Warning: This review contains spoilers.
This weekend, Oct. 18-20, Pacific Rim was in Cole Cinema.
When I started watching the movie, I was skeptical. There are so many movies about aliens out there, that all I could think was: How could this be any different? I had seen the trailers – it just didn’t look worth the money I would spend if I saw it in theaters when it came out.
The movie starts out with a giant alien that comes up from the water (called a Kaiju) attacking a city. Almost like a mix between the doctor-turned-lizard from the fairly recent The Amazing Spiderman and the not-so-recent Godzilla (there is, apparently, going to be a new Godzilla, coming out next year). And maybe there’s a little bit of the alien from Alien.
Then comes in the main character, Raleigh Becket (played by Charlie Hunnam), and his brother Yancy Becket (played by Diego Klattenhoff), who are apparently really good at fighting the Kaiju. They step inside one of the massive robots created to fight the Kaiju, a Kaiju comes out of the water, the Becket brothers go in, and the real action begins. Twelve minutes in, and there’s already a battle to the death (and yes, the death that occurs is very dramatic, as they always are in movies like this, and yes, the main character is very messed up because of it). Also typical of these types of movies, there is someone in command who goes against everything he is told to do by his superiors and is too brave for his own good, there are scientists who are fascinated by the aliens and want to study them, and there is a pretty girl and at least a little bit of chemistry between her and the leading man (starting when she sees him half-naked).
Despite its flaws and its stereotypes, the movie is intense from start to finish, and even though there are some slow-moving moments, in general, the movie is fast-paced. The Kaiju are large, impressive, and scary, and they attack everywhere. The Kaiju are also very well designed, original in that the designs seem to be taken from several other movie monsters. In addition, the movie was very well cast. Among the more famous names are Idris Elba (playing Major Stacker Pentecost) and the very hyperactive Charlie Day (playing Newt Geiszler).
Overall, I believe my original skepticism was affirmed. I was pleasantly surprised by the general quality of the movie (e.g., the Kaiju, pacing of the movie, and the cast), however I was unimpressed by the storyline, and the fact that it’s about an apocalypse that’s on the verge of being brought about by giant monsters. There are only so many movie plots, it’s true, but I feel like the monster/apocalypse story has been been done a few too many times already. I did, however, appreciate the cheesy lines (i.e., “Today we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them! Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”), but that was mostly because they were delivered by Idris Elba.
One thing I can say that I loved about this movie: the soundtrack, composed by Ramin Djawadi (who also composed the score for Game of Thrones), made me dislike the movie a little less.