Tuesday, July 16, 2013
This past weekend, I finally witnessed the long awaited summer blockbuster, PACIFIC RIM. It seemed like we waited an eternity for this much hyped film. Well, let me tell you the wait was worth it. To be honest, I generally avoid blockbuster action films. It’s a genre I can never relate to. I even have a hard time watching films based on comic books and I love comic books. On the other hand, I expected nothing but the best from del Toro when anticipating PACIFIC RIM. He definitely delivered! It’s no secret I have a huge affinity for Guillermo del Toro. His Spanish horror stories are absolutely riveting and he brought to life on the big screen one of my favorite comic book characters, Hellboy. I'm still praying for HELLBOY 3!
I’ve heard several comparisons to PACIFIC RIM to INDEPENDENCE DAY, TRANSFORMERS, CLOVERFIELD, THE AVENGERS, and the new TRON. I find this very tiresome and would expect these comparisons from people who live in their tiny world of Michael Bay and Bret Ratner films.
I think you need to fully understand the rich history of kaiju to really appreciate PACIFIC RIM. I am no expert on the culture of kaiju, but I know a few slightly obsessive collectors to have picked up a thing or two. In the same vain that many comic book characters have extensive backgrounds; many of the monsters from yesterday have a similar history. The Japanese have been making kaiju films and animated series for more than sixty years, long before Will Smith and his hokey aliens. The intention behind PACIFIC RIM was to take an established idea and pay tribute by building on that idea. Much like Tarantino pays homage to kung fu & spaghetti westerns, del Toro pays homage to kaiju.
Now anyone can take an already established idea and try to revamp it, i.e. Zack Snyder and Bryan Singer. The difference where del Toro succeeds and the others fail lies within his passion. Del Toro is a fan of the genre first and foremost and his ardor really shines through the screen. He makes films about the things he loves whereas Michael Bay makes movies for profit.
I have heard a few complaints about the acting being over the top. Well, it’s supposed to be over the top. These monsters and robots are larger than life. The human actors should only match this exaggeration. Personally, I don’t feel the acting is excessive. Ron Perlman’s cameo was perfect and a big personality such as his should always be outrageous. Charlie Hunnam’s role was great even if his American accent is lacking. Clifton Collins Jr. was definitely a highlight for me. Indris Elba’s role as Stacker Pentecost was much akin to a modern day Obi Wan Kenobi. I never cared much for The Wire, but it’s quit clear the man can act. Of course there is ample CGI, but it never really takes away from the story. My major issue with most action films is that the characters are often severely underdeveloped. That is not the case with PACIFIC RIM. The characters are all pretty relatable and it’s easy to empathize with them. When’s the last time you felt any empathy for Shia LeDouche or Megan Fox? The story within PACIFIC RIM has a fluidity that is so often blown to bits (pun intended) in many recent action films.
I feel like the best thing about PACIFIC RIM is that it will amaze & awe adults just as much as it will for kids and that is a hard task to accomplish. This film is a beautifully done throwback to a much loved genre. Also, PACIFIC RIM has a cute English bulldog and dogs always sell me on anything.