INCLUDE_DATA

PACIFIC RIM: Dumb fun but that’s about it

Posted on July 22nd, 2013
Posted on July 22nd, 2013

by Coop Cooper

Giant robots smashing Godzilla-sized monsters. It’s a summer movie combo made in heaven and “Pacific Rim” delivers, but in a strange twist, it also got critics excited. Not because the giant robot/monster thing hadn’t been done before (critics including me really hated the increasingly poor “Transformers” films), but this project had an acclaimed director, Guillermo del Toro (the “Hellboy” films, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone”) who has a knack for pleasing both critics and audiences. Does he succeed with “Pacific Rim?” Almost.

The story takes place in the future after a dimensional gateway opens up in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, unleashing giant monsters nicknamed ‘kaiju’ after the pantheon of monsters from the “Godzilla” series of films. These monsters begin to lay waste to all Pacific coastal cities and the militaries of the world are unequipped to destroy them without causing massive collateral damage. Enter the ‘Jaeger’ (‘hunter’ in German) program in which all first world countries design and deploy their own massive robots to destroy the kaiju when they emerge. Jaegers are piloted by a two-person team who must be compatible via a risky ‘neural handshake’ which binds the pilots memories and abilities so they can control the complex machine in unison. When the kaiju attacks begin to escalate in intensity and size, the American Jaeger robot, codenamed ‘Gipsy (sic) Danger’ suffers a fatal blow when pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) loses his co-pilot brother in a battle. Years later when the world is nearly at its end, program leader Pentecost (Idris Elba) re-hires Becket to pilot the new Gipsy Danger and break in a new co-pilot Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) in a last-ditch attempt to close the dimensional gateway.

It’s a really neat idea suffering from a few annoying problems that could’ve made it the perfect summer movie. First off, it went far too long between battles. Character interaction was not the film’s strong point. All of them were goofy clichés and they brought the story to a screeching halt whenever they had to have any heart-to-heart conversations. Only near the very end did the film find any character heart, but by they it was too late and it quickly dissolved once the action kicked in.

The acting was also dreadful. From all of his acclaim on the cable show “Sons of Anarchy,” I thought “Pacific Rim” lead Charlie Hunnam would bring a bit of high art class to the summer effects-fest. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He dogged it as did nearly the entire cast which added up to some cringe-worth performances. Even worse was his co-star Rinko Kikuchi who didn’t speak good enough English to pull off her role. I would’ve preferred she spoke in Japanese with subtitles the whole time but we all know that’s not allowed for more than a couple of scenes in a Hollywood film. Between Hunnam’s corny Captain America routine and Kikuchi’s puppy dog stares and ‘what did she say?’ dialogue, I’m thankful there was (eventually) enough robot action to cover them. Actually, everyone with a foreign accent in this film were hard to understand. I have an excellent ear for accents – years of practice – but I had to listen closely to understand even the Australians in this one.

Idris Elba as Jaeger team leader Pentecost still continues to be an overrated fan favorite and he added no likability to the film. Only comedic relief Charlie Day as a wacky kaiju-studying scientist and Ron Perlman as Hannibal Chau, a black market kaiju organ dealer, breathed any life into the listless cast.

The film’s saving grace was the set design, the monsters, the robots, the action and the special effects. Those things carried the weight of the entire film and were sorely missed in the middle (nearly a full hour) when the characters trained, postured and had meaningless conversations. It was absolutely brainless but when the robots and monsters start wailing on each other, it really livens up, especially during the exciting finale. I very rarely say this, but the 3-D was worth the extra money this time. These kind of visuals, with all of the bright colors and set pieces really show off what the 3-D technology is capable of. So going by my logic, it’s best for pretty, mindless sci-fi films. I’m including “Avatar” in that same category.

It’s a nice distraction for the kids and might turn them onto the giant robot/monster thing like Godzilla, Ultraman, Spectreman, Robotech, Shogun Warriors and all of those films, TV shows and toys did for me and my generation. “Pacific Rim” had enough of that cool stuff to keep me entertained, but I’m disappointed del Toro couldn’t get some better performances out of his cast or keep the momentum going in the middle.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

No Comments •

Comments

Search
Search Form
Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 A Night of Horror Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival
2017 Southern States Indie FanFilmFest

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
Follow Coop on Twitter...
    follow me on twitter
    Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
    Archives
    Subscribe via Email!

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Subscribe via RSS feed!