Yo ! I haven't done a movie review for a while but if you have read my other movie reviews you maybe have noticed that I like Transformers. I was critical of Transformers 3 the movie, but I do like Transformers the franchise. As an extension of that you may also gather that I like robots. Well, I've just returned from watching Pacific Rim and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Let's see... the basic premise of this movie is giant man-controlled robots fighting giants beasts. It is hard not to see the similarities between this movie and decades of japanese mecha/monster anime. Neon Genesis Evangelion immediately comes to mind. It is hard to imagine the idea coming from anywhere else. I found this from wiki though..
"While walking on the beach near Santa Monica Pier, the screenwriter imagined a giant robot and a giant monster fighting to the death. " They sort of materialized out of the fog, these vast, godlike things"
Never watched Ultraman before?
* Ultraman and I go way back, I even wrote about ultraman in my GCE O-level 1119 paper and scored a 1. Thanks Ultraman!
Remember this guy?
Anyway, in this story the monsters... or Kaiju as they are called in the movie ( meaning monsters in Japanese- I suppose this serves as an acknowledgement to their Japanese influence) arise from deep in the seas and try to destroy humanity ( remember Godzilla?). In an effort to defend themselves, humanity united to build giant mechs piloted by humans to fight the monsters. The giant mechs are called Jaegers ( German for hunter). The mechs proved very effective in fighting the kaiju in the first few years but the kaiju start to adapt and humans soon face an uphill battle to survive.
The kaijus really remind me of the monsters from ultraman. No kidding. Look at these fellows..
Smile for the camera!
CG was well done, the kaiju were truly impressive. They are also surprisingly agile for creatures of that size. Each Kaiju was different in shape and ability.
The mechs are too difficult for one man to control so require dual-piloting, using neural-linking or "drifting". The complexity of piloting mechs is a familiar concept from the Gundam universe. Mecha are very difficult to pilot which is why the new "genetically enhanced" humans have an advantage over normal humans, some of whom require drug enhancement to pilot mechs. Another interesting note was that only first few generations of Jaegers were nuclear powered. No mention was made of what powered the later generation Jaegers-the Mach 4 model and after. This again bears some similarities to the Gundams from Seed Destiny, where the later generation Gundams were non-nuclear due to the deployment of N-Jammers. Sorry.. too much geek talk.
Stand by for action!
Anyway this movie is the most awesome spectacular visual feast (not even sure if this is grammatically correct) I have seen for a long time, or maybe ever. I recommend watching this on big screen to hear the sound of metal pounding carapace and vice versa. Metal pounding shell. Horns and teeth ripping metal. Collossal bodies flung around smashing up buildings. Elbow rockets!?! Elbow rockets are awesome! I loved it! You should know by now, this is very much a boy's movie, but I'm sure everyone can enjoy it.
I give this movie a 7.5/10 and not higher, mainly because the plot is too straight and linear. Not that I minded that much. If I rated it based on visuals and action alone, it would get a 9.5/10. Bottom line I would recommend this movie especially is you have a Y chromosome. If you are a mech fan, this is a must see. If you are still waiting for the Robotech/Voltron or Gundam live action movie, well.. this is the mech movie you were never promised but has arrived.
As I was leaving the cinema, I felt that this franchise would be awesome for toys/action figures. I suddenly felt the urge to buy a Jaeger and Kaiju toy and start a fight on my table top. As u can see below, there are even stats available for each Jaeger, I have no doubt action figures are on the way.
Director Guillermo del Toro pretty much nailed it when he said " Us guys... we stay kids our entire lives"
The Crimson Typhoon is one of my favourite Jaegers