David and I went and saw Pacific Rim this weekend and since it did not get the box office love I wanted to put down my thoughts on the movie. We went and saw it in 3D because when we saw a 3D trailer it looked amazing. I also love Guillermo Del Toro I think he has done fabulous movies and it is amazing to see what he can do with so little sometimes. Before the movie came out I was super excited to see it. It is so great getting an original story. Than I read a review from USA Today that tore the movie to pieces and I was a little worried, still excited, but it did make me worry a bit that the critics would not like the movie and that would keep people from seeing it.
When you have established stories, I do not know how much it matters what the critics say there is a fan base that exists for that story that will see the movie. Pacific Rim, while playing on a fan-base, is not a specific story, but an overarching genre. Kaiju and Robots are both reasonable popular stories, particularly in Anime. I personally love both of those genres because the battles tend to just be awesome. Pacific Rim does not disappoint on that end, but I think they did a great job of making us care about the characters in a short period of time.
Kaiju versus Robots
So there are ways to do this well and there are ways to do this badly, and Pacific Rim did it awesomely. Sometimes you can try and make everything so large and moving so fast that the audience does not see anything just a blur of light and motion. In parts of the fight in Pacific Rim they actually slow down the motion. You see the punch, the build up, the kick, the throw, etc. You feel like you are there in the middle of the action.
The other part that is really interesting about Pacific Rim is how the pilot’s control the Jaegers (Robots). There are two pilots because one person does not have the mental fortitude to control the whole machine. The other part is that the way they put the pilots in they control the Jaeger by actually moving, so they are clamped in to something like an elliptical to move the feet and then connected to the back. They are hooked in, but have some ability to move independently of the Jaeger so they don’t just get broken.
This means that they can show transition between showing the pilots walking in the head of the Jaeger and the Jaeger actually moving. They can also show the pilots throwing punches and then you see the Jaeger punch the Kaiju. It really helped to personalize the fights. It was not just this giant robot fighting a monster there were people.
Fight for Humanity
So the thing that the review from the USA Today really tore apart was the human element. Going in to the movie I was thinking okay it will be a fun action, but the characters are not that great. In my humble opinion they were totally wrong. The movie did an amazing job making me care about all of the characters. There were a couple of ways that they did.
One is simply the fact that we are seeing the potential end of humanity and these are the people fighting for humanities survival. We are seeing fathers, sons, brothers, orphans, and we can relate to these characters. By showing familial relationships of the characters we care about what happens to them because we think of them as our own family. If that was our family how would we feel.
The other piece is that they are succinct in showing us or talking about the worst and best moments. These moments are either awe inspiring or heart-wrenching and they show us the heart of the characters. It is amazing how simple actions can define who somebody is, a survivor, a showoff, a leader, etc. It was done so brilliantly. I will admit I got teary eyed at moments watching the struggles of humanities last stand.
Go See This Movie
In conclusion, I loved it. Pacific Rim was everything I hoped it would be and more. Go see this movie, 3D was amazing, but if you don’t want to pay the money just see it on the regular screen. So now watch the review from Sourcefed Nerd which reiterates most of what I said, but is fun to watch.