Yeah yeah, I know, pretty much everybody is back in school, and it's not SUMMER anymore it's just really hot.
But guess what's probably still playing at your local theater? Pacific Rim. And guess what else? It's the best movie I've seen in FOREVER.
But first some context. I grew up on old monster movies, lots of Tokyo-destroying and crazy impossible science. I more frequently messed up my dollhouse with a Godzilla figure than actually played pre-computer SIMS with it. So Pacific Rim was right up my alley from the beginning.
The story is not the strong point of the film, but it's serviceable. In 2020, Kaiju, giant monsters along the lines of Gamera and the like, are destroying cities across the world. To stop them, the world creates Jaegers, giant robots with the capacity to take down the Kaiju. Each Jeager is piloted by two people who "drift" and share a collective memory in order to pilot the robots. They move, think, and feel as one person. Our main hero, Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam), blonde, American, and golden in every way, lost his brother in the Jaeger Gipsy Danger a couple years prior to the story. He's been travelling around working on "the wall" that provides menial labor jobs to millions, and is supposed to keep Kaiju out, but really isn't working. The Kaiju have evolved and have learned how to fight back against the Jeagers, and the project is going to be shut down soon. It's then that Raleigh is brought back to the Jaeger program by Stacker Pentacost (an on top Idris Elba, hardly ever better). Awesome ensues.
One of the many great things about Pacific Rim is it's great characters. Raleigh is not even the focal point. Perhaps the greatest in this movie is Mako Mori. Everyone, prepare to meet your new queen. The great thing about Mako (played by the wonderful Rinko Kikuchi) is that she is a fully developed character, with a storyline that does not revolve around a man, and she kicks butt on her own terms. She has real pathos and a great backstory. This is Mako's movie, we just had to market it as a movie about a white American man so it would sell. And while that's a shame, it's still a wonderful thing to see an Asian woman leading a movie so greatly.
But there's not a bad performance in the movie. Frequent Del Toro collaborator Ron Pearlman (ugh, spelling) is back, and turns in a great, comic relief preformance. Burn Gorman makes yet another mark on American cinema in the past year. If I bring up Idris Elba again, we'll be here all night. And Charlie Day is show stealing, as Newt Gieszler, a kind of sillier version of Ben Whishaw's Q. Don't get me wrong, he's his own character though. He's one of my favorites as well.
The design and visual effects of the movie also deserve an essay. Very creative, clean cut, and great to look at. I'm especially fond of the Mako flashback, and the stark contrasts of colors there.
Please just go see this movie, you won't regret. A talented cast, great action scenes, and wonderful characters. You won't regret it.