Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pacific Rim

It breaks my heart to say this, but Pacific Rim wasn't a very good film. It wasn't a bad film -- at least, I didn't think so, but I could definitely understand if somebody else thought so -- but it just wasn't very good, which is a disappointment considering the concept, the cast, the production values, and the director involved. It was just a bit of a mess, lacked any real plot or characters to care about, and was mostly boring.

Here's the plot: giant alien monsters are invading our planet from a different dimension via some kind of portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, so the people of Earth create giant robots controlled by pairs of human pilots to fight off the monsters and hopefully destroy the portal forever.

Sounds awesome, right? I mean... if you're a geek, that is. Director Guillermo Del Toro has long been a geek god, having crafted some of the best comic book and fantasy films of the past decade, from Blade II to both Hellboy films, to Pan's Labyrinth, all of his movies have been visual masterpieces, but also full of heart and story and characters we came to know and love. But this film kind of dropped the ball, and while there were moments when it felt like a Guillermo del Toro film, for the most part it just seemed like they came up with a cool concept, but then phoned everything else in. There was more character development in the first ten minutes of Pan's Labyrinth than there was in this entire film.

I don't remember any character's name, let alone did I care about their stories or backgrounds during the actual film. They were just that guy from Sons of Anarchy, who is actually a very good actor but you wouldn't know it from his performance here, that Asian girl, that guy from the Wire, who is also a very good actor but you wouldn't know it from his performance here, and I was never quite sure if his accent was supposed to be British or Southern. For real.

I did like the performance by Charlie Day, since he's a quirky actor who actually seemed to be the only one having fun in the entire movie. He was basically just playing Charlie from It's Always Sunny only as a scientist, but that's ok by me since that's funny in and of itself. His few scenes with the equally quirky and fun Ron Perlman were the highlights of the entire film.

But how were the actions scenes, you might be asking. How were the fights between the monsters and the robots?


They were ok. They were probably even really cool, and they were certainly the coolest things about the movie, although they were far too few and over far too quickly, since most of the movie was actually just people talking about the monsters and robots. Anyway, the fights themselves were pretty cool, but you know what would've made them awesome? If you could actually fucking see them. Why does every fight in this movie take place at night, in the rain? I'm not joking. Every freakin' fight in filmed in darkness under a layer of torrential rainfall.  I watched this movie to see robots fighting monsters... let me see that! And if that wasn't bad enough, the film's big finale takes place at the bottom of the ocean!

If they ever make a sequel to this movie... please... have it take place in the middle of the desert. The designs of the monsters and the robots looked cool, from what little I could make out. Why not let us actually see them?

This is what the entire movie looks like
There were a couple fight scenes that were just between humans, like the bit where the Sons of Anarchy guy had the stick fight against the new recruits, or when he had that fight against that Australian guy... and both of those scenes were better, more exciting, and more fun than any of the fights between the monsters and the robots... and that's just wrong. 

So as a film, this just fell flat for me because the characters were boring, the story was so slight as to be nonexistent, and the action sequences were so hard to follow, which is all a shame because the production values were amazing. The sets and computer effects were outstanding, and the cinematography by Guillermo Navarro was up to his usual high standard. This is the guy who has done the cinematography for every film by Guillermo del Toro, and even won the Academy Award for Pan's Labyrinth. All of his films have this amber hue that is really gorgeous, and this might be his best looking film yet.

It's just such a shame the film didn't really come together as a whole, so I can't really recommend it, even though I can't recommend avoiding it either if you're at all interested. I don't regret having seen it, and it's the kind of movie I can see myself rewatching again someday if it ever comes on Netflix or HBO, since it was cool and fun, just not as cool and fun as it should've been.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

Darn--I was holding out some hope for this even though everybody else seemed to be pretty ambivalent about it, and my own mother said it was the worst movie she has ever seen. Actually, I'm not sure she said that, but she was it was absolutely terrible, and that I was the only one she knew who might possibly like it.

I'll still try to watch it, but I wish it were more worthy of my previous anticipation.

Donald said...

I think you should see it, if only because I want to hear your opinion. Also, I was probably harder on it than I should've been. It's not a bad movie, it's just not as brilliant or epic as it should've been.

But it's fun.

Mugato said...

I have actually heard enough negative things about this movie to never want to see it. Too bad because Bill The Bull is a great director, The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth are two of my favorite films

dwibs93 said...

I'm afraid I have to agree with you.

I can't remember the characters names.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

No worries--I'll definitely see it when Redbox gets it.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Watched it. Don't know if I'll write a review or not, so I'll just agree with this:

"Anyway, the fights themselves were pretty cool, but you know what would've made them awesome? If you could actually fucking see them."

All in all, I was reasonably entertained. But yeah...