Summer blockbusters walk a fine line. You have the big & ridiculously bombastic, such as Transformers and The Expendables, that throw as much mayhem at the screen as they can. You have the superhero films that develop the character and have exciting action sequences, such as Batman or Iron Man. And then you have the films that WANT to be blockbusters but that are just posers and really shouldn’t have been released in the summer at all (Battleship, G.I. Joe). In a rare turn of events, “Pacific Rim” is ALL of these combined into one! It IS bombastic…and after seeing it on an IMAX screen in 3D, it might be the MOST bombastic, over-the-top and overachieving movie I have ever seen!
The plot is set up in the first 10 minutes. A portal to another world is open beneath the ocean and giant monsters are coming to earth and destroying entire cities. Earth, in turn, is making attempts to fight against them by creating giant robots that are fighting machines, utilizing everything from rocket launchers to giant, magnetic swords. It takes 2 soldiers to run the “jaegers” (the term used for the robots) and that is where most of the drama comes from. In order to run the machines smoothly, the soldiers must “mind-meld” or “drift” so that their fighting actions are in unison. So if a soldier has daddy issues? It could cause problems. Or if a soldier has recurring fears? That could also be an issue. See where I’m going with this? Anyway…the soldier that gets the most screen time in THIS film is Raleigh (Charlie Hunnum). He is a fighter in one of the older models of the jaegers. His brother was killed while fighting a monster (or “kaiju”) and he is being recalled to fight when it’s discovered that the monsters are getting bigger and more frequent.
With this being a summer blockbuster, you know where this is headed but lets not let the storyline get in the way of a good popcorn flick, okay? “Pacific Rim” is a love story. And when I say love story, I mean it is an homage to a genre of film that is a personal favorite of one of the more creative producers/directors in Hollywood today. Guillermo del Toro has done what every Comic Con fanboy and every Godzilla enthusiast has been waiting for. He’s taken HIS vision and made it real. Every thunderous punch, every mighty step, every villainous hiss by the kaiju is exactly what a fan of this genre has been wanting to see ever since “Jurassic Park” hit the screen in 1993. This is an extremely detailed vision that combines Transformers with Independence Day, adds a splash of Avatar and a dose of Starship Troopers and then mixes it all together to give you the most mindlessly adventurous summer blockbuster ever! It is thrilling, exciting, cool, techie and HUGE in every way and despite having mostly unknown actors and dialogue that is obvious, this flick ain’t there to win an Oscar (although it will for Technical Achievement), it’s in it to be the MOST AWESOME MOVIE OF THE SUMMER and it ALMOST gets there.
Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE this movie! On a ginormous IMAX screen in spectacular 3D, THIS is what summer movies SHOULD be. It’s fantastic and you definitely should see it before it leaves theaters! However…I have to wonder…when it is released on DVD in a few months and you sit down to watch it on your home television flatscreen…will it hold up? Well…I dunno. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. But seriously…go see this movie right now while it’s in the theaters and be prepared to be amazed! Oh…and buy lots of popcorn and a large soda and be prepared for one wild and thrilling ride courtesy of one Mr. del Toro.
Overall Rating on an IMAX Screen in 3D: A+