Pacific Rim (Review)

Pacific RimLet me start like this. If you are not concerned with deep thought, and you have a desire for pure action with an Oriental flavor, and you love big machines, this is right up your alley. This is anime, Evangelion, and Godzilla on steroids.

Now for my usual heady, over thinking of this movie, along with some critical analysis. For me, this movie was Godzilla 3.0. Godzilla is Japan’s metaphor for nuclear weapons, a huge beast that levels cities, almost beyond control. In a similar fashion, huge, seemingly mindless beasts of wrath are emerging from an inter-dimensional rift in the Pacific basin. Likewise, mecha, large robot-like piloted machines are a metaphor for humanity’s reliance and both acceptance and fear of mechanization. But there is a new twist. We are on the dawn of the wet-ware age, and in the middle of the social networking age. “Pacific Rim” brings all of this together. These mecha are not piloted by buttons alone. They are not piloted by a single individual, nor a crew really. They are controlled by a wet-ware combination of two or more human minds and the machine. Pilot teams are mentally synchronized through a process called “The Drift,” each mind controlling a portion of the oversized mecha, much the way that the hemispheres of our brain become a single mind controlling a single body.

The shadows of Godzilla were strong for me. As each new beast, collectively called Kaiju, would appear, a new martial arts battle of mega-proportions would ensue. As a Kaiju receives a punch to the face, much like our old friend, Godzilla, the Kaiju would shake its head in oversized slow motion, and then stumble to its feet, its massive belly shaking, much the way the Godzilla suit would giggle. Don’t get me wrong. I am not being critical of this. I believe the connection is intentional. It worked for me. Each Kaiju is different in size, shape, and abilities. But we eventually learn from the obligatory nerdy scientist, played by Charlie Day of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the Kaiju is really a single entity. Each Kaiju is cloned and engineered for a job. The metaphors of our modern considerations keep coming.

The direction is average. I cannot point to anything bad, but nothing blew me away either. Likewise, there were no risks taken with the editing, cinematography, or sets. The music is not outstanding, but neither is it poorly done. It does the job, and nothing more. So too, the digital effects fit the slot, but does not push the envelop. The actors do their jobs. No one stands out, but there are no outstanding lines either. There are no real heavyweights here, the only real notables being Idris Elba, Charlie Day, and a small part by Ron Perlman. The 3D work is weak. I’m not talking about bolts of this or that flying out over the audience. I am referring to the quality. Some shots lacked depth, or some depth layers appeared to have a poor color balance, or lacked a proper atmospheric distortion.

A personal note here. I am growing tired of the glorification of war, warring, and warriors. The tough, idolized solider mentality is thick in this movie. Okay, I’m a martial artist myself, but there is no honor in extolling the war machine. When fighting is necessary, as I guess it was given the storyline, then you fight. And while that may make the solider a hero, he and the rest of us to not need to beat our chests and be prideful of it.

Overall, an average movie. Fun if you like anime, mecha, and martial arts from old Kung Fu movies.

Worth the ticket, but go for the regular, there is no need for the glasses.

About Sifu Keith Mosher

My new book, "Astro Boy, Sensei, and Me" is available now, as is my Sci-Fi joy ride, "On a Sphere's Edge". I have a Bachelor of Media Arts degree from USC. I have been an Audio Producer / Engineer, a Law Office Manager, and I am currently an Author and a Martial Arts Instructor.
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