Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pacific Rim

As I dedicate even more time to checking out bands, seeing movies, and writing about them; I find that I am becoming more and more socially inept. Interacting with actual live people is becoming a chore. I catch myself making weird faces without any prompting and the only nice clothes I have are t shirts that make references to Eddie Murphy movies or the Cosby show! The only thing left for me to do at this point is to develop an alter ego in one those life simulation video games and start a love affair with some goth girl while cheating on my fake online wife. What I am trying to say is, I’m slowly becoming a nerd. Not that I haven’t always been one but I feel like I’m inching towards the creepy nerd zone. This is the only logical explanation for me being in the theater to see the Thursday night showing of Pacific Rim with all of the other science fiction nerds.

And I will tell you right off the bat that I absolutely loved this film and left the theater as pumped as I’ve been in years! I think the secret to Guillermo del Toro making a good film lies within him working with an awesome black actor. The Hellboy movies were watchable but that’s about it, Pan’s Labyrinth and Devil’s Backbone were both good films but you don’t really want to watch them again, Blade 2 however is pure freshness! The creativity and imagery he brought to each mutant vampire in Blade took that franchise to another level. And the cool thing is, is he never takes himself too seriously, so the actors are allowed to have fun and bring just a bit of silliness to the set.

Well thankfully for you and I del Toro teams up with the versatile Idris Elba who apparently can play any role handed to him. Elba plays the role of Stacker Pentacost, the general who is in charge of leading the attack against the Kaijus. Kaijus are giant aliens/monsters who are attacking the earth via a portal that was created from the Earth’s core. In order to kill these things before they caused massive destruction and loss of life, the world came together to create giant robots that are called Jaegers. Jaegers are so sophisticated that they require the melding of two compatible human minds to operate. As time goes on, more and more of these Kaijus are showing up and in greater numbers; so it is up to Pentacost and his team to find a way to stop them. That's pretty much all you need to know.

There are so many things that make this movie awesome that I can’t possibly write them all here but I will highlight a few. First, as Elba recruits our latest hero in Raleigh Beckett to join his team in the fight, he introduces him to the rest of the crew. His crew includes 3 Chinese Jaeger pilots who all work together in a way that brings a unique fighting method to the war. They display their talents and unnatural chemistry by playing basketball together; this of course led to me calling them the Yao Lings. Racist I know but the scene made absolutely no sense to begin with so why not add additional silliness to the experience. Then there’s the Russian team that looked like Drago and Ludmilla from Rocky 4. They don't really say much but when they do it's in thick Russian accents and it sounds like they are saying "I must break you!"And last was the introduction of Raleigh’s obligatory nemesis in the form of the cocky Chuck Hansen. He takes on the confrontational attitude of Johnny from the Karate Kid. And this even leads to a Karate Kid esque training scene in which Raleigh must find his compatible partner. Oh, and I almost forgot about the quirky scientists played by Charlie Day and some guy who I thought was Willam Dafoe for the entire movie. They are all introduced in goofy ways but that’s part of the fun of the movie. When you have robots fighting aliens, you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously. And that’s why del Toro wins with this film; anytime there isn’t any action going on he allows you to escape and  immerse yourself in the playfulness of the film.

But when there is action and trust me when I say there is plenty of it, he creates some awesome set pieces that will have you talking for days. Some directors get you lost in cgi hell and thought that was going to be the case here. But del Toro uses cgi to help bring his creativity to life in the details of the monsters and the robots. You can actually follow what’s going on in the fight scenes and he uses different mechanisms in weapons and in situations to make each scene unique and entertaining; as opposed to just having people punch each other repeatedly for an hour ala Man of Steel. The highlight for me personally came when he gave the Japanese pilot Mako a samurai sword to kill one of the Kaiju’s with.Again racist as all hell but it had me cheering in the theater!

I could go on and on about how awesome Ron Pearlman was in it, or how all of the white pilots looked alike so you really didn’t know who was doing what, or how you were having so much fun that you overlooked the cheesy acting but I won’t. I will say that this movie is for nerds, teenage boys, and for women who dragged their men with them to see the awful Pitch Perfect. I rate this movie as TIGHT and suggest that you see it immediately! 

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