My hope of updating the blog at least once a week has kind of fallen by the wayside recently. I’ve been a little preoccupied with other things the last little while, but there’s no time like the present to try and catch up! I’ve gotta keep my readers happy after all (if any exist – if you do, bless your heart). Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit about Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film. It’s rather unusual to see a summer blockbuster this big and expensive that is not already based on an established franchise…and that’s exactly why you need to see it. Ok, so there are other reasons: It’s exciting and humorous, with a great concept, and an overall tone that aims at awakening everyone’s child-like wonder, that has perhaps been dulled into submission by other dull blockbuster films of late. But most importantly – it’s an original film, and not part of a franchise. If it bombs (and it definitely is bombing at this point), we as the audience are essentially saying that we don’t want anything new; that we are perfectly fine with the same damn films pumped out year after year. And I don’t think this is the case at all. However, if Pacific Rim continues on its current trajectory, Hollywood is sure as hell going to take its failure as a sign that we don’t like new things, and that’s a depressing thought.
I’m getting ahead of myself though – I need to convince you that Pacific Rim is worth supporting. Make no mistake: if this was an original film, but a poor one, I would say stay the hell away. Going to the movies is an expensive excursion these days, and it’s not worth spending your money on crap, even if it is “new” crap. Pacific Rim is not “new” crap. It’s every child’s dream film (if you ever played with action figures in any sort of destructive way, YOU are the target audience). There were moments in this film where I let out exclamations of pure joy. The giant mech vs. monster fights are terrifically satisfying, and are easily the most thrilling action scenes I’ve experienced in a while. Most CG heavy action scenes leave me feeling a little empty; sure, they look nice, but they don’t really excite me. I would liken the feeling Pacific Rim’s battles gave me to a similar feeling I got watching action scenes from cartoons as a kid. Those battles in shows like Dragonball Z and Digimon were often epic in scope, so much so that it seemed like live-action film would never be able to capture that level of intensity and awe. Pacific Rim taps into this feeling.
I don’t really want to go much further in-depth than this, because there really is no need. If you were excited by action-heavy cartoons (particularly anime) as a child, than you need to see this film. Its plot and characters are basic, but serviceable. They fill familiar tropes of anime storytelling, and that’s honestly fine. Everything is done in the name of fun in this film. There is no pretense about taking everything super seriously; instead, Del Toro and crew set up a world with its own rules and mythology, and then drop their toys in and let them bash the hell out of each other. Please go see this.
Stray observation: My sister and I were discussing this film and we came to the conclusion that the PS2 game War of the Monsters from 2003 is the property that Pacific Rim most reminded us of. What a fantastic game that was. Yes, go support that once you leave Pacific Rim. It’s on the Playstation Store for $9.99!