Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Throughout the entirety of Pacific Rim, all I could think about was stuff like, wow, this is such an awesome movie. It keeps getting better and better. Not once am I finding myself even remotely bored. I cannot wait to go home and write about how much I loved this movie.

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And I did love the movie. But I saw it with my wife and the first thing she said upon exiting the theater was, “Wow, that was dumb.” How could we have arrived at two dramatically differing opinions after sitting next to each other for the exact same two and a half hours? Worse, why couldn’t I really mount a defense?

Because, look, I know when I’m defending movies that shouldn’t be defended. Like when I write about how much I loved Iron Man 3 or Thor, yeah, it’s probably because I’ve spent over fifty percent of my life reading comic books, that it’d have to be a really bad comic book movie for me to admit that I didn’t at some level at least enjoy a little bit what I just saw.

Like Daredevil, or Spider Man 3. Go ahead and start throwing eggs, I know that I’m broaching a very sensitive subject here, but were those movies really that bad? I haven’t watched them in a while, but I remember enjoying them. I liked the first Hulk movie. I always default back to the twelve year old me growing up on Long Island, no Internet, no cable TV, I used to get a thrill just from watching Fantastic Four cartoons on Sunday mornings. Never in my wildest imagination would I picture myself as an adult presented with dozens upon dozens of full-length comic book motion pictures featuring B-list superheroes.

I’m getting a little sidetracked from Pacific Rim, yes, but this is all adding up to a huge disclaimer, that in an attempt to review movies, I’m trying to go for an unbiased reaction after having seen one. I don’t know what the opening weekend numbers are, and I’ve yet to read any professional reviewers. I just want to go see a movie, and try as best I can to call it like I see it.

But it’s often the case that something cool like this will come out, a superhero movie, or in this case, a robots vs. alien monsters movie, and I can already picture exactly how the naysayers will react, similar to how my wife put it, that it was dumb. That it was just a bunch of fight scenes linked together by a pretty cheap plot.

And yeah, I guess, if you want to get all cynical and scientific about the movie, I suppose there really isn’t a whole lot more to it than that, alien monsters invade the earth through a portal deep in the Pacific. In response, we build a bunch of rock-em, sock-em robots to beat them all up.

But whatever, those feelings I was experiencing in that theater were real. It was pure joy. And I’ve sat through movies that should have been catered to me, like the new Superman, and I’ve been put to sleep. There was seriously no down time in the fun and excitement here. The score was a movie length fight song. The battle scenes were pure chaotic euphoria.

Did I mention that the pilots of the robots have to link their minds via something called a neural handshake? And that’s not like a colloquialism, the scientists say stuff like, “Neural handshake complete.” That’s what I’m looking for in a big action robot movie, people maintaining a straight face while talking about a neural handshake. The side characters, the almost unnecessary plots and asides and conveniently placed toilets that made up the caulk to this movie’s tiles, everything was fun, ridiculous, everything was insane.

And it’s a good concept. When was the last time we’ve had a really crazy monster movie? All I can think of are the old Godzilla films from decades ago. I know that the series has been rebooted several times in recent years, but nothing sticks, because everything tries too hard to be serious, to depict a modern world where big monsters wreak havoc.

This isn’t that world. It’s just further enough in the future to where the world resembles the one we live in, but all of the backstory is explained in the first ten or fifteen minutes, so everything is alien, fresh, reminiscent of the real but not even close to anything we’d be able to mistake for reality.

It’s just, my heart is still pumping, there’s still a surplus of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I really did love this movie. It’s fun, it’s pretense-free, they laid out some very simple rules that guide the course of the film and they rarely stray from the formula. It works. It’s pure hyper energy, it’s like an amusement park, one built entirely out of crazy roller coasters, and there are no lines, and they just let you keep riding everything over and over again for as long as you want. For like two and a half hours, anyway.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Pacific Rim

  1. Chris

    Great review.

    Anyway, I too remember growing up on Long Island back in the days before internet/netflix etc, and I have to say I completely relate to the child-like euphoria you felt while watching Pacific Rim, because I felt it too. I went last night (at Island 16 in 3D, maybe you know the place), and 15 minutes into the movie, around the time the title appeared on screen, I realized I had this goofy grin plastered on my face and that it had been there since the movie began, I could tell, because my facial muscles were sore. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t smile throughout the entire freakin movie, I loved every stupid second of it and hadn’t been that awestruck by a monster movie since my pre-teen self found my dad’s VHS copy of Godzilla 1985 and I watched it on a TV that weighed 200 pounds. I sat on the floor about 5 inches from the screen, craning my neck to look straight up at the behemoth who’s name I’d only ever heard of a few times, Godzilla. The best way I can describe the way I felt when the first Jaeger was dropped into the ocean during the opening fight scene, is by comparing it to how I felt at age 6 or 7 when I was watching Godzilla 1985 for the first time and the god damned Super-X showed up to battle the beast.

    Motherfucking robots vs giant alien monsters, together again, at long last. It was probably a better experience this time around, at Pacific Rim, because I was able to connect with my inner child whose taste in movies had been sorely neglected since the arrival of a real job and an adult life.

    I need more movies like Pacific Rim in my life and I thank Del Toro for not only reawakening the kid in me, but also for allowing my adult self to take pride in my ability to get such enjoyment from these types of movies. Walking out of the theater, I felt lucky, lucky to be one of the people who can reach such dizzying heights of enjoyment from a Robot v Monster movie. I’m sure you feel similar in regards to your wife, you WISH she could feel the same intrinsic glee from Pacific Rim that you feel.

    Comparisons to Transformers and Power Rangers are justified, but I think that’s doing the movie a disservice, this was the next step, a giant leap foward from the all the progress that’s been made up until this point. Robot Jox, Gundam Wing, Transformers, Godzilla… they all helped mold the minds and interests of the people who created Pacific Rim. Maybe I’m getting a little too poetic and nostalgic here, but fuck it, that movie was awesome. Pacific Rim will be the first movie I go to see in the theater more than once, and I’m already looking forward to round 2. It’s a shame there’s no D-BOX theaters on Long Island, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to take the drive to the nearest D-BOX theater in New Jersey, just to get the best possible viewing experience.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, brother in arms, and thanks for providing me a space to express my experience at Pacific Rim.

    Side note: I failed to mention the obvious ties to anime associated with Pac Rim. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for Anime and there were some scene in Pac Rim (like young Miko) which could easily have been in a manga or anime. I think I’m going to go re-watch NGE or Gurren-Lagann, you should do the same.

    Reply
    1. Rob G. Post author

      Hey Chris, glad you liked the review. I’m tempted to go see it again, something I rarely do in the theaters, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait for it to be released for home viewing. Thanks for the comments!

      Reply

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