PACIFIC RIM (2013)
|Image from eonline.com.|
It goes without saying that, from day one, I was drooling over this movie like Tarantino at a shoe store. Big, massive aliens from the sea fighting mechanical powerhouses of destruction. Sold. Aliens and robots are pretty much my favorite thing (with cowboys and aliens coming in as a close second, tied only by mobsters and robots--if that isn't a movie, it needs to be created), so I was really, really easy to please.
But no. They couldn't stop there. They couldn't just give me an awesome movie filled with bone-crunshing punches and shrill, otherworldly screams. No, they had to also build an intricate universe, sprinkled with moments of quirky humor and lovable characters.
You guys. It's looking like Christmas sure as hell came early for me this summer.
There were, of course, a couple things that stood out to me that I've got to mention. So, with that, here are five reasons why Pacific Rim has officially set the summer blockbuster bar high.
1. Not a Bolt Out of Place
Normally, I'm something of a sensitive movie-goer. I'm not the biggest fan of 3D and all those...gizmos and gadgets. So the fact that I saw this in IMAX 3D should have been a problem for me. But it wasn't. I barely noticed the 3D aspects of it. Now, to people who enjoy the shit-popping-out-at-your-face bit, that might be a problem. To me? It worked perfectly.
But it's more than just the 3D. Occasionally, when you see a movie that's about 95% CGI, it shows. You can tell when the actors are talking to blank, green space. You can tell when something just doesn't feel right. Even if the CGI looks spot on, there will sometimes be that disconnect, that fabricated feeling. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the actors had such a deep respect and connection to their CGI robot machine-suits, but somehow, the CGI felt completely natural to me. It was organic to the world and flowed seamlessly through the film. A+ to the nerds who worked on that one.
|Image from http://www.slate.com.|
Can we talk for a second about how awesome drifting is? A mental brain-connection between two people and a machine. C'mon. That's fucking awesome. In fact, all the world-building details of this story were awesome. Everything from drifting to the wall they tried to build to the various different Jaeger models and their human teams (can I have a movie solely about the Russians now?). I am going to be very, very sad when sci-fi goes back out of style. Like, borderline depressed. Mark my words.
3. Idris Elba
|Just stop with your awesome, Mumbles.|
Let me count the ways I love this man. I will follow him to the Apocalypse. And then watch him cancel that shit. I was probably the most invested in his character, simply because he was exactly the kind of over-the-top character that fit so perfectly into the texture of the world. Not to mention, his character was hard and direct when he had to be hard and direct, yet was able to inspire anyone to action with only a few precise words. You go, Idris Elba.
4. Everyone Else
|Image from http://www.nerdist.com.|
What can I say? The acting was good. Charlie Hunnam--who you have to love for his subtle fuck you faces if nothing else--it turns out is great on and off the motorcycle. He's turning out to be a surprisingly versatile actor and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his face. His counterpart, Rinko Kikuchi, was everything she needed to be--wide-eyed, inquisitive, and somehow simultaneously bold and timid.
5. The Newton's Cradle
|Just because I can't get enough of these two.|
More than the acting, the writing was good. Which, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting. No, they're not going to win an Oscar for best screenplay anytime soon, but it was fun. It was more than a couple machismo-enfused one-liners. It was campy at times (moments which Charlie Day and Ron Perlman pulled off brilliantly), powerful and ribcage-expanding at times (all signs lead to Idris Elba), and even unexpected at times--some of my favorite moments involved the brief, still silences in which a seagull took flight or a Newton's cradle began to click in the middle of a city-crushing fight. The script knew it was a shameless, campy movie and ran with it--it didn't try to make it bigger than it was, it didn't set the audience up for a plethora of increasingly bad sequels (though I wouldn't be surprised if they happened anyway). The film never took itself too seriously while simultaneously giving the plot the epicness it deserved which, at the end of the day, what exactly what won me over.