Friday, July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim

Only for the Robots and Monsters
by Reymundo Salao

PACIFIC RIM is a robot-versus-monsters movie directed by visionary film director Guillermo Del Toro who is well-known for immortal fantasy and horror films such as Cronos, Pan's Labyrinth, as well as Blade 2 and the Hellboy movies.  It stars Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman.

Anticipated and forseen to be one of the gigantic movies this year, PACIFIC RIM hopes to attract the fans of big destructive monster flicks like Godzilla, and fans of flashy robot movies like the Transformers movies, as well as fans of mecha-sci-fi, and mecha anime, from the classic mecha anime of the 1970's Voltes V and Daimos, to the recent Gundam generations. [full review after the jump]

I actually loved the concept. If I were to judge the movie only by concept and eye candy factor, the movie does score high. But unfortunately, I was not impressed by the rest of it. The movie suffers from bland acting and a sloppy script. There is a lack of chemistry between the main characters Becket and by Mako; actor Charlie Hunnam and Academy Award Nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi (for her performance in the movie BABEL) are certainly great performers, but their acting in this movie feels so uninspired and so amateur-ish.

The movie's great concept cannot save how messy the script is. The story is good, the script is bad. The flow of the story is never fluid, as if it lacks some extra scenes that could have made some story details make sense (I hope that there will indeed be a full uncut version of this movie to be released later on, on home video perhaps). The film has a really poor character development; the motivations of the characters are never built-up well enough, thus making these characters be devoid of audience sympathy. They quickly devolve into cardboard characters; lifeless and boring.

It is the eye-candy that really is PACIFIC RIM's saving grace. But even that needs a little improvement. In one way or another, it commits the same mistake the Transformers movies do; the shooting of action scenes too close to the jaegers (machines/robots), which only makes some of the action sequences difficult to appreciate visually. Having most of the action scenes at night does not help as well. If only they could have avoided those sequences that appear to have been shot too close to the jaegers/kaijus. 

I confess I did have high hopes for this movie because it's a Guillermo Del Toro movie. I wanted so much to love it and to forgive whatever little flaws it had. I even set my bar low enough to find enough good things in it; but I could not go down low enough to lie to myself about how much the movie felt so disappointing. In the end, it felt like a Michael Bay movie without the corny fratboy jock humor and the overbloated sexuality.

It is only the action and the eye-candy that carries much of the weight that makes the PACIFIC RIM worth the price of admission. If you ask me, PACIFIC RIM is a movie that deserves to be watched in the theaters (hell, if given the chance to watch the movie again in IMAX, I'll do so). But do not expect it to be a good movie whenever there are those moments in the film where there are no robots or monsters on the screen.

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