Friday, July 12

Review on Pacific Rim (2013). Spoilers AHOY!

Okay this is it. SPOILERS warning for Pacific Rim (2013).

Pac Rim (2013) delivers on gigantic scale in terms of action and sheer size, especially Battle of Hong Kong which going non stop for 30-40 mins straight of pure mecha vs monster action. I mean old timer mecha/kaiju fans will immediately spot few homages such as Serizawa Scale (a direct nod to Japanese scientist who killed Godzilla in 1950s movie) and the striking resemblance of Striker Eureka to VF-1 Valkyrie Battriod Armored/ Armoured from Macross , complete with missile barrage system. Needless to say, the old Mazinger Z and Tetsujin 28 Rocket Punch which is used by Gipsy Danger in smacking Leatherback for good old fashioned American punch make me guffaw and giggle with unrestrained joy.

The monsters themselves are nod to Japanese famous monsters such as Rodan (Otani) or even Baltan (Onibaba), the nemesis of Ultraman. Heck few battles are settled with good old fashioned sword finisher, a homage to Japanese superhero mecha signature finisher. The last boss, Slattern, a category 5 on Serizawa Scale is quite scary and imposing - a worthy opponent of tried and tested Gipsy Danger in the last brawl underwater.

The mecha/monster did not disappoint at all, as I said earlier, I was crying with joy at the sights - cheering and hollering like a kid, complete with punching in the air as the Jaeger and Kaiju going for smackdown.

Yes, the glorious scene of Gipsy Danger slapping Otani silly with a ship is a sight to behold too. 

Aesthetic wise, Gipsy Danger reminds me of US industrial war machine image like B-17 or M4 Sherman - tough, reliable and industrial funk feel. Striker Eureka is the most modern, sleek looking - you can feel it has iPhone inside it as one of the instruments. Very Gundam feel, as if it is designed by Katoki Hajime. The Russian's Cherno Alpha is the personification of Soviet style brutal, simple engineering like T-34 merged with RBMK nuclear reactor. The Chinese Jaeger is very agile and practical but a bit bare on its range. So is Cherno Alpha which leads to their destruction as the Kaiju actually evolved and learning on how to fight them. Unpredictable and well equipped Gipsy and Striker managed to survive because it did not rely on one sole technique to destroy the Kaijus.

Personally I would love if there is more scenes of absolute destruction like Man of Steel but at this point, I can't complain too much.

The composer of HBO Game of Thrones, Djawadi is delivering a catchy soundtrack for the movie - each Jaeger have their own signature leitmotif, Cherno Alpha with vocal male orchestra singing in gloomy Gregorian, Crimson Typhoon resounding big drum music and the cowboy like swag theme for Gipsy Danger.

Character wise....okay....the hero guy is kinda meh to me. When I look at him, I am just not convinced that he is a badass mecha pilot. He looks more like office worker than a Jaeger pilot. His partner, Mako have problems to give full emotion to her lines, she is trying her best to enunciate her lines which is not bad but at the cost of emotional range that she could have deliver. The little girl in her memories is more convincing than the adult version. Idris Alba as Marshall simply rocks, he is the backbone of human side in the narrative. This man commands respect and presence in all of the scenes that he is in. The crew of Striker Eureka have an interesting Aussie accent, I think some of my Aussie friends will cringe hearing them speak. Their presence is okay, serves as a foil to returning Jaeger pilot hero in the movie.

The scientist duo is the comic relief, they adequate enough for what they supposed to be. Other Jaeger crews of Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon is not given enough time, I wish they have some human scenes in the flick. I believe it will make their deaths more poetic and human.

Ron is Ron, he exudes cool charisma all the time. His role is pretty small but still important, I believe he might be key character in the sequel. A big maybe. I chuckled at most of his lines, he is funnier than the scientist duo IMHO.

I just don't get why some people trying so hard to compare this film to Evangelion, it is totally different like comparing a durian to fried chicken. Pac Rim story is about desperate humanity in face of relentless Kaiju attack, battling it out in giant mechas whereas Evangelion is a psychological drama with broken people insulate themselves in giant titans, cutting themselves off from humanity and slowly weans into connection or rejects it thru EVA. Different feel, different beast altogether.

Overall, maybe biased but I would consider this movie as the best in 2013 summer blockbuster. This is the only movie that make me go nuts and cheering in the cinema since long, long time. Anime mecha otakus must watch this, this is the movie for us as Hideo Kojima asserted. This movie worth multiple rewatch because it is just so awesome.

Just go and watch this already!