Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

Because sometimes you just need to come home and see a robot suplex a sea dragon.

Guillermo del Toro directed Pan's Labyrinth, a film that whether you like it or you have to admit has one of the most inventive and creative fantasy world seen in film. In Pacific Rim, GdT explores a different kind of fantasy world. This time though, it's not a Spanish take on dark fairytales, but a Japanese-inspired monster-disaster movie.

Pacific Rim (which, as a side note, is a terrible, terrible name for the film) is set in a nearish future where Earth is being troubled by the occasional invasion from giant aliens. In a different twist though, they don't come from the skies but some weird dimensional rift that's appeared at the bottom of the ocean; they climb out and terrorise pretty much all the cities on the pacific coasts. Mankind, not to be outdone by some finheads, have banded together to build a series of huge robots to fight back and boom we have our film.

That's pretty much it. There isn't a whole lot of depth to this. It's pretty much a Western take on the classic Godzilla films, and that's great! Not everything has to have weaving and intricate plots that take any available turn to create the illusion of being creative. There is a valid point to be made in that there's too little time spent with each character, and they're really simple at that price. There's something like 8 main characters and it doesn't help that each robot has to be piloted by two "rangers" who all seem to get the same amount of attention meaning you don't really get one main character. You do get a little and complete story arc for each character though, and that plays into the film's main message.

It doesn't take a professor to figure out that the main message of Pacific Rim is that "We're all in this together". Despite being a war film, it's all about coming together to achieve things we couldn't individually, from the large scale co-operation between all nations to fight off the outer-space menace to the personal connection that develops between the two pilots at centre stage. We're all broken in little ways, but we can cover each others' backs.

But if you think that's all a bit soppy, Pacific Rim is still just simply fantastic fun. The film's a little long, but at least half of it is made up of actions scenes where it's literally just giant robots and alien monsters beating the shit out of each other in the sea, in the city and on the sea floor. It looks beautiful. Set mainly in-and-around future Hong Kong it's a got a real techno-grunge factor with neon lights and grease everywhere and it inexplicably seems to be always raining for some reason. It's slick, stylish and is just fucking awesome.

Guillermo del Toro knows that he's made a film about giant robots fighting giant aliens and that is all it was. He has essentially made that film that every eleven year old boy would have made had he been given a box full of sugary snacks and $190 million dollars.

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