Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pacific Rim

By Sati. Tuesday, July 23, 2013 , , , , , , ,

Let me say this upfront - I don't mind silly movies. Just few days ago I had a great time watching Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. It was dumb, but at least it wasn't boring. This is pretty much the minimum I ask of summer film - to entertain. So when I was checking my text messages during Pacific Rim, I knew that it failed for me.

When I saw the trailer for Pacific Rim I knew I wanted to see that - it looked cool and Idris Elba, for whom I'd see anything, was in it. It also looked pretty unique, considering how it is Guillermo del Toro's film and he usually has something new or different to show to the audience. Well, unfortunately, Pacific Rim's silliness crossed the boundaries of my endurance and its potential uniqueness was beaten to death with the piling cliches.
The plot is simple - one day monsters called Kaiju emerge from the sea and attack humans. Humans build big robots - Jaegers, to retaliate. The robots are controlled by two pilots, located inside them. The pilots have special helmets and through them they have a bond of memories etc. For some time it works and the threat seems to be gone - humans win more and more battles. And then Kajiu attack again.

The main problem with Pacific Rim is the fact that the two main characters - Raleigh Beckett and Mako Mori - are less interesting than monsters (or robots) in this movie. They are so flat and so one-dimensional I couldn't give a crap about either of those two. Mako is played by Rinko Kikuchi who was lovely in Babel. Here she was absolutely awful. Such a wooden performance I felt like I was watching a puppet.
Charlie Hunnan is not much better and it only takes you few episodes of Sons of Anarchy to realize this one is not much of a leading man material as it's very easy for others to steal his thunder. Well, there is not much of thunder to steal in the first place. Anyways, these two are supposed to have a bond which basically makes them better at fighting monsters - the stronger the bond, the better they do. Well, then it's a wonder their robot didn't fall on its ass and powered down immediately after it left the base, because I saw no chemistry there.

The cast also includes Charlie Day and Ron Perlman in a subplot which I assume was meant to be humorous. Some of it is funny but by the time Kajiu umbilical cord showed up I was equally bored and grossed out. There's also Robert Kazinsky (currently a fairy vampire in season 6 of True Blood) playing a douchebag with an awful accent. In fact the only two people who managed to portray some real emotions were Max Martini and Idris Elba, but I'll get to him later.
I have to say that the best performance in the movie was given by a little girl who played younger Mako in a flashback. Comparing to her most of the cast sucked. That flashback scene was actually the best part of the movie - this right there is what the movie should have been. Idris Elba's character finding that girl and being the film's lead. Especially, seeing how that relationship was the only believable and well established thing in the whole film. And how his character was the only interesting one and charismatic enough to keep you watching. That flashback scene was also the only moment in the whole film to have genuine emotions.

Instead we got what was basically a 90-minute long setup to the conclusion you saw in every other big budget movie about Earth being endangered. Ooh, how exciting. And another problem - Kaijus. You would think that since this is a new kind of monster del Toro would give them a cool back story, right? Wrong. When we find out more about them it's even worse than if they just left it unexplained. Dinosaurs are mentioned at one point.

Dinosaurs.
The film has spectacular visual effects and fantastic score from Ramin Djawadi. The fights between the monsters and robots are very well done and many times I had this thought which I always have when I watch a movie with awesome visual effects "how did they even manage to do that?!". That said the designs aren't very imaginative - Kaiju look quite boring and not especially terrifying.

On the other hand the editing blows big time - it's chaotic during fight scenes, which is not a big problem, but the transitions in more peaceful scenes are just jarring.

That said, I have to compliment the movie for not falling apart 40 minutes before its end like most of summer blockbusters. It fell apart to pathetic pieces 20 minutes before its end. So that's still an achievement.
Alright here come spoilers. They have Idris Elba's character blow himself up for humanity. AGAIN. When they started talking about detonating the reactor I was half-asleep but I awoke in terror and I said "what? AGAIN?!". It was like I moved back in time to a year ago when I was watching Prometheus (a much, much better movie in every conceivable way). All Elba was missing was a baseball cap and "HANDS UPPPPP!".

This movie is supposed to be unique. And they have a black guy kill himself to save the humanity?

No, no, no. Wait.

They have the only interesting character kill himself? Woah, nice going. Well, at least now I don't have to watch a sequel, which probably won't happen either way seeing how the film is flopping all over the place.

Is there a bigger cliche in this type of movies than heroic death that could have been avoided (they had fucking escape pods there)? Geeky science guy? Uncooperative government guys? Personal tragedy of the protagonist to get you to care about him? Check, check and check again.
Pacific Rim is silly and boring and despite its impressive visual side and special effects it's really not worth your time. I have yet to see a good blockbuster film this year.

I'll give this to that movie - at least the dog lived.

And that's pretty damn unique in today's cinema.

Pacific Rim (131 min, 2013)
Plot: As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: Travis Beacham (screenplay), Guillermo del Toro (screenplay)
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi

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34 comments:

  1. Ahah yeah, there's a great deal amount of cheese here for sure, but to me, it's GOOD cheese, and I find it to be quite savory. Too bad you didn't enjoy it as much, but I figure you'd be pissed that they blew up sexy Idris!! Glad you love the score though :D

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    1. I literally sat there in disbelief when he blew himself up, I mean what the hell was that crap. The score was awesome, really energetic.

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  2. I've been trying to read this for days! Happy to say it was worth the wait.

    Even though I liked it more than you did, that's not saying much. I agree with pretty much everything you said, dog included. I knew Elba's fate would get you... silly how similar it was.

    A disappointing summer to say the least.

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    1. Thank you! Like a dummy I clicked publish by accident and then I had to pull the post back.

      If I see one more movie where he blows himself up I swear, I'm tweeting him about it! Along with marriage proposal.

      The Conjuring is good, though. Go see it, it almost redeemed the summer movies for me!

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    2. Shit. I just asked you about The Conjuring in your Evil Dead post...I guess I've got my answer. Though my wife will probably go into labor while I'm there, and I'll be too scared to leave.

      I think he's got one more in him. I mean, you can't just do two. You have to make a trilogy out of everything. Though, he f--king better not die at the end of Thor 2. He's one of the cooler dudes in that series. Oh shit. Maybe he'll sacrifice himself in Thor 3.

      (feel free not to publish this comment, as it's spiraled into madness)

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    3. Your wife's labor would be induced by this movie, honestly I saw so many horrors but this one freaked me out so bad. Really great execution and acting too, quality freaking movie!

      I hope he has a bigger role in Thor 2, I barely registered him in the first one :/

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  3. Wow, I guess you and I are in disagreement over this film. I didn't take it seriously since I knew what del Toro wanted to do and I had a fucking good time. For me, this film represents what a blockbuster should be. Especially as it provides something that isn't overlong and bloated while also being a bit funny and not afraid to be a bit cheesy.

    Oh, and Idris Elba was just awesome in this film. I wished it had done better in the box office. Fucking Adam Sandler.

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    1. I didn't take it too seriously but there were so many plot holes and silly situations - like allowing the girl to practice in full powered up robot for the first time, in spite of it being so dangerous - I just couldn't buy that one/

      Elba was the best thing about that one :) He usually is :)

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  4. I feel like Idris needs better movies for the amount of talent he has. Still going to watch this though.. as I didn't actually read this post because I try to avoid having presumptions about movies but I just wanted to comment and let you know that I was here. :D

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    1. He really does. So far the only two things that gave him the opportunity to show his talent are The Wire and Luther. But I have high hopes for that Mandela movie!

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  5. Good review Sati. It was fun, no doubt about that. However, it's script was a bit disappointing, especially for a person like me who watched a slew of better-written movies from del Toro, that also happened to have well-rounded characters.

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    1. It's a great shame that the script wasn't better, it could have been something special :/

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  6. I'll grant some of the character complaints, etc... hard to defend Day's character, or Perlman's. "Silly" is right. The action sequences saved the day for me though. Watching the robots and monsters fight was pretty much everything I hoped it would be!

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    1. I was hoping for Idris to be shirtless.... :)

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    2. "I was hoping for Idris to be shirtless.... " You know, when he had that nosebleed in the bathroom I was hoping the same thing!! Why did they have to cut to when he already put the shirt on!! Seriously Guillermo, you don't know a thing about women! :D

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    3. Exactly, that was a major let down. I had to see my poor baby suffer a nosebleed and I've got nothing in return :(

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  7. I thought this was just big dumb fun, which is all I wanted from it. Yes, the characters are paper thin and the story's predictable but it didn't really bother me that much. To me, this was a far better film than Prometheus, which was a bit of a mess. I do agree about the little girl, though, she was miles better than pretty much everyone else!

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    1. I LOVED Pometheus but I'm a die hard Alien fan so maybe that's the reason :)

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  8. Good review, I wasn't quite as turned off by this one as you were but I completely agree that the two leads prevented it from being anywhere near great. Out of curiosity, you said you haven't seen a good blockbuster this year, does that mean you haven't seen or didn't like Star Trek: Into Darkness?

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    1. I haven't seen Star Trek yet, hopefully this one will be good! I'm definitely catching it on DVD.

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  9. My expectations were low for this. So I walked out enjoying myself. Sure, it's big and loud and dumb and the characters are ridiculously two dimensional, but it was sort of satisfying in the same way. It just is what it is. Something different from del Toro. I bet if he had stamped more of his style on it, there would have been butt loads of complaints saying he's got no other style to bring to his films.

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    1. Well if he brought his style in at least it would have been original, which is what I was hoping for it to be :(

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  10. I was planning on watching this in the theaters but I'm not so sure anymore after reading your review haha. I generally love smart action flicks but if it's too silly I can't get into it and tune out. BTW, I liked Prometheus too for what it was ... without comparing it to Alien or Aliens.

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    1. I liked all the parallels between Prometheus and Alien, I love Alien, Aliens not so much - I didn't like action approach. Pacific Rim is worth checking out for the effects but it's really quite boring, though not as boring as Men of Steel.

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  11. I guess my son was right when he suggested that since he's an avid video gamer, this movie probably wouldn't show him anything new. Excellent review!

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    1. Nothing worthwhile for the ladies either, though I suppose Idris in any form (clothed I mean) is something to marvel at :)

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  12. Maybe Elba can blow himself up to save humanity in every film he is in from now on. I was a bit more forgiving despite the terrible acting and atrocious script. Why? Because I liked watching giant robots fight giant monsters, that is about all this film has going for it.

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    1. Why would he? To continue the horrible cliches? I really expected more from Del Toro.

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  13. Oh nos Sati! I really liked it. Which surprised me because I am not a huge delToro fan.

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    1. I'm no longer interested in seeing any more of his movies, he is like new Burton, except worse cause Burton never killed Idris in his movie :)

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  14. Yeah, I agree with your review (except I think Kikuchi did a decent job). Prometheus came to my mind as well. That was a much better film. :)

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    1. I miss good sci-fi like Prometheus. Hopefully that new Star Trek film is good.

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  15. So I'm not the only person who didn't think this film was the "best thing since, like, ever!"

    I went in knowing it was a silly concept, but I was hoping it would appeal to my inner 8 year old boy. Even that boy was laughing at the stupidness, though. Just a couple examples: 1. They build tens of thousands of miles of barrier walls all around the Pacific rim instead of just building a few thousand feet of cap on the rift that all the monsters are coming out of. 2. They station Jaegers all around the Pacific rim and wait for the monsters to come and start destroying cities instead of just placing all the robots right outside the rift all the monsters are coming out of. I could go on for quite a while.

    I didn't think this was a horrible movie, but it's certainly not good enough for me to recommend it to others. Since I don't write full reviews for movies I wouldn't recommend I don't have a post at my site dedicated to it. You can find my comments on what I thought of various Big Summer Movies, including this one, in this post, though: http://www.tipsfromchip.blogspot.com/2013/07/update-on-2013-big-summer-movies.html

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    1. I'm gonna say no, seeing how a lot of people disliked this film.

      I switched off my brain during this but it didn't even stay faithful to the rules of the world created by Del Toro, as thin and stupid as they were.

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