A quick review of PACIFIC RIM

We saw PACIFIC RIM. We saw it in 3D on IMAX, yet. That seemed appropriate for a guys in giant robot suits vs giant monsters movie. Lots of fun and I thought it actually got better as it went. The New Yorker reviewed it for some quite unknown reason, and of course Anthony Lane hated it, complained of its hackneyed characters (pretty much, yeah, though the actors kinda make them work, good actors), the rather stilted attempts at drama between the giant monster/robot suit bits, but…that’s like trying to do serious filmcrit analysis of ULTRAMAN or ASTROBOY or MIGHTY MOUSE or the original Godzilla or giant mecha anime cartoons. Despite the use of a couple of slightly naughty words, this is really a movie for kids (and adults who’re still kids), writ large. Very large. So what did you expect, Anthony Lane.

Other people will complain of the physics–helicopters toting those giant robots around, yeah that could happen, you bet, etc–but to me that’s like complaining of the physics in Peter Pan.

The film does have a few pretty good ideas and some amusing “B” characters like the two scientists. It has that cool sequence with Ron Perlman (two actors from Sons of Anarchy feature prominently in this) about the guy who’s selling giant monster poop, giant monster lice, giant monster horn powder…It has a martial arts scene between people including the love interests…it has Japanese Television Anime style music–I mean, really, some of the action music is definitely an homage to that truly bad music. And Japanese television Anime style fight poses…but in this they look monumentally imposing. It has a beautiful Japanese lady co-starring, being rather J-Pop…You’re going to ANALYZE this? It wasn’t made for you. It was made for people who were growing up watching Godzilla and Ray Harryhausen stuff and even the Amazing Colossal Man…has homages to all that, as well as Star Wars (in the dialogue) and Independence Day…and all giant mecha anime… If you want giant monster movie as art, see THE HOST. If you want giant monsters battling guys in robot suits that are as huge in improbability as they are in proportions, why, see PACIFIC RIM…it’ll be really popular amongst ten year olds…I’d have swooned for it as a nine or ten year old… And I did enjoy watching it…

The directing was good but del Toro chose to shoot the action up close, perhaps for max 3D impact, and to me that’s a bit confusing at times. Still, I followed it well enough. The old school people at SD comic con must love this.

I wish Forrest Ackerman was around to see it and put it on the cover of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. That’s where it belongs–not the New Yorker, for crying out loud.


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