Pacific Rim Review: Absurd, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Fun

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Pacific Rim is one of this summer’s better surprises. Despite all the cheesy trailers, and in general poor marketing, director Guillermo del Toro is still capable of bringing the thrills when the odds are against him.

He guides the simple, popcorn-popping story of humans controlling massive robots to fight massive monsters crossing dimensions through a portal in the Pacific Ocean into something massively entertaining. Did I mention that Pacific Rim is massive? This is a big movie, on par with the other city destroying flicks like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. But del Toro’s style and writing adds an extra flavor that really throws it past other more formulaic blockbusters.

We follow Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), one of the warriors in the robot known as Gipsy Danger. The other is his brother, who is quickly “disposed of” before the opening credits to send out hero back into action. Commanding them is Stacker Pentecost, who Idris Elba lends so much empowering charisma to.

With his brother gone, Raleigh does not have the emotional connection to control the robot effectively in battle (you see, the robot only works well when the two people maneuvering it have a strong bond, because, you know, we need some emotional attachment in the story). Enter Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), the girl set to win Raleigh’s heart and help him save the world.

Yes, you’ve definitely heard this story before, but give this thing a chance. The robot battles are epic. Charlie Day provides excellent comic relief, clearly pulling from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, while Ron Perlman chews the scenery in a small, yet pivotal role. This is a very fun movie.

If you want something more serious and interesting, Fruitvale Station just opened in limited release (our review will be up early next week). But if you can find something to enjoy in giant robots fighting giant monster aliens from another dimension, look no further. In a summer that has been pretty disappointing thus far, Pacific Rim stands taller than a lot of other blockbusters these past few months. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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