Movie Issues: Pacific Rim

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Movie Issues: Pacific Rim

In Pacific Rim, Sons of Anarchy take on giant monsters with the help of Heimdall, It’s Always Sunny… and everyone’s favorite, Hellboy!

When giant monsters called Kaiju rise from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the world unites to create a line of defense called Jaegers. These equally giant robots are controlled by two pilots psychically synced to work as one to defeat these would-be destroyers of man, but these creatures from the unknown are becoming tougher to beat each time. Soon comes the day where man must make his last stand.

From the twisted wonderland that is Guillermo del Toro’s mind, Pacific Rim is a beautifully designed film with solid cinematography, a good cast, and robots fighting monsters Godzilla style. What the movie lacks, however, are characters to care about.

With a loose script that’s more focused on the action and not the drama, this film struggles to create characters that viewers can get attached to. Each actor is doing their best, especially Idris Elba (Thor), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Ron Perlman (HellBoy) who looks like he’s giggling off camera from all the fun he’s having. The problem is that no character manages to break out of the archetype they’re based on.

The film’s lead, Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) leaves much to be desired, as he lacks an acting range and sits in a brooding idle for most of the movie. Even as he’s in moments of drama that would require an actor’s passion to come out, he always feels like he could hop on a motorcycle and leave at any time. Considering the talent he shows on Sons of Anarchy, it’s a bummer to see him so un-dynamic.

The shinning star of the movie are the effects. Combining the vision of del Toro with the talent at Industrial Light and Magic makes for amazing scale and believable looking monsters. Each fight is well choreographed and feels raw as two behemoths simply pummel each other until one is dead. Fans of Transformers could look to this and lament as they see what might have been.

The world is well fleshed out with a lot going on around the cast, but the same amount of care wasn’t put into the dialogue and story. The movie also feels like it draws too much from another film, Independence Day. Several story elements and even direct scenes feel almost stolen from the original summer blockbuster.

At over 2 hours, the script could have used another draft to tighten up all the character interaction scenes to make them more meaningful and draw the audience in more. Still, the movie delivers what it advertises, giant badass robots fighting giant crazy looking monsters. Despite the dull cardboard-cut-out characters, this is still a movie that should be seen in theaters, if only to enjoy the effects. Just see it at a matinee.