17th Nov2013

‘Pacific Rim’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Diego Klattenhoff, Charlie Day, Max Martini, Burn Gorman, Robert Kazinsky, Ron Perlman | Written by Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beacham | Directed by Guillermo del Toro

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Some people think that Guillermo del Toro is one of the most creative directors at work in the movie industry today, and I will say I am one of them.  This doesn’t mean that everything he makes is perfect, but he shows a level of imagination that pushes the movie industry to places where it should be going.  Pacific Rim is a perfect example of this. Now that it’s made its way to the small screen, will it still hold up as the spectacle it was on the silver screen?

To be critical of the movie itself the storyline is basic, we have the pilots of the Jaegers, we have the huge robots themselves and then we have the Kaiju that they battle against.  Having read the novelisation I do know there is more to the characters and the monsters, but in a film that has to run to a certain time a lot of this has to be trimmed off to keep the fast pace, and to keep the action the focus.  This was some of the criticism the film had aimed at it, that the story was not strong enough.  My view is that when you have huge robots going to war against huge monsters, who needs a storyline if the battles hold up?

In focusing on the battles, we have to look at them and see just how interesting they are for the viewer, and the fact is even on a smaller screen they are just as entertaining.  The fights are exciting and there is the hint that the Jaegers could lose the fight at any time, the Kaiju also aren’t just paper thin monsters put to the screen but fleshed out beasts who have their own level of aggression, style of fighting and weaknesses.  The most important thing is that there is excitement in the fight and you do want the humans to win.  By pulling the action to the pilots themselves you are repeatedly reminded that there are people in these huge machines and the Kaiju know exactly where they are, one wrong move and the battle is over no matter what weapons they have on hand.

When it comes to the pilots Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) are the focus as the underdogs and the relationship that builds up between the two adds to the connection that they as pilots must create.  Both characters are created through tragedy and both bond by that and this is where the strength of the story does find its footing.  I will note though that Raleigh’s story is somewhat trimmed, especially his time after the initial defeat of his Jaeger and the death of his brother.  In the novelisation there is a reluctance to go back to the Jaeger program, where in the film you tend not to feel that.  Behind the whole return of Becket to the program of course is Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) whose performance is somewhat held back, till the final act at least.

For the most part the characters in Pacific Rim are created well though can be fairly stereotypical and the almost expected inclusion of Ron Perlman is something the geeky fans will love, especially if they sit through the end credits.  I will say though that the scientists were almost annoyingly cliché with their inability to be a part of the society around them coming across as more silly than snobbish (in the book they tend to see others as inferior to themselves).  I do find that the two characters were handled better in the novelisation, but as time went on in the movie they did tend to become more tolerable.

I can understand why some didn’t connect to Pacific Rim, and I dare say that rewatching it on the small screen won’t change that but for most people this should be a film that takes them back to almost being a child, all we want is to see the monsters and robots fight, much in the way we enjoy the original Godzilla movies.  Pacific Rim is all about the action and the battles, the story does tend to be the victim in the end, but come on…this is robots and monsters, what more do you need to know?

Pacific Rim is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and Blu-ray Steelbook editions.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com
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