Friday, July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim delivers

Director: Guillermo del Toro

                Pacific Rim delivers on the promise of its marketing. The Jaeger vs Kaiju battles are stunning and the special effects are perfect. The cast is solid as well. As Raleigh the main character, Charlie Hunnam doesn't give too much depth to the performance, but it really isn't that kind of role. Idris Elba is his typical badass self as the head of the Jaeger program, Stacker Pentecost.  Rinko Kikuchi is not bad either as Mako Mori, Raleigh’s co-pilot.
                Probably the biggest standout in the cast is Charlie Day as an off-kilter scientist studying the Kaiju. Day became famous for writing, producing and starring in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This is his first major role in dramatic film. He’s sort of a comic relief character, but much more restrained than his It’s Always Sunny character.
                There’s also a decent performance by del Toro regular Ron Perlman. He plays Hannibal Chau, a black market Kaiju organ dealer. This is the fifth time Perlman has appeared in a film directed by Guillermo del Toro.

                Pacific Rim hooks you early, but then takes perhaps a bit too long getting to the action. However, the movie didn't get too bogged down in details. Idris Elba just has to say a couple of sentences to convince Hunnam to pilot the Jaegers again. He’s just that much of a badass. His climactic speech is not much longer, but it gets the point across. The editing is pretty brisk; scenes never linger too long. Del Toro acknowledged in an interview that fellow directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped him cut the film.

                They definitely struck the right tone. del Toro took it seriously enough that it wasn't a joke, but not so serious that it’s no longer fun. The marketing played up the action, but I was pleasantly surprised by the scenes that didn't involve any enormous robots or monsters. They didn't try to make everything dark and gritty like so many blockbusters these days. (I’m looking at you, Man of Steel.) 

                MINOR SPOILER...

I also really liked how the film doesn’t end with a kiss, but rather a hug. It definitely seemed like it was headed for that cliché.

                Pacific Rim is supposedly tracking at an opening of around $40 or $50 million. It’s going up against Grown Ups 2, which is looking at a similar opening weekend. Despicable Me 2 is still doing well, so it remains to be seen how much Pacific Rim will end up with. It hasn't been a good summer for blockbusters that weren't part of an established franchise.

RATING:  8/10

UPDATE: Grown Up 2 made $16.5 million on Friday This beat Pacific Rim, which only grossed $14.6 million. Pacific Rim is on pace to make around $37 million for the weekend, below projections.


  1. Good review Kino. Had a fun time with this one, even if I was a bit disappointed by how lame the characters were.