Thursday, 10 October 2013

Watched: Pacific Rim (spoilers)

Pacific Rim (2013)
Dir: Guillermo Del Toro
Cert PG-13 / Running time 131 mins

So I finally got around to watching pacific Rim. A few friends whose radar is excellent for good sci-fi films recommended that I see this movie. The fact that its premise can be boiled down into the simple terms of "Giant Robots vs Giant Monsters" didn't put me off. There's nothing like leaving your brain at the door and sitting down to a magnificently produced piece of nonsense. After having seen the movie? Its magnificently produced alright and its is definitely nonsense but there wasn't too much that was engaging about it (sorry aforementioned pals).

OK, heres my case; the acting. In a movie like this, nobody expects the performances to take an audience on the emotional journey of a Warrior or an In Bruges but we do expect something more than Suburban Commando. There's more passion in the showers in Maghaberry jail than there was from guys who are without a doubt, great actors. The exception lay with Charlie Day and Burn Gorman as brainiacs Geiszler and Gottlieb, who played it right on the nose. If there was any more ham flying around it would've been mistaken for one of Brick Top's pig-farms.

Then there were other things that I tried to dismiss but still bugged me; like whose idea was it to connect the pilot's pain receptors to align with the damage taken by the Jaegers?! When major damage was taken by Becket's Jaeger in the first battle - wouldn't he have been less compromised if he didn't replicate the robot's damage? Then, skipping along to the finale, we learn that the only way to deploy the bomb successfully is to pass through the breach - the only way to do that is to have Kaiju DNA (or bring it along with you). Fine for the first trip through but then how do you explain both Mako's and Becket's life rafts passing back through to safety?

Also, the plagiarism was somewhat distracting, for example; the human / alien mind-meld where Geiszler discovers in a Bill Pullman type way that the aliens completely consume the resources of one planet before moving on to the next... Becket and Hansen's "Maverick and Iceman" complex... even Battlefield Earth doesn't get away with it as that's what I was reminded of when Becket popped into the alien world just long enough to deposit a bomb before rejoining the regular Earthly dimension.

"Dude, if you tell me I look like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters one more time..."
And of course, there's the complete and utter destruction of any major city once a Jaeger engages with a Kaiju. When one of these immense machines "defends" a population centre you can only imagine the complete devastation; city blocks flattened, livelihoods eradicated, total infrastructure failure. Yeah, thanks for the "help" there. Still, got to remember that even that wasn't as much damage as Superman and Zod caused in Man of Steel...

That said - I loved the spectacle of it, that can't be denied. The VFX and style was all there and those guys should be commended. For the times when the dialogue or action lulled, there was plenty to appreciate in the pure design of the movie. Gold-tipped winkle-pickers.

Is this a franchise? For me, I think I've seen enough and wouldn't feel compelled to sit through another 2 hours of the same thing - unless Del Toro takes the fight to the Kaiju's backyard. And lets David Mamet have a stab at the screenplay.

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