Review: ‘Pacific Rim’ is the epitome of movie magic Special

Posted Jul 12, 2013 by Sarah Gopaul
As a war between mankind and massive sea monsters wages on, a troubled pilot, a haunted rookie and a relic become Earth’s only hope of survival.
A scene from the film Pacific Rim
A scene from the film Pacific Rim
Warner Bros. Pictures
The true reign of the movie monster passed nearly half a century ago, flourishing in the '50s and '60s with fewer examples surfacing in the '70s and '80s. This rule was under the tutelage of legends, particularly special effects artist Ray Harryhausen and director Ishirô Honda. The advancement of CGI has afforded filmmakers the ability to bring their imaginations’ creations to the screen with fewer restrictions, but they no longer strive to evoke the same sense of awe in audiences. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro sets out to recapture the magic these films produced in Pacific Rim – and he blows it out of the water. Literally.
When alien creatures eventually came to take Earth, they didn't come from above. They came from beneath the ocean's floor and they were the size of skyscrapers. We call them Kaijus. To fight them, the world united in developing a powerful defense: Jaegers. These giant robots are manned by two people who must join their minds in a neural bridge to operate the machinery and battle the Kaijus. These pilots are rock stars. But the war is nearing the finish line and it's not going to end in humanity's favour without a major play.
It takes less than 10 minutes to learn this history and get to the first clash of monster vs. robot. And it is breathtaking. It speaks to the adult viewer's inner child, restoring the sense of total amazement that movies haven't inspired in years. Each of the bouts vary enough that they're never dull or repetitive. In addition, the appearance of each of the fighters is different. The Kaijus are influenced by a combination of various species of dinosaurs. The Jaegers each have a unique look and weapons design. Most importantly, every fight feels epic and is absolutely captivating.
Warner Bros. Pictures
A pleasant surprise is the capable story line that holds the audience's attention between action sequences. Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) is a great pilot. He relies on instinct and other teams think he's dangerous (a "Maverick" if you will). This perception is not helped by his insistence on partnering with a rookie (Rinko Kikuchi) who is unstable in the mind meld. But the decision is the marshal's (Idris Elba) and he's made up his mind. In the meantime, a couple of eccentric researchers (Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) think they have the answer to ending the war. The missing piece of the puzzle, however, resides with a slick black market dealer (Ron Perlman).
These actors understand their roles and the type of movie they're making. They and del Toro guide the audience into a fully immersive experience. The initial scene in which the pilots are shown to suit up is exciting. When a Kaiju tears into a Jaeger, their fear and determination fills the theatre. Hunnam, Kikuchi, Elba and the rest of the cast fully embody their characters so the audience doesn't have to try to be there with them – they simply are.
See it in theatres. See it on the biggest screen possible. And revel.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi