[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This review does reveal certain elements of the story which may be considered spoilers. Spoilers spoil the film sometimes.[/box]
Rooted to my seat with hard-to-conceal anticipation, I wasn’t prepared for the fantastical enormity of what Pacific Rim was about to thrust at me. Let me begin by saying that the special effects team was scooped from the top of the heap; movies like Real Steel, Iron Man, and Independence Day, crowd their portfolios. The cast of Pacific Rim wasn’t exactly the best of Hollywood, where director Guillermo del Toro may have specifically chosen them to lay emphasis on the grandeur of the movie, rather than the actors themselves.
Tom Cruise was initially cast to play the imperious, stone-faced role of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba); personally, I think Tom Cruise would’ve done a far better job at playing Mr. Poker Face. The movie has drawn heavy inspiration from Japanese Kaiju characters, as well as Chinese mythology, although still maintaining a detached artistic brilliance all on its own. What strikes me as incredible was the life-like appeal that the movie holds, leaving no room for speculation that surrealism is at work.
The world has witnessed unprecedented attacks by aliens, as they make themselves comfortable in Earth’s atmosphere with the intention to take over. The initial attacks put millions of people at risk where a plan of action is in dire need in order to keep coastal cities safe. The aliens are being harbored in a vortex-like realm deep in the Pacific, churning Kaiju after Kaiju from its murky depths.
The attacks increase, more lives are at stake, and the Pan Pacific Defense Corps need their best man back – Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam). Unfortunately, Raleigh is just another six-pack stud with a cool attitude and a pretty face, with nothing substantial to offer. After losing his brother in a fight against a Kaiju, he gives up the cool title of Jaeger pilot (survivor’s guilt, and all that). But with the world as a melting pot of doom and devastation, Raleigh is forced to pull his socks up, grow a pair, and return to being his former self.
Meanwhile, we see that Stacker has a doe-eyed Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) trailing his behind at the facility – she’s considered the brains of the entire operation. Here’s where things get interesting as damaged boy meets damaged girl – she witnesses a firsthand Kaiju attack when she’s little, swearing to train vehemently to become a pilot one day and fight back. Ah yes, lovely vengeance. Stacker, of course plays a bigger role, being the one who takes down the Kaiju that haunts her memories, and in reparation for her trauma steps in as father figure.
Before you know it, Stacker has approved of her getting into a Jaeger to assist Raleigh in defeating the Kaijus – this is where things get wicked cool. The two pilots of a Jaeger have to first ‘drift’ by undergoing a ‘neural handshake’ – memories and emotions fuse as one between the two. This ensures that the pilots are connected and in tune with each others’ every move and sense of direction, which is vital for Jaeger control. Whoa! The most badass robot of course – Gipsy Danger – is the star of the movie, fighting its way through lethal-looking Kaijus that could make you wet your shorts.
After hundreds of breathtaking scenes that involve violence, grit, flawless fight moves, and acts of bravado, we come to the final end of the Kaiju reign; a detonated nuclear explosion pulverizes the fiery, electromagnetic abyss that the Kaijus multiplied within. Phew! While the deaths of the other Jaeger pilots will have you frowning – including that of Stacker – you’ll be cheering when the victorious duo emerge. Raleigh and Mako prove to be a formidable pair for the Kaijus, showing off the sort of skills that make us all want to sign up for Jaeger pilot training.
The movie doesn’t end with a sloppy, clichéd smooch, but instead a relieving embrace between the two, marking the end of pain and peril. While it may have been a tad bone-dry with respect to the script and quality of acting, the movie stands as a testimonial of great things to come from Hollywood. If you thought Life of Pi upped the ante, think again.