‘Pacific Rim’ reeks of Del Toro

August 1, 2013 Review Print Print
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In a summer that has seemed devoid of blockbusters, the recent release of ““Pacific Rim”” has broken the humdrum cycle of the season. “Pacific Rim,” an epic venture by director Guillermo del Toro, is every bit as fresh, fun and exciting as I had anticipated.

The sci-fi tale sets its story in the near future. A giant rift has formed at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and from this portal to another world, aliens identified as kaijus (Japanese for “giant monster”) have risen. To combat the monsters, a new kind of weapon has been designed — massive robots called Jaegers. They are controlled by two pilots whose minds are bonded by a neural link and who are the main fighting force to defeat the kaijus.

Massive aliens, giant humanoids. On the surface, “Pacific Rim” might seem like your typical sci-fi fare but the feature, which clocks in at just over two hours (but manages never to drag or lose its pace), has brought something refreshing and innovative to a genre that we all tend to know very well.

The first strength of “Pacific Rim” is the passion that director and screenwriter del Toro has for the genre.

Del Toro, a longtime advocate and fan of mecha movies, said he wanted to create something original but also something that paid its dues to the classics of the genre — “Pacific Rim” is the perfect homage to its predecessors.

The film also boasts an impressive cast: Charlie Hunnam (famous for his turn on cable television show “Sons of Anarchy”) is a textbook del Toro alum, having starred in a few of his films. Hunman gives an honest and engaging performance as Raleigh Becket, a former Jaeger pilot with a past that haunts him.

Rinko Kikuchi (nominated for an Oscar for 2006 feature film “Babel”) plays Mako Mori, Becket’s co-pilot, who has lost her family in a kaiju attack.

The best performance of the film is offered by Idris Elba, playing Stacker Pentecost, one of the commanding officers and supporters of the Jaeger program.

The acting, while sometimes a bit over the top — by fault of the screenplay, not the actors — is never entirely unpleasant to watch and proves to settle above the bar of what we typically see in action films.

“Pacific Rim” is visually stunning and comes with a soundtrack that measures up to the grand production scale. It’s an excellent summer release, and provides action and excitement without sacrificing a substantial plot that gives the film its heart.

Rating: A+

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