Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim (2013)

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi

A former mecha pilot is called back into service for the endgame in the long war between humanity and monstrous alien invaders known as the Kaiju.

You'd be understandably skeptical of a Western-made mecha vs. kaiju film. Anyone underwhelmed by the Michael Bay Transformers films can be forgiven for not wanting to even look at a giant robot, but let me tell you something, forget Bayformers. If you want sweet mecha actions, this is where it's at. I saw this movie at least twice in the theaters, maybe three times, so you can already imagine how I feel about it. Rewatching it for the purpose of this review, I tried to think what it was about this movie that charmed me so much while Bayformers left me feeling dead inside. (Okay, in all honesty, I though the first one was okay, even if it took something like an hour and a half to assemble the Autobots. The second two pretty well assured I'll only watch another Michael Bay film under duress.) Likable characters is one thing and being an original franchise (so there are no existing expectations to be betrayed) is another. Also, Bay doesn't even like Transformers while Guillermo del Toro exudes passion and love for this project. That love comes through and if you're on board for it, you'll be riding the love wave too.

Now, let's be fair. This film isn't perfect, but as with anything that taps into the fan impulse, if you get taken in, you won't really see the flaws and if you don't, you won't see anything else. I'll admit that I found Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket to be a bit of a bland hero guy, but except for his Japanese (which is thankfully kept very short), nothing about the character or performance is exceptionally bad. I really liked Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost and Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori. I liked the rest of the supporting characters too but I want to give a nod to Rod Pealman's cameo and Ellen McLain as the voice of Gipsy Danger's AI (who thankfully doesn't fill Gipsy's cockpit with a deadly neurotoxin).

On a technical level, this film is sure to impress. To be honest, we get a lot of films these days with really good VFX, so the spectacle alone isn't enough to do much for me, but if I connect to a film, its technical prowess acts as a force multiplier. I won't spoil any of the really cool scenes. I'll leave that for you to discover. I'll also credit the score as doing a good job of adding hype to the big action set pieces.

This is probably one of the best if not the best live-action mecha films you'll find. If you're a fan of the genre, you won't be disappointed and even if you just like a good action film, you'll enjoy yourself. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this.

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