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July 20, 2013

Movie: Pacific Rim (2013)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:48 pm

imagesA very interesting film. If you look at the trailers or the blurbs, it looks like a Robot vs Aliens kind of movie and while I enjoy mindless action as much as the next man, I would not be particularly enthralled with the action movie with no story other than to set up combat situations (Hansel vs Gretel: Witch Hunters, or Cowboys Vs Aliens come to mind).

But this is different, and the robots are not what you think. Therein lies the difference that elevates this film to a higher plane.

The second thing that makes this movie nice is that Guillermo del Toro  seems to have the touch of James Cameron and Steven Spielberg before him where you tell a story in two dimensions. The first one is the large scale picture of epic things happening (think Titanic or Avatar for Cameron and ET for Spielberg) while, in parallel, a second human dimension seems to unfold in an equally captivating fashion. You get the mix right, and you have a good film on your hands, which is eminently watchable and also is a hit. This movie, in my opinion, manages to get it right.

The story is that of a rift under the Pacific Ocean that opens the door to another dimension. Through these, a monster comes in and manages to destroy a huge portion of San Francisco and a lot of people before it is defeated and killed.

When mankind (which means mankind living in US as far as Hollywood is concerned) realizes that this is just the first of a series, they name the monsters Kaiju (Japanese for Monster) and build huge robots named  Jaeger (pronounced like ‘Yager’ and Spanish for Robot) to fight them. For a while they seem to have the upper hand as when one of these pop up, mankind is able to destroy them. The robots are really a clever vehicle for pilots (more advanced than the exoskeletons that Cameron is fond of and used in both of the above movies mentioned).

Raleigh and Yancy, brothers, are the most talented of the warriors. What is cool about this is that they realize that there need to be two pilots for each Jaeger, and that they will be linked by brain to each other and will know everything there is to know about each other. When one of the brothers is killed in action against a particularly vicious Kaiju, the other one ‘feels’ it and is so traumatized that he gives up the fight.

When mankind tries to build a wall in the West Coast against them coming from the sea, he joins them but finds that it is futile. The next Kaiju simply breaks open the massive wall and destroys the city.

Now, he is coaxed back and teams up with a Japanese girl called Mako Mori in Hong Kong for another go with an advanced version of Jaegars. Meanwhile the Kaijus being sent are more and more advanced (Type 2, 3, 4 etc)

The movie is fabulous, with the ‘science’ and the action being well told. It mixes the human element and especially memories of Mako Mori as a child (one of the most spellbinding performances by a child star in recent times – done by Mana Ashida )  are totally riveting.

The force, in true Hollywood fashion decide to risk everything and close the portal once for all.

The scientists are interesting – as is the story that seems to suggest that their ideas (connecting to the brain of a dead Kaiju to link to their species for instance) as dangerous and a genius idea alternately. You also see  Ron Perlman as Hannibal Chau, a recognizable Hellboy in both looks and mannerisms.

There is a lot of comedy, especially with the geeky scientists Dr Newton Geiszler and Gottlieb and their escapades in Hong Kong.

Nice touches abound, and the movie is very enjoyable.

 

It deserves  a 7/10

 

— Krishna

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