Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim cancels the apocalypse!

It’s here! Neither Iron Man 3, nor Man of Steel, nor Star Trek Into Darkness can claim the accolade for being 2013’s unapologetic big screen summer phenomenon. Because the crown for the first bonafide, adrenaline-pumping, awe-inducing, badass, massive popcorn spectacle of the summer of 2013 is won hands down by Guillermo Del Toro’s new ‘Robots vs Godzillas’ flick, Pacific Rim.

And for good reason too. Pacifim Rim is one of the few movies this year that delivers exactly what it has promised – chills, frills and loads of thrills. Unlike other 2013 summer movies that had their share of strengths but in trying to be both arty and massy, never really came together as a whole, Del Toro’s latest works – and how! – because it’s all kept so very simple: Giant sea monsters (Kaiju) want to destroy our world, and gigantic robots (Jaegers) created, and piloted, by humans must defeat them to save the world.

There is no preaching on how humans have been naughty, no complex scientific, psyschological or ecological explanation on why the Kaijus hate us, and save for a few odd instances, no sappy melodrama because, really, when the world is on the brink of obliteration, you man the hell up and beat the s**t out of whoever’s trying to end your civilization.

In this regard, the film is more Independence Day than Godzilla and more Avengers than Avatar. One can argue that the film lacks ‘heart’ or has characters that don’t go through enough internal strife, but pfffft… why let such things come in the way of having a BLAST! Especially because Del Toro is one of the rare directors who takes his action in movies like Pacific Rim or his Hellboy series as seriously as he takes his art in movies like the Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth.

As a result, instead of mindless and purposeless action sequences like those in Transformers and *cough* Man of Steel’s climax *cough*, each battle sequence is cinematically crafted, and is like poetry (read: heavy metal) in motion. Each fight between the Kaijus and Jaegers is treated like a Real Steel-esque bout, and is so masterfully constructed in its writing (Travis Beachem and Del Toro), direction, cinematography (Oscar-winner Guillermo Navarro), editing (Peter Amundson & John Gilroy) and music (Ramin Djwadi), that you are not just a bystander to the action, you are bang in its midst, to save the world. I honestly had a braingasm when a Jaeger took a giant ship – a ship! – and used it like a baseball bat to beat the daylights out of a Kaiju!

The above four pillars distinguish the movie from most other summer flicks where the action is pretty much things being destroyed so jarringly and quickly that you are in awe only because you have paid money to be in awe. Djawadi, who, notably, has composed the music for Game of Thrones and Iron Man in the past, is a stand out talent, who, in the film, combines operatic and classical music with hard rock guitar riffs and those sounds of dongs found in every summer movie trailer ever, to create some of the most catchy background music you’d have seen at the movies.

As for the performances of the cast, first, a word about Del Toro’s ba**s. To put $185 million dollars in a movie based on an original idea instead of a comic book or a toy or glow-in-the-dark vampires, and then, to cast niche television actors in it, only reveals that Del Toro has the biggest of them all. To their credit, the eclectic cast comprising of Charlie Hannum (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (Luther), Charlie Day (It’s Sunny in Philadelphia), Robert Kazinsky (Eastenders), Max Martini (Revenge) and Rinko Kikuchi (the only film veteran, of Babel fame), delivers splendidly, and not for a second do you believe that the world is in unsafe hands. Elba, who is spectacular in Luther and The Wire, is the pick of the lot, along with the hilarious Day, and is immensely watchable. Because when the 6’3, 215 lb hunk Elba declares, “Today, we’re cancellin’ the apocalypse!” you *know* that the apocalypse is going to get cancelled.

Though the climactic battle is a little underwhelming with regards to the brilliant face-offs in the rest of the movie, Pacific Rim is an event movie filled through and through with awesomeness. Do not miss the film, and if you can, watch it on the biggest screen possible, especially if you like blockbusters… or are male in general.

Note: This review first appeared on on July 12, 2013

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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