Friday, July 19, 2013

The hardest part to deal with is the silence.

I was never Andy from Toy Story. When I played with my toys, I used very little of my imagination. I would try to recreate scenes from the cartoons or movies, hell, maybe even the commercials themselves. But I never crossed streams, never mixed genres. Even when allegedly having fun, I wanted things to be authentic. He-Man never fought Optimus Prime. The dudes from M.A.S.K. never tangled with the Turtles. Those kind of battles would never happen and were ridiculous. I mean, what's next, Godzilla fighting Voltron?

I don't know why, but I just want to yell Roooooobot Jox!
I didn't even have to see a preview to know that I needed to see Pacific Rim. If I remember correctly, when I asked for a plot summary, I believe a certain husky-eyed friend of mind placed his hands on my shoulders and bore his eyes directly into my soul. Dude, he said. It's f--king robots, fighting f--king monsters. So, we're seeing it in 3D, right?

Months later, there we were. 3D, IMAX - the whole bit. And while he left with noticeable back sweat (true story), I left pleased, if slightly underwhelmed. And no, I just checked. There's no vagina down there. Promise.

Look, whenever a giant-ass robot is fighting a giant-ass monster, I was all in. Even leaning forward. But for the other half of the movie, the parts where people are talking about their feelings and explaining their actions, I kept all of my f--ks, relinquished none. Outside of some of the best action sequences I have ever seen, the whole thing reminded me of a less-ridiculous Independence Day. Seriously, it's basically the same story, except Will Smith is now a handsome white guy and Bill Pullman is now a handsome black guy. And instead of the sexy rack of Vivica A Fox, we get the unholy face of Ron Perlman. Though I love that guy so much that might be an upgrade, honestly.

Please, don't get me wrong. If there's a movie that you should see in IMAX 3D this summer, Pacific Rim is it, hands down. Director Guillermo del Toro has my undying devotion, ever since my jugular was completley severed by the bloody goodness of Blade II.  He never, ever cheats you. The worlds, the character designs, and of course, the action are always vividly realized. And Pacific Rim does nothing to change that. In fact, after the first big fight scene I was so blown away I thought there's no way in Hell they can keep this up. Turns out, I was right. Sort of.

The story of giant creatures awakening on our planet and laying waste to it is f--king cool, I don't care what you say. Even better? The fact that societies all come together to build giant robots to fight them makes it somehow even cooler. But what likely would have made for the best videogame ever, becomes only an average movie when one looks for anything other than spectacular f--king action. I loved the Kaiju. And I f--king loved the Jaegers. But after what felt like the eighteenth Epic Rain Battle, I began to question our relationship. Maybe love is too strong of a word. Maybe I just like-like the Kaiju. Maybe the Jaegers and I should live together first. See how it goes.

Anyway, this is veering into crazy land - even I can see it. A giant robot actually punches a sea monster in the face and I'm not thrilled? Shit. Maybe I'm finally not twelve. Though the Yays and Boos might beg to differ.

Careful, bro. It looks like your arm might hit his.
  • That opening sequence was so intense, I almost couldn't handle it. Though had I actually died, the bass from the IMAX sound system likely would have kept my heart beating.
  • Oh, and that scene in Sydney? F--king nuts.
  • I wish like boats, it was socially acceptable to name houses. 'Cause I'm totally calling The Shatter Dome.
  • The whole pairing up/sharing of memories is a very cool idea on paper, and even better on screen. Mori's flashback sequence was incredible. Maybe one of the better moments of the whole movie. And let's not forget the resulting chaos of this memory, either.
  • The international teams, though underused, are all pretty cool - especially the Chinese squad. Their three-armed Jaeger was cool as Hell. From now on, I will demand my students arrange their desks in the Thundercloud Formation. It's not like they ever know what I'm talking about anyway.
  • Speaking of giant, battling robots pulling off sweet moves, I loved the fact that they would go all samurai and brace themselves by jamming their sword in the sound and holding the f--k on. 
  • And finally, even though the cast is tasked with saying some ridiculously wooden stuff, I actually liked almost everyone. 
    • Idris Elba continues to own the screen as the most badass motherf--ker of wherever he happens to be standing. 
    • Charlie Hunnam, who I just realized was in Deadfall [review], did the quietly intense/handsome guy thing as good as anyone not named Ryan Gosling. 
    • Rinko Kikuchi, whose character might have been a little too important, was solid as the conflicted Mori. I've loved this woman in every single flick I've seen her in.
    • Even Charlie Day as Crazy Science Guy. His whole arc is possibly the weakest (or lamest) in the movie, but I still found his performance entertaining for what it was. As far as kooky scientist go, I'll always be a Dr. Ian Malcolm kind-of-girl. Er, dude. Or something.
    • And of course, Ron Perlman. Even if he goes all Sam Jackson in Deep Blue Sea on us.
  • What's the cinematic record for showing the title in the middle of the movie? I think we have a winner.
  • Clearly I likes me some fighting robots, but during every battle I wondered, um, maybe we should start with the missiles instead?
  • The Wall of Life program. Seriously?
  • In these type of chaotic end-of-the-world/disaster type flicks, I've always wanted to rifle my soda off the screen when anybody takes a minute to passionately kiss someone in the midst of humanity's last stand. Here, I had the same feeling. Just replace passionate kiss with stick battle. There is no f--king way that in a future so advanced that there's ever a reason for this to happen. Tron-style frisbee battle? Fine. But this? We we're Master Splinter and a Shredder reference from Ninja Turtles 11.
  • I loved the battles, I did. But did it always have to rain? I realize the Kaiju come out of the water (and there's likely a scientific reason for the precipitation) and all, but the familiar setting made them eventually feel redundant. 
  • Andy from According to Jim is in this? The Boo is that I ever watched that show (with my wife).
  • Shit. Two days ago someone told me I left too early. I would have loved to see that scene during the credits, but after what felt like 900 minutes, I'll admit it: I was ready to get the f--k out of there.
  • Okay, let's be honest with ourselves. The script is pretty awful at times. Simple and straightforward to a fault. Seriously, not a single thing happens without a pretty thorough explanation. I can't think of anything that was implied. Not one thing.
  • As much as I liked the teams, they were woefully underused. Not that I wanted the movie to be any longer, but we could've given the other squads some time, outside of Conflicted Father and Douchey Son of course.
  • And finally, this one isn't on Pacific Rim at all, but where we saw the flick, unsurprisingly there were a shit ton of previews. We're limping along, probably 15 minutes into the green screens, and we get the f--king fantastic glory of the Elysium preview. And officially, everyone in the room is pumped to see robots punch monsters. Wait. What's this? Another preview? And it''s for The Wizard of Oz? That sound you heard wasn't a twister. It was the life being sucked out of the room.
At the end of the day, I'm glad that del Toro, unlike my younger self, flexed his imagination and created something so cool, so visually inspired. Apparently, I just expected a little more from my fun. I wanted it to mean something, too.

I always have.


  1. Nice review M. The script blows, but del Toro's direction of these fights are actually really fun to watch, as well as pretty damn thrilling since the destruction and carnage feels and looks so real. As real as CGI can be.

    1. As usual, I agree with everything you've said here. Well done, Dan.

  2. What?? You never did crossovers with your toys? Man, I had Iron-Man and Luke Skywalker tag-team against a T-Rex and King Kong in the ring for a wrestling match! Erghh.... maybe I shouldn't have told that story...

    I loved the movie, but like you somehow felt it was a little too long. Normally, it doesn't matter, but somehow it was like the movie peaked too soon. Would have loved to see the after-credits scene... missed that too.

    1. Nope. No crossovers ever. I bet all your toys could fly, too. Damn I hated when my friends did that. Though, I do like your proposed battle. I wouldn't be surprised if that comes to theaters 25 years from now. Assuming we still have theaters. You know...'cause of the Kaiju destroying everything.

      Peaked to soon! YES. That's it. Perfect.

      Oh, and you can't regret telling a stupid story here. It's what this site is all about.

  3. Great review! I saw the trailer for this movie with my son, the resident expert on general badassery, when we went to WWZ. I thought he might be stoked. But all he said was, "It looks too much like ... (he named a video game)." Kids. They are just so damn jaded these days.

    We'll probably catch this on DVD, if at all, but I may ask James if he wants to see the 3-D version, just for kicks. Watching 3-D robots battling aliens sounds like more fun that a summer chick flick, anyway. Despite my anatomy, and my history with child-bearing, I suspect I may actually be a dude.

  4. Oh and about the cast ... I saw Ron Perlman in Cronos last week. I didn't like the movie, but wow ... that guy owned it. And Idris Elba is a solid actor, plus the guy is insanely hot. 'Nuff said.

    1. Elba wasn't shirtless....AGAIN. What the hell do I pay for 3D for?!

    2. I always love when this Elba adoration/insatiable lust spills over to my blog. Makes me feel like one of the girls.

  5. I basically lost it with that last Elba scene. I was sitting there and the whole time my two thoughts were 1. the dog better lives 2. Elba better lives, but when they did Prometheus re-do I was seriously pissed off. I mean he was the best character there! They should have just focused on him rescuing the little girl and give him the main hero role, that blond dude was useless.

    1. I think I would have been okay with that, the whole Elba-as-the-main-character thing. and I both know, these movies are always anchored by some awful romantic angle that no one over the age of 13 gives a damn about. Without a lady he could scoop up and kiss on the mouth...he can't be the main character. He has to be Dad. Which is odd, because we already had that angle covered with the Aussie guy.

      But, hey. The dog lived.

    2. Yeah that one and Only God Forgives are some of the worst movies I've seen lately and dogs live there, whereas The Hunt and The Conjuring are good flicks and dogs die there. Everything is turned on its ass lately.

  6. I'm with you, any scene not involving Robots fighting Monsters was LAME. The acting was not very good and the plot was very very basic. It was a fun goofy watch but I really was expecting more from del Toro. On the other hand, my five year-old thought it was awesome. Well except for all the talking parts.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking the whole time that my son would have loved the action, which there was plenty, but both of us would have been bored senseless by the exposition.

      My son's four. We watched some of Transformers on FX the other night, and it was as much fun as I've ever had watching a movie. Pretty much confirms that those movies are made for little kids. Only.

  7. Can't figure out the sequel. Pacific Rim 2: Atlantic Rim? Pacific Rim 2: Grand Canyon? Pacific Rim 2: Remember That Volcano in Iceland? As I said on my facebook review, if the apocalypse has been cancelled, and we make a sequel, does that mean that the apocalypse was just rescheduled? To me, as much as I liked it, it felt like the third film of a trilogy that I wish I had seen the first two parts!

    1. I'm glad you avoided using the word 'job' in any of your proposed sequels. Well done.

      Can't see this getting a sequel, but you never know. It could blow up on blu ray and DVD and spark some interest...seems unlikely.

      The third film? I think that prelude was long enough to count as the first one on its own. That's two right there.

      That should have been the tagline. Elba demanding: THE APOCALYPSE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED. I might've seen it again, had that been the case.