Thursday, October 10, 2013

[In Review] Monsters from the Abyss

Having transformed a cleft at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean into a passage between dimensions, the inhabitants of a parallel world send to Earth giant monsters, known as "Kaiju". In order to protect the Earth, governments pool in resources to build giant robots, Jägers, to counter the monstrous onslaught. At first, these towering combat vehicles successfully deter the Kaijus, but then the aliens begin to mutate and grow rapidly. Jägers can't fight them anymore. Finally, top governments pull the plug on the project as the last four robots (American, Australian, Chinese and Russian), along with their gifted pilots gather in Hong Kong for one final fight.

"Today. Today... At the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other. Today there is not a man nor woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today. Today we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them. Today, we are cancelling the apocalypse!" - Stacker Pentecoste

When the Japanese started the Second World War, they believed that the spirit of the Samurai will overcome all. They were wrong. American aircraft carriers and Soviet tanks did not care how the relentless the Samurai were in their past lives and inflicted massive damages upon the Land of the Rising Sun. When defeated in the war became imminent, the Japanese comic book artists came up with a weapons of retaliation - giant war machines that would simply trample enemies. This is how, after the war, the genre of "huge stuff", became a hallmark of Japanese mass culture. Over time, these Eastern giants pervaded through and started springing up everywhere. 70 years after the first comic-book "giant" Warner Bros. issued acclaimed director, Guillermo del Toro almost $ 200 million to create sci-fi blockbuster, inspired by the "big robot" in general.

Kaijus get bigger and badder as the movie progresses.
Pacific Rim isn't a great movie. It is just a high-calorie, combustible thriller kind that helps you get rid of two boring ours of your live. It is clearly noticeable that in the Pacific Rim, Del Toro follows the logic of marketing: a little Samurai romance, a healthy dose of Transformers-esque robots which are piloted by a pair of neurally connected pilots a la Real Steel , striking resemblance of the Kaiju and their destruction to Godzilla's, a set of symbols from Lovecraft's books, plus, of course, a fashionable topic of geopolitics.

The story of Pacific Rim is a materialization of the phantoms of our subconscious as their hues and cries comes from the depths of the ocean of consciousness to realize that this image of otherness won't last long. There would come a global crisis whose underlying fear will unite all the inhabitants of the earth - from San Francisco to Islamabad - into a single integrative culture in which only humanity could find salvation.

Badass robots piloted by neurally connected pilots are the world's answer to Kaijus.
The film is beautifully shot and the action scenes are very well choreographed. The 3D technology is really making us realize new frontiers in the movie-making. You can almost feel the Jäger and Kaiju fight as if they were real and not a figment of the writer's imagination. Talking about the writer, the story gets a bit weak in the second half (right after the big fight scene near Hong Kong) as its predictability comes to focus. Also, the character of Mako Mori (Rinko Kekuchi) is also a very forced and threadbare one. She just springs up at the audience and a single flashback scene doesn't make up for that. The ending was far-fetched and unrealistic as well but then again what is far-fetched in a movie with robots wrestling each other!

The pilots of Gipsy Danger; Raleigh and Mako. Mako's character is the weak-link in an otherwise fine line-up of characters.
I, personally found Ramin Djawadi's score on this film epic. It complimented every scene very well - may it be Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam) collapsing on Alaskan ice or Stacker Pentecoste (Idris Alba) saying an emotional goodbye. Not to mention the theme music of the film is addictive, I have the remixed version (the one that plays at the start of ending credits) as my ringtone!

Guillermo's dark humor peeking through - people move about and chat as a Kaiju moves in to destroy the Sydney opera house. In another scene, a guy nonchalantly films a Kaiju onslaught on his cellphone as debris falls around him.
Conclusively, this films discharges that signature, peculiar style of Guillermo del Toro's dark, techno-gothic humor that makes the film a comic pair of eccentric geeks fighting against one another in their dreams. While the film also makes us viewers realize our inherent worst eschatological expectations. In the end, Pacific Rim is great film to burn some time with.

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