Last Level Press

Film Review: Pacific Rim

Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo

2013: an alien being we call a Kaiju rises from the Pacific Ocean, and destroys San Francisco. With conventional weapons, it takes six days to finally kill it. As more Kaiju appear, the richest and most powerful nations on the planet unite their resources to develop advanced mechs, which we call Jaegers.

2020: the largest Kaiju seen thus far takes out a Jaeger in such a way that shows that they are responding to our resistance, and adapting to our attacks.

2025: the richest nations of the world decide that the best alternative to the increasing destruction of Jaegers is to build a massive wall that encloses the Pacific, to keep humanity safe, rather than continue to fund the Jaeger project.  It failed.  The last four remaining Jaegers in existence are what stands between humanity’s survival or its extinction.

To say that Pacific Rim is a sight to behold is an understatement. The Kaiju, named after the Japanese word meaning “giant beast,” hold true to the name given to them, as they are massive and grotesque creatures of unbelievable size and strength, and appear to have similar physical characteristics to animals in our world, but still maintain that they are truly alien. The Jaegers, our primary line of defense, are equally impressive mechs that are such impossibilities, yet retain a certain feeling of realism in their movements, their control, and their creation. When two of these behemoths engage in battle, the world is their arena, and it’s almost nauseating to see the reaction when they collide.

The soundtrack is, as you might expect, militaristic and industrial in sound. The tones are deep and loud when Jaegers and Kaiju fight, and matches the feeling you should get when two behemoths fight. The music does a good job of never sounding patriotic or prideful, because this isn’t a battle of national pride or a fight to honor one’s nation; it’s a war of survival, for the existence of our species, and it’s not a war that America can, should, or could, fight alone. It can get a bit hammy at times, but it’s to be expected, because damn it all if we’re going to lose.

The story is straightforward, and it explains the things it needs to. Before the opening title even appears on screen, we’re given essentially the first two sentences of my opening paragraph in greater detail, as we see not only how we fight, but how humanity capitalizes on the phenomenon: toys of the enemy are created for children to enjoy, Jaeger pilots are rock stars, people react to our victories as you would expect people to react. We’re never told everything, and it’s fine because we don’t need to know, and what we are given without verbal explanation we can simply infer.  For example, the Jaegers are controlled with at least two pilots sharing a neural link since a single human mind cannot withstand the intense mental pressure of controlling a giant robot.  We know how the link works in practice and what is required to perform in combat, but we’re never explicitly told how this technology was developed or how it is able to work. It presents a logical reasoning for why it’s set up as it is, but doesn’t delve into the technical stuff because it’s not important for the story.

Given the nature of the movie, everyone is very cartoonish. More often than not, you’ll find yourself amused at the cheesy lines and hammy acting, but it works for the film. Yes, the survival of the human race in the face of complete eradication is not typically a laughing matter, but it’s better to go into this film with the mentality of how people acted in Independence Day or Top Gun rather than something darker and more serious in its tone. Despite the cheese ball lines, it feels fun when you hear the “hold the line!” type of speech, or when the egotistical pilot acts so cocksure in front of an old veteran who hasn’t been in a Jaeger in years, or even the “it was an honor, sir” type of lines that you should feel emotional for, but it doesn’t really have that type of effect. The personality and humor of the film can be found in its side characters, my particular favorites being the diametrically opposed scientists who have mutual respect (or something like that) and the glitzy black market millionaire played by Ron Perlman, whom, I must admit, had a unique theme music that was a blend of old cowboy western musical cues with Asian instruments.

The enjoyment of this film is definitely in the experience. It’s absolutely a must that if you don’t see this in theaters, then you better have a dark room, a big TV, and some kickass surround sound. Anime fans, this will be the closest that  Hollywood will ever get to making a live-action giant mech film and NOT screwing it up because it has a name like Evangelion or Gundam attached to it, so do yourself a favor, and gather some friends to see this. If you are or ever were a fan of old Japanese monster flicks and want to see something that isn’t the letdown that Cloverfield was, buy a ticket to see this film. If you’re into big action or sci-fi films, this is a film that you need to see. See it just to argue about how wrong I am in every regard, but at least pay money to go and do so. If the Xbox One has taught us anything, it’s that companies respond to our wallets more than our words, and we need to send Hollywood a message that we want to see more films like this.

Rating: 8.0

Visuals: 8
Audio: 7
Narrative: 8
Acting: 7
Atmosphere & Experience:

  Director: Guillermo del Toro

  Producer: Guillermo del Toro

  Studio: Legendary Pictures

  Release Date (U.S.):  July 12, 2013

  Release Date (U.K.):  July 4, 2013

  Release Date (JP):  N/A

Final Verdict:


Share this page:

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google Bookmarks
Share on Reddit
Share on Stumble Upon
Share on LiveJournal
Share on Digg
Share via e-mail

Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.   | Legal Notices

comments powered by Disqus