Monday, September 26, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #82: "Pacific Rim" (2013)

Movie Stats:
Released 2013 (Mexico)
American, in English (translated Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese & Russian)
Director - Guillermo del Toro
Stars - Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba

Plot Summary:
In the not-so-distant future, giant monsters (given the name kaiju, the Japanese word for monster) begin to appear from an undersea trans-dimensional rift and lay waste to coastal cities. In response, humans build giant robots (given the name Jaeger, the German word for hunter) to combat them. Hunnam stars as Raleigh Becket, a Jaeger pilot with a tragic past; Kikuchi as Mako Mori, a wannabe Jaeger pilot with a different, equally tragic past; and Elba as Stacker Pentecost, who runs the Jaeger program.

Major violence; gore; minor blue language.

Bad Stuff:
The dialogue is terrible. I rolled my eyes more than once.

It asks its viewers to suspend a lot of disbelief but did not, in my opinion, give enough reasons to do so. Movie: “We built large robots to combat the monsters.” Me: “Who decided that was the best response?” Movie: “The pilots need to neural link with each other to drive the robots.” Me: “What? Why? How?” And so on. Also: [SPOILER] If the bad guys have levels 1-5 monsters, why, after seeing how comparatively wimpy the humans are, don’t they just send all the 5s and get things done? Why the arbitrary, years-long escalation? And why would they send a pregnant one into combat? [SPOILER]

It has all the tropes.

Pentecost is the worst leader ever. Literally everyone ignores his orders and does whatever they want and he’s like, “I’m really mad,” but doesn’t do anything about it.

Good Stuff:
The special effects are super cool. Three years on, it still looks really good.

It’s got two of my favorite character actors: Clifton Collins, Jr. (as Ops Tech Tendo Choi) and Burn Gorman (as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb).

Good cinematography.

The Verdict:
The first time I saw a trailer for this movie, I thought it looked ridiculous. Then everyone I know went and saw it and thought it was the best movie ever. So, a couple of years after it came out, I finally watched it. And while I didn’t think it was ridiculous, I did think it was completely overrated. A second viewing didn’t change my mind about that. The characters are one-dimensional and poorly developed. The dialogue is bad. It’s all one big cliche, and it’s mindless on top of that. I think the reason people like it so much is because of the giant robots and the special effects. But I remain unimpressed.

I give it 2 stars.


Patricia said...

Not to bring up Filmspotting again, but Adam and Josh had a famous throw-down over this film. It was before I started listening, but they were still talking about it months later and it still gets referred to now and again.

Also, when my friend and I went to see Before Sunset at the Laurelhurst Theater, I ran into other friends Burt and Laurie. Burt was seeing Pacific Rim and Laurie was seeing Before Sunset. I enjoyed their duo solitary movie-going.

balyien said...

I'm still constantly amazed by how many people love this film, and how much they love it. I think Laurie won the duo solitary movie-going lottery on this one.