Pacific Rim might just be the first perfect movie of the summer. It only took until halfway through July to get there but Guillermo del Toro’s monsters vs. robots is a certified cinematic masterpiece. As every frame graces the screen it is clear that the movie is a game changer for the industry.
The story itself is a play on the Kaiju stories of Japan made famous by monsters like Godzilla, Mothra and Gamera. Those films are institutions in Asia but never seemed to catch on to the same degree in the states. But through Del Toro’s genius storytelling he has found a way to not only pay homage to those epic films but blaze new territory forever changing the celluloid landscape.
Do not mistake this for another Transformers CGI fest where it is impossible to tell who is fighting from moment to moment. Every character in the film is given a credible backstory that really makes you feel for them during the battles. Del Toro does this by bringing together a talented ensemble of mostly unknowns.
Our main story revolves around Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) a former pilot who has been brought to Hong Kong for one final battle between the monsters from another world and the mechanical robots we have built to protect us. Raleigh is far from the only pilot brought in as the last of the active robots are brought in from around the world for the fight. While the mechanics of the world may seem fantastical Del Toro has found a way to make us believe that such a world could very easily exist in the not too distant future. It is a universe all its own with a dense history and mythology not unlike Star Warsor The Matrix.
Will everyone get the story? No, not at all. Pacific Rim pioneers a new trail in the film industry and for that it is sure to receive backlash from the viewing public. The sad truth is many would rather shell out their hard earned money to watch Adam Sandler go on vacation with his buddies in Grown Ups 2 than witness the emergence of groundbreaking special effects and a story that is both intelligent and full of heart.
In the end it is hard not to get a giddy feeling at even the basic premise. The movie has found a way to make giant robots fighting giant monsters totally believable on a scale totally unseen until now. When the two fight you truly get a sense of just how gigantic each of the characters really are and it is mind blowing.
The only real downside of the film, and it barely counts, is that most of the fighting takes place at night and in the rain. This is due to the new CGI being used and the fact that it is easier to make the CGI blend in with everything else in that kind of environment. But this is the first time out for a lot of this new technology and once it gets used on a regular basis that will no longer be an issue. Regardless of the surroundings all the fights are intense and more than a few will leave your jaw on the floor. This is one of the few films that must be seen on the big screen, at least the first time around. I have no doubt the action will still look good on DVD and blu-ray but to really appreciate the scope of what is being pulled off it must be seen on the biggest screen possible.
It is nice to see a summer movie fire on all cylinders both literally and metaphorically. If you have been on the fence about going to see the movie let’s chance that right now. See it, stop reading this review right now get in your car and watch the movie!
Pacific Rim opens July 12th, watch the trailer.