When a friend first pitched Pacific Rim to me he described it as “Aliens have crawled out of the ocean, so America have built giant robots to punch them to death.” Obviously, I was excited; however there is a bit more than that to Pacific Rim.
The similarities between the Jaegers–the giant robots–and the Evas from Evangelion were glaringly obvious to me from the beginning of the film. The way the pilots ‘jack into’ the Jaegers, along with the way they move and fight is too close to Evangelion lore to not be heavily inspired by.
This is not in any way a bad thing.
Evangelion does an incredible job of giving explanation to many things in great detail (that is, all apart from the characters and general plot… but who’s bitter?). The fact that Pacific Rim has taken the fantastic exposition from the Evangelion theories is the single best part of the plot.
A firm resolution was not made, however, on any of the Kaiju(giant beasts) or why they were getting through the rift in the Pacific Ocean. Hints to a wider picture were given regarding some form of alien race ‘taking over planets and moving onto the next‘, but, honestly, It wasn’t something I felt very invested in, nor was it a main concern within the narrative itself. The underwhelming justification of the monsters, partnered with the simply horrible main character Raleigh Becket(Charlie Hunnam) made for an unpleasant Second Act.
Unfortunately Hunnam’s acting was not the only portion of the character that holds Pacific Rim back, but the dialogue was simply awful. With memorable quips from Becket such as: “I never thought much about the past… Didn’t think I would have to think about the future.”
Thankfully some bearable dialogue was given to Marshal. Stacker Pentecost(Idris Elba), who, with a couple of inspiring speeches, just oozed class.
The plethora of side-characters were quickly introduced, and killed off even quicker. There is some really nice character design–along with the impeccable design of the Jaegers–yet no depth to any of them, which is more of a shame than anything.
The Japanese have been pitting giant robots with monsters for decades. It is hard to get wrong.
Fortunately Pacific Rim got it right. So right. Guillermo Del Toro (I assume?) did some fantastic choreography between the Jaegers and the Kaiju. Don’t get me wrong though; there are some really stupid moments in Pacific Rim. For example: A Jaeger dragged a large fishing boat through the streets of Hong Kong and then started beating a Kaiju up with it. Once the boat had been destroyed the Jaeger then proceeded to deploy two swords and start fighting with them. WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEEN USING THEM FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE?
It can all be forgiven in the name of fun though, I suppose.
The final Act is by far Pacific Rim’s strongest. Any remnants of a plot soon dissipate and most of the screen-time is given to the Jaegers and Kaiju fighting to the death. Some unavoidable clichés were thrown in such as ‘the old soldier who comes out of retirement‘ and ‘co-pilots who don’t like each other at first but fall in love‘, but there isn’t any reason to complain when this is cut into fighting sequences. Without a second viewing I couldn’t even tell you how the protagonists escaped the three separate events of certain death that they faced, but I digress.
To reiterate: Pacific Rim is a dumb film. It sacrifices all logic and any likeable characters for enormous spectacle fights through cities. Personally: I’m all right with that.
This is a good popcorn film, but if you’re after a great Mech film then, please, hunt down the Evangelion movies.
2014 is looking to be a year full of sequels, so show the industry that you want more originality and care in your cinemas, and see Pacific Rim.
Hopefully we won’t get up to Number 6 on this franchise.