Hello, my name is Frank, and I'm a Giant-Robot-aholic.
I grew up in a generation weened on Power Rangers, Transformers, and Voltron. Giant Robots were a staple of our television viewing. As many of us grew, our love of the Giant Robot lead us to pursue Anime, seeking out things like "Gundam" and "Evangelion". Our desire for a fix was so strong, that many of us forgave Michael Bay for his "Transformers" films. We just wanted to see those giant robots so bad, we didn't care how we got it. We were addicts.
Now, Guillermo Del Toro has heard the outcry. He has answered are fervent wishes, and delivered unto us another Giant Robot movie. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you "Pacific Rim"
The movie begins with the prerequisite exposition. In a movie like this, a forgivable moment. It sets out what we can expect to see in the movie. It tells us of the Kaiju, a race of giant monsters that have been steadily pouring out of a dimensional rift beneath the Pacific ocean. It tells of humanity's efforts to fight back with planes and tanks and missiles. It tells us how the Kaiju kept coming, and this lead to the creation of the Jaegers, giant robots designed for the express purpose of destroying the Kaiju. All this and more is revealed in the first 5 minutes of the film.
The story is a simple enough set up. It offers up wonderful plot devices like neural links with the machines, and the necessity for this neural link to be shared between two people. It offers up a spectacular battle, and some amazing visuals. All of this before the movie even tells you the title of the film.
To call this movie a beautiful work of art, would be a disservice. It is stunning. The visuals are top-notch, and the acting talent is spot on. Charlie Day, brings his frenetic energy to the fore whenever he shows up on the screen, and is a delight to watch. The human elements of the film are, if not always believable, feel genuine within the framework of the movie. There is a lot of action, and you never know quite what is going to happen next.
Yet, with all of that, there was a sort of familiarity to everything. For someone that has watched "Neon Genesis Evangelion" a few times, there was a definite feeling that there were heavy Evangelion influences. This movie, I believe, is as close as I can ever hope to getting to a live action Evangelion movie, and to top it off, the story does not fall apart at the end like Evangelion did.
The movie was not all sunshine and rainbows though. There were several thick accents, and times where dialogue became drowned out or unintelligible. There were certain "convenient facts" revealed in the middle of the movie, that felt contrived, and made little sense within the context of what was happening.
Things like that, are easily forgivable when there is so much joy, and reckless abandon on the screen. While not perfect, this is the best Giant Robot film I have seen, and for that I grateful.
RECOMMENDATION : This is a movie to go to if you are like me, and share that itch for a giant robot flick. There is action, emotion, and a whole lot of joy. If you like giant monster movies, well... there is a lot of fun for you, too. If you are looking for a sci-fi movie, where the battles have a reason to destroy major metropolitan areas on a regular basis, get out there and see it.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY?: Yes. Major big screen advantage in this. There is something truly awe-inspiring about seeing giant robots on a larger than life screen. Movies like this are the kind of joyful popcorn flick that EVERY summer needs.
FINAL THOUGHTS: With the strong performance of Idris Elba, and the addition of the voice of everyone's favorite maniacal AI GlaDOS, this movie was more than simply enjoyable, this movie was simply delightful. From beginning to end, and even through the credits, this movie had me hooked. Wonderful, simply wonderful.
FRANK'S FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10