I’m still grinning.
It’s not very often that so-called ‘Event’ blockbuster movies can completely take me in, and fewer still can lay claim to being an actual event.
Del Toro’s new film, Pacific Rim, does just that.
It geeked out the little kid in me, and totally pleased the grown-up film buff as well.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to get one of the Shogun Warriors, but was never able to, I had a few of the comics, and it was always something special when I got to go over to a friend’s house, and find amongst their toys one of these awesome robots – I would have to play with them, with their rocket fists, their swords, I could imagine them wandering through cityscapes dwarfing everything, as they strode to fight some equally giant monster (I didn’t know the word kaiju then).
I was fascinated by Godzilla, Voltron, Robotech, all of them…
And it’s as if Guillermo was that friend of mine, as if he knew exactly what I saw in my brain when I played with those toys, and translated it into a two-hour thrill ride.
Making fantastic use of 3D and visual effects, del Toro has created a vision of Earth that is being laid siege to. A rift has been opened between two universes, and pouring through it, with increasing regularity are massive beasts, kaiju, that seem intent on wiping us off the planet.
To stop them, we had to create monsters of our own, giant robots, jaegers piloted by two fighters, who share a mental link, called drifting, allowing them to share the mental load of controlling the robot and work together in combat.
Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is one of the best, but after a disasterous encounter with a category 4 kaiju, that ended with the death of his brother, he stepped away, and the world decided to rethink the whole jaeger program. They came up with the moronic idea of building really high walls to keep the kaiju out – politics at work.
So the jaeger program relocates to Hong Kong, with the few remaining robots and their pilots preparing for what the resident scientists Newton (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) are proclaiming will be an extinction level event.
The base is overseen by former jaeger pilot Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and he’s come up with a plan to close the rift, and stop the kaiju.
Becket is paired up with Mako (Rinku Kikuchi), an orphan of the monster war, who’s been raised by Stacker, and despite seeing her potential doesn’t want her in a jaeger. But Becket and Mako have compatible drift and a new team is formed, just as the kaiju occurrences increase.
Newton following a bizarre theory drifts with a kaiju brain, but needs a more recent one to fully connect with, so Stacker sends him off in search of Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman), a kaiju black marketeer.
Meanwhile the team puts their plan into effect while the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The film is fun, loud, and oh, so much fun. The fight sequences are great, but happily del Toro brings all of his talent to bear on the film. Yes, it’s an action sci-fi movie, but like all of his other works, there are moments of comedy, drama, scares, and most important of all, there is a story at work here with character arcs, human moments that help to differentiate the film from the other flushable summer fare that is out there.
This one was sheer cinematic eye candy for me, del Toro brought the best toys to the Summer of 2013 and he let us all play with them.
I think I’ll be seeing this one again very soon.
What did you think?