Pacific Rim was a borderline cult-hit from 2013 that somehow lost its opening weekend to a Dreamworks Minion movie, and an Adam Sandler sequel. That kind of sucks, because it was better than its trailers led people to believe.
First off, I get it: you see a movie trailer about giant monsters and giant robots, and you think “Well, the last Godzilla movie sucked, and the Transformers flicks have never had a story, so why bother?”
Well, Guillermo del Toro is not a “low-hanging fruit” kind of director. Pacific Rim had a story, an interesting world, and a fun cast of characters. Del Toro had a 400-page manual of worldbuilding that he had put together to answer practical considerations about a monster apocalypse. Trade routes across the Pacific would be interrupted, there would be food shortages, etc.
(Granted, he didn’t see the problem with *waiting* to put swords on the Jaegers, but I digress…)
Either way, whether it’s a giant robot movie or a giant monster movie, the plot is smart, the characters are memorable, and the “Cancelling the apocalypse” line was an instant classic.
After being stuck in development hell for a few years, they finally got a sequel off the ground. Again, people were apprehensive. “It just looks like a smasher.” Well, after seeing DC’s poor excuse for a superhero franchise–and in fairness, the fact that Marvel tends to level cities in its movies–there might be fatigue on this subject.
But again, there was a smart plot with a natural development from the first one, focusing on John Boyega’s character, Jake Pentecost.
It’s a story about freedom, survival, unity, and grit. Some characters came back from the first one, and they all progressed and had good arcs with natural motivation. There’s a plot twist halfway through where you realize the villain is not who you thought, and the final obstacle is not what you expected.
And also there are giant robots smashing monsters with some pretty impractical weapons. (Titan Redeemer’s “Ball of Death,” for example.)
If I have any knocks on it, there are as follows:
–The cast seemed kind of bloated at times, especially once you get to the cadets at the Shatterdome. The only name I remember is “Vik” for the Russian girl. Beyond that they were pretty much Russian Boy, Indian Boy, Chinese Boy, etc. Their names did appear on screen at different times, but not long enough for them to sink in.
–Jules Reyes, the apparent mutual love interest between Pentecost and his Jaeger co-pilot, is just…kind of…there. Without spoiling anything, I think she should have been the one to pilot Scrapper, instead of the pilot that ended up doing it. Minor tweak that would have given her character more relevance.
But that’s really it. I am glad I spent the extra bucks to see it in 3D, that gave it some depth (heh) and made the world more immersive. I’m taking the wife again soon.
Go see it. It’s a fun ride.