A species of aliens has found a bridge from their world to ours using a trench in the Pacific Ocean. These aliens, referred to as Kaiju, are huge, vicious creatures bent on taking over our planet. When regular military tactics fail to stop the invasion, giant robots are built to combat them.
The robots, or Jaeger, are controlled by tapping into the pilots neural system, allowing the robots to mimic every move the pilots make. The impact of controlling the Jaeger is too much for one pilot. Therefore, two pilots must command the robots. Their minds are “drifted,” so they think as one, sharing thoughts and memories. The stronger the drift, the more powerful the robot. This makes family members or candidates with close bonds to make for more effective pilots.
After a brutal fight between brothers Yancy Becket (Diego Klattenhoff) and Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and one of the largest Kaiju to date, Raleigh gets out of the Jaeger program and disappears.
The Kaiju are evolving and adapting to not only withstand the Jaegers, but to beat them. The program is losing ground and is defunded by the world organization in charge of protecting Earth’s inhabitants. Their focus turns to building coastal walls. During construction of the wall in Alaska, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), who leads the Jaeger squads, finds Raleigh and after an impassioned speech, Pentecost convinces Raleigh to join the team again.
Raleigh must vet the candidates for a new copilot, led by Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) The team is assisted by Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), who is obsessed with seeing a live Kaiju up close and studying them. The plan is for the father/son team of Herc (Max Martini) and Chuck Hansen (Robert Kazinsky) to take their Jaeger, with the remaining Jaegers from around the world to destroy the bridge before any more Kaiju make it through.
Pacific Rim is a summer blockbuster movie. It has everything you have come to expect from such a film. Aliens. Giant robots. Futuristic technology. Fights. Explosions. Dramatic “We must save the world” speeches. Incredible special effects. Sacrifice. It doesn’t disappoint.
I saw the movie in IMAX 3D. In my opinion, if you’re going to see it, see it the way it was meant to be seen. Warner Brothers obviously spent a ton on the special effects. In fact, it seems they saved money by getting lesser known actors, instead of the typical big names (Will Smith, Robert Downey Jr., etc.) you typically see in the summer blockbusters, and applying the extra money towards making the film look amazing.
The cast does rather well, especially considering they’re not usually headliners. There is some overacting, some cheesy moments, but that’s to be expected in any summer blockbuster, regardless of who is starring. It is nothing that takes away from the film.
This is an action movie. There are a lot of fight scenes. Almost the entire movie. It was commented to me that there was, perhaps, too much time spent fighting, making it more of a guy’s movie. I have to agree, to a point. As a guy, I don’t think they focused too much time on fighting. It’s what the film is about. (See my comment below about the save the world speeches. My favorite is the yelling to one person speech.)
Pacific Rim shares some common themes with what was supposed to be the movie of the year, Man of Steel. Someone has to save the world, of course. The protagonist disappears. Spends his time working in the Arctic. And, most of all, when you’re battling the alien to save the world, it doesn’t matter how much damage you to the city and potentially the people in it because, hey, you’re saving them. Maybe a little consideration for how much time these people will have to spend rebuilding from your collateral damage.
The only thing that really distracted me from the film (Aside from the guy next to me going, “Hmm.” every time something happened. And the lack of at least one Jaeger bomb joke.) were minor plot/physics holes. A small team of helicopters can, and has to, carry these goliaths to battle, and there is no recoil when they drop the Jaegers. Has anyone ever thought about an escape plan from these robots, just in case? Oh. There it is.
I think Pacific Rim is the movie we’ve been waiting for since Independence Day. It lives up to that standard. If you have been waiting for some serious action to get your summer started, your wait is over.