WARNING: This post contains minor plot spoilers for the movie Pacific Rim (2013).
Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would—almost as much as I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and I think that’s saying something.
Even though I had read a review by my fellow blogger at the Pop Culture Historian and heard how much he enjoyed the film, I was still a little skeptical. The trailer hadn’t really managed to draw me in and I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the insert of an Asian female character—not because I’m against Asians taking leading roles, no, believe me, I would love to see that more than anything. It was more because I got the sense that they were going to have an Asian lead whose character will have a limited vocabulary and help enforce unfortunate stereotypes.
Sadly, yet unsurprisingly, my hunch was on the mark. The character did seem to have a limited number of lines, good at martial arts, and leaned more on the submissive and sometimes whiny side. It was a pain to watch and a disappointment. I also noticed that the character “Tendo Choi,” which I’m pretty sure is supposed to be an Asian character, is played by someone who is clearly not. I suppose that shouldn’t be too surprising; such is the nature of Hollywood.
On the brighter side of things, I thought Idris Elba was excellent here. I loved him in RocknRolla (2008) and have been a fan of his ever since. Charlie Hunnam and Diego Klattenhoff were great as brothers, and I was actually pretty mad they killed Klattenhoff’s character off, along with Elba’s. Rumor has it Elba is returning somehow in a second film. If they bring him back, I demand that they bring back Klattenhoff’s character too—I felt like there was so much more that could have been explored with both characters and for some reason they just got rid of them.
The supporting cast I also thought was really strong. We had Charlie Day, whom I never would have pictured could pull of the whole mad scientist thing until I saw him in this film, after which the movie had me wondering how I never saw that as a possibility before. I think he had good on-screen chemistry with Burn Gorman, who sort of played as his “sidekick.” I also thought the father-son relationship between Max Martini and Robert Kazinsky’s characters was very touching and I actually almost teared up a second time when they said their final goodbyes; the first time was when Klattenhoff’s character gets terminated, and the third time is when both Kazinsky and Elba’s characters go down. As you can see, I really dislike main and supporting characters dying off if I was rooting for them, haha. Ron Perlman’s character, on the other hand, I could have cared less for. I was actually kind of mad that his character survived getting eaten by a Kaiju. Unless he’s not completely human, that made absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps I had a sore spot though, since I wished all the other characters I mentioned that died had lived. (For some reason too, his character almost felt out of place to me and the way he played his character made me feel like the character would have been a better fit in the Men In Black franchise instead.) I realize that in any war movie, just like in any real life war, there are casualties, but I didn’t mind losing the other two Jaeger teams that went down. Not saying I didn’t care for the characters; I actually did like the Russian team as well, but the other two teams were so lightly touched upon that I didn’t feel nearly as invested in them.
Visually, the movie was very impressive. Even though for the most part the sets were dark, and Kaiju problem aside, the movie made me totally want to be a Jaeger pilot, haha. Battles in the daytime would be nice, if the sequel rumor is true. From what I hear though, the director who made this prefers having dark sets almost all the time—don’t take my word for it though.
The story was not completely perfect, but I did enjoy it for what it was. Given my very low expectations for this movie, I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. I was also surprised by how some of the scenes managed to tug on my emotions, especially since I don’t always get too emotionally invested in science fiction movies.
FINAL VERDICT: B+
Phew! That’s one movie down and six more recent ones to go that I’d like to review. I know I say this all the time, but seriously, one of these days I’ll finally have a minute to sit down and plug out all the other reviews and articles that I want to have posted up on this site. Anyway, until next time!