I’ll do my best not to spoil anything.
If you listened to the podcast, you might have heard Bill and myself gushing over . We enjoyed it. The great thing is, though, I believe we enjoyed it for very different reasons. Bill has always been a big fan of monster movies – specifically Godzilla. Bill practically is Godzilla! He owns every Godzilla film on either VHS (he’s been collecting for a long time and some of them are RARE!) or DVD! Bill is the kind of guy who knows that the Japanese word for ‘big monsters’ is ‘kaiju.’ Imagine his delight when he heard that there was a movie coming out that even used the proper terminology! Myself? I can – at times – be a huge fan of genre films. Pacific Rim is one of those films that is just as close to perfect as you can get, within the genre.
Find out what I liked about it after the cut:
So, a few years back, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro was attached to direct the upcoming film version of The Hobbit, to be produced by Peter Jackson in New Zealand. He had moved to New Zealand and was excited to work on what was bound to be a very fun project. However, The Hobbit nearly ended up development hell when there was some question as to who owned the legal rights to produce and distribute a film based upon that novel. The issues were resolved… But it held up production for a couple of years! Guillermo had some other obligations, and had to go – leaving Peter Jackson to direct the movie himself. That may or may not have been a good decision, but I enjoy the consistency of vision we are getting throughout the Tolkien-based films.
But what was Guillermo up to? I really wanted to know because I absolutely loved Pan’s Labyrinth!
The answer ended up being Pacific Rim – a two hour action-adventure movie about giant monsters – called kaiju – that invade earth through a dimensional rift at the bottom of the ocean. The monsters get bigger and bigger and the world unites to build giant machines called Jaegers to defeat them. Each Jaeger is hundreds of feet tall, physically impossible to exist and piloted by two people that are psychically linked (The strain of solo-piloting a Jaeger is just too much for a single human brain to handle!).
And I couldn’t be happier! Was Pacific Rim, strictly speaking, a good movie? No. Of course not. It’s a monster movie. It’s not likely going to be a ground-breaking film. But there are three things that make this an awesome movie!
1. It’s an original screenplay. Pacific Rim is not a sequel. It is not based on a novel, or television show or comic book. It is not a remake of a movie we saw twenty years ago. It was very refreshing to discover a new, original IP. There’s a unique world in Pacific Rim. There is new terminology learn and a specific set of circumstances we have never seen before! Thank you Guillermo, for introducing me to something completely new that I had no pre-conceived expectations for! That being said…
2. It’s an extremely self-aware and well-executed genre film. Okay – I admit it! Pacific Rim was just not that original. Truth be told, there wasn’t a single original thought in the whole damn film. The giant robots were ripped right from Power Rangers, Ultraman, The Big O, Mechwarrior and any number of other giant robot shows/movies. The scenario and the kaiju are taken right out of Godzilla, King Kong and the rest of the monster movies. But Guillermo manages to present these things in such a way that it’s hard to find a flaw. This movie knows that it’s only a monster movie and it fully embraces every trope of the genre that it can with passion and enthusiasm!
and 3. Star Wars. In fact, what has me truly excited here is that Guillermo del Toro was clearly showing off. He knows how to tell a beautiful and artful story. This wasn’t that. It does not need to have been that. He stuck to the genre without being pretentious. That’s why I say Star Wars! If a director could bring the same deft hand and respect to a new Star Wars film – then we will get the Star Wars sequel we deserve! Sorry JJ… I don’t think you can hack it. Guillermo even manages to squeeze in a little redemption/hero story among the human characters that included a kung-fu fight that just SCREAMS “Lightsabers!”
4 out of 5 stars. Tons (literally) of fun! Go see it, but keep your expectations low, so they can be exceeded! You’ll laugh! You’ll have fun! And stay through the credits!