Review: Pacific Rim

Guillermo Del Toro. Giant robots. Ellen McLain. Ron Perlman.

These are four things that, when combined, virtually guarantee I’m going to see a movie. Unfortunately, I no longer live anywhere near a movie theater, and I don’t drive, so I wasn’t able to see Pacific Rim when it came out. I’ve only now gotten around to seeing it on DVD.

Giant flippin' robots!It basically lived up to my expectations, which is a both a positive and a negative.

Bringing out your inner kid:

Pacific Rim is the movie every six year old boy would make if they were given a couple million dollars of budget. And I mean that as a compliment.

Giant robots! Horrible dinosaur monsters! Lasers go pew pew! Skyscrapers getting smashed like toys! Giant robots beating up dinosaur monsters with lasers as skyscrapers get smashed!

I mean, any movie where a robot beats a Godzilla-lookalike with an oil tanker gets my seal of approval.

It’s not a smart movie, but it doesn’t have to be. Pacific Rim was obviously never intended to be Shakespeare, and that’s okay. It’s a fun movie, and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Raleigh Becket and Mako Mori in Pacific RimThe characters are simple, but they’re all quite endearing. The plot’s pretty basic and predictable, but I doubt anyone expected anything else. There were a few subtle little touches that showed real thought went into the writing, so it’s very clear that Pacific Rim’s simplistic nature was a deliberate choice, not the result of a lack of talent.

And while it’s definitely not smart, it’s not dumb, either. Despite its incredibly improbable premise, it never quite falls into outright stupidity, and while it’s made to appeal to the kid in all of us, it never lapses into immaturity or childishness.

Pacific Rim is sort of like what the Transformers movies would be like if they’d had a better director and actual writers. No, I don’t consider Orci and Kurtzman writers. They’re more like God’s revenge on language.

A movie for theaters:

With all that said, though, watching Pacific Rim was a pretty underwhelming experience. This was a movie made to be watched on the big screen. Watching it on my step-mother’s old TV just doesn’t cut it by comparison.

I’m sure the epic battle sequences between monsters and robots would have been absolutely mind-blowing in a dark theater, on a massive screen, with the sound vibrating in my very bones. But as it was, they were just moderately entertaining.

A massive Kaiju monster in Pacific RimI did enjoy Pacific Rim, but I know I would have enjoyed it so much more in the theater, and in the end, it just made me miss Toronto all the more.

Overall rating: 7.9/10 It’s a good movie, but if you haven’t seen it by now, I can’t say I’d recommend renting the DVD.

1 thought on “Review: Pacific Rim

  1. I agree 100% with everything you said. As I told a friend the day after I watched it: “I’m glad I saw it once.”

    I’ll admit a few times I did go “Why didn’t they lead with that?” As in — why do they waste time brawling instead of pulling out their weapons from the get-go? Especially when the weapons prove themselves so effective and the brawling is so very ineffective.

    It was fun enough, a pleasant diversion for an evening, but I don’t need to see it again.

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