Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim; sciece-fiction action, USA, 2013; D: Guillermo del Toro, S: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman

Unknown aliens open an inter-dimensional portal, the "Breach", in the Pacific Ocean, from which they send giant monsters, the 'kaiju', to attack and destroy coastal cities, from Seattle through Vladivostok to Hong Kong. People counter by creating giant robots themselves, which will fight them, but they must be piloted by two people with the same mental link. After his pilot Yancy is killed, his co-pilot Raleigh quits the programme, but returns when his superior, Pentecost, creates a plan to throw a nuclear bomb in the portal, in order to shut it down. Raleigh teams up with Japanese pilot Mako, and they pilot a new robot against the 'kaiju'. Though faced with a lot of troubles, they succeed, and shut down the portal.

Just like Gordon's "Robot Jox", Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" is also an American - and live action - movie adaptation of the Japanese 'mecha' genre, where giant robots are piloted by people in order to fight other giant robots or monsters. At first, it is appealing to watch such giants fight in the city or on the sea, yet the fights presented are monotone and banal, and thus after a while the viewers wish they get something more versatile to keep up the interest. Take away the inventive action, sophisticated style and psychological layers from "Evangelion", and you get "Pacific Rim". And take away the big budget special and visual effects from "Pacific Rim" and you get one of the many "Godzilla" B-movie sequels. The first battle in the film is already problematic because it plays out during night, on the sea, between two dark giants - a shark like 'kaiju' and a robot - which makes it difficult to distinguish what is going on. Others are better because they play out in the day or in they illuminated city, yet one can only go so far with a robot and a monster hitting each other with fists. One rare example of more inspiration is when the robot takes a giant ship and uses it as a club to hit the monster on the head. As such, the film is easily accessible, yet bland and overlong 2-hour 'wrestlemania' of the monsters, where the jokes are corny and the characters just one-dimensional, standard extras, with only Mako (brilliant Rinko Kikuchi) there to insert some life and wit into the conventional story.


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