A Tale of Jaegers and Kaiju: Pacific Rim Movie Review

By Cher Cabula-Mendoza - Saturday, July 13, 2013

Last Wednesday, I got to be part of an awesome movie event. The day (or in this case night) had finally come, I would finally see one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. I had very high expectations for Pacific Rim. I even wore my new teal pants. By now you’re probably seen all the buzz in various social media networks about this movie and if you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, then read on. Don’t just let the trend sway you, let me make a more convincing argument about why you should see it this weekend. You need not worry, I won’t be writing any spoilers here.
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PLOT
A portal was opened in the Earth’s core where an alien race called the Kaiju can freely pass to pillage the Earth. It becomes evident that they were sent to invade and to exterminate the human race. The term Kaiju came from Japan which means “strange beast”. The first Kaiju to set foot on Earth was named Trespasser and destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge in 2013.

Trivia: The most famous Kaiju is Godzilla.
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Not wanting to face extinction, the humans begin to fight back with Jaegers, a mobile exoskeleton weapon that is similar to a robot but is piloted by two soldiers connected via a neural bridge. The term Jaeger comes from the German word “hunter” and for several years they defended the Earth from Kaiju attacks. Until the overwhelming forces of the monsters proved to be too much and man finds himself on the losing end. All of humankind now rests their fate in the hands of a handful of remaining Jaegers and the brave souls behind the Jaeger program.
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WHY IS IT WORTH WATCHING?
The plot for Pacific Rim may not be the most unique especially when there is an alien race taking over the world but for all its predictability, you can now pay attention to the other things that makes this film stand out.

  • Cast and Characters
I liked it that Guillermo del Toro didn’t choose A-listers to star in his film. That’s part of its charm and its strength. It made people curious and not one had any monopoly of screentime, everyone had a chance to bask in the spotlight. Idris Elba did an excellent job as the unshakable rock of the Resistance, Stacker Pentecost. He was one formidable Commander and that speech of his was delivered perfectly. Way better than I had expected.
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Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket) for me was a wildcard but in a good way. He gave his character a sense of confidence and quiet strength but grounding him too with a subtle vulnerability. As cheesy as it may sound, you won’t be able to help yourself in rooting for him.
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Charlie Day was hilarious as the chattering geek Dr. Newton Geizler, a self-proclaimed expect of all things Kaiju. He and Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman) provided the comic relief in the film. Both parts just as significant in furthering the plot.
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Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) on the other hand was the much needed female touch in the film but not as a damsel in distress. Her backstory would be one of the most emotional scenes in the film. For a woman, she has rightfully earned her place as one of the best in Stacker Pentecost’s inner circle.
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  • Settings
Most of the battle scenes between the Kaiju and the Jaegers take place in the ocean because the Kaiju are amphibious and it was the origin of their attacks. The Kaiju mostly attacked major cities but you’ll be amused to see just how people were adapting to the attacks. After all, life must go on despite all of it. The Shatterdome was where the Jaegers were housed and repaired and there’s nothing fancy schmancy about it. It was aptly industrial, just right at the point of the Earth’s doom. Major cities were depicted as destroyed but they didn’t drag this on for too long which I think del Toro had done right. Too many similar films tended to focus on the destruction of cities instead of the action shots that would make the movie much more unforgettable.
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  • Jaeger and Kaiju Character Designs
I loved that they made each Kaiju as unique as the Jaeger’s that fight them. They certainly didn’t have a generic look and the fact that they each had a nickname was a nice touch. The Kaiju weren’t just mere monsters, they had unique fighting styles and their blue markings add a mystical touch.
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The Jaegers undoubtedly were designed to look just as cool. When it was shown that two pilots were needed to run the machines, they became more than just weapons to fight the Kaiju. They also made it move as realistic as possible. It wasn’t fluid or graceful and there was more than a second lag for each movement but they began to improve it with each Jaeger version.
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  • Movie Visuals
The graphics team behind the movie did amazing work. The visuals were just superb. The renderings were very smooth and believable. You’ll see just how great it looks on 3d.
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  • Fight Scenes
For most people, this is what they would most like to see and I will tell you this, they don’t disappoint. Everytime a Jaeger punches a Kaiju, there’s a satisfaction with each hit. Now there were already a lot of fight scenes in Pacific Rim but still I wish that there was a lot more. I can’t get enough of the Jaegers!
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VERDICT
If it wasn’t obvious enough, I’m giving Pacific Rim 5 stars out of 5 and a well-deserved one at that. Pacific Rim is by no means perfect but the little errors or annoyances in the plot were just minor things that you can easily overlook. The whole of the movie is still full of awesome. Let me say this though, that wall solution was almost laughable.
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Pacific Rim may have a predictable plot but it was the story of the characters that gave it much more depth. Right from the start, Raleigh’s story will pull you right in and you’ll want to see him rise to his greatness. For once, you wouldn’t mind the break in action.
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Pacific Rim is highly entertaining and well-worth the buzz that surrounded it. If you ask me, those posters should have a stamp that says “Do Not Miss”. There’s no better time than to see it this weekend.

Photo credits: Warner Bros. Pictures

 photo 5stars.jpg
Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro
Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba
5 stars out of 5
movie review

 photo cher100_zpsb08016be.jpg Cher is a practicing Filipino Interior Designer with a passion to discover and learn new things. Follow her on Twitter for more updates. Creating Spaces is her design blog, check out her Mindbox for more and upcoming is her blog on tips and crafts called Little Rock Creations.

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