starring Idris Elba, Pacific Rim is entirely worth watching just for Elba’s performance.  Known for his intense roles in The Wire and Prometheus, Elba’s performance begins on a low note, but builds up to a very intense and strong performance.

Largely unknown in America, Rinko Kikuchi portrays prospective Jeager pilot Mako Mori.  The most emotional performance in the film, Kikuchi gives hero Raleigh Becket something to fight for—and we, as the audience, want him to win.

The other co-stars in Pacific Rim, the Jeagers and the Kaiju, are characters unto themselves.  The size and scope of them feels truly epic.  They lumber due to their size, yet they look almost graceful and fluid.  If you intend to see the film, do not miss it in theaters.  The magnitude of the Jeagers and Kaiju will be best conveyed on the big screen.

The film does suffer from a few plot holes, however.  Why are the Jeagers bipedal?  Why not make them super large tanks?  Because its cooler that way.  And, ultimately, for a film like this, that is the only answer you need.

So, should you take your children to see Pacific Rim?  As always, that is up to you, parents.  However, here are some things you should consider.

The film is rated PG-13.

There are no sexual scenes or suggestive nudity in the film.  A man takes off his shirt in one scene and a woman gawks, but that is it.

There is mild action-violence in the film.  There is plenty of bright-blue monster blood and guts, but nothing too graphic or mature.  There is a lot of implied destruction and death as the Kaiju attack cities Godzilla-style.  A man is eaten by a Kaiju.

There are mild obscenities in the film.

This movie isn’t for everyone.  If your inner 12-year-old hasn’t been fed in a while, you may not appreciate it.  But for those who are young at heart, Pacific Rim is a fun ride that will make you want to dig out your Transformers from storage.

Pacific Rim scores 3.5/5

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