Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

pacific rim poster

“When I was a kid, whenever I’d feel small or lonely, I’d look up at the stars. Wondered if there was life up there. Turns out I was looking in the wrong direction. When alien life entered our world, it was from deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. A fissure between two tectonic plates. A portal between dimensions. The Breach. I was fifteen when the first Kaiju made land in San Francisco.”
– Raleigh Becket

In 2013 massive alien monsters called Kaijus start attacking Earth. They have access through a oceanic portal in the Pacific, and they are wreaking havoc on Earth. They seem unstoppable, but then the humans start fighting back. They build massive warriors, weapons, called the Jaegers. These are collosal war machines, something manufactured by all the Pacific Rim nations. The technology used is that two people are linked together mentally to operate the machine, sharing the load. The pilots become famous, the Jaegers are successful, and they finally have some form of a defense against the massive and scary Kaijus. Two such pilots, two brothers, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Yancy Becket (Diego Klattenhoff) are called one night to take down a Category 4 Kaiju. While out there, Yancy is slain and Raleigh is terribly injured. He ultimately takes down the Kaiju, and manages to singlehandedly get the Jaeger Gipsy Danger to shore, where he leaves that life behind.

pacific rim brothers

“There are things you can’t fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.” – Raleigh Becket

The governments call for the Jaeger program to be discontinued due to it being considered ineffective. Instead they focus their resources on building Kaiju-resistant walls to protect the cities. Raleigh now works on one of these construction sites, moving around and building. When the program is shut down, his old commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) appeals to him for assistance. He wants Raleigh to accompany him and the remaining Jaeger pilots to Hong Kong, where the four remaining Jaegers await for them to defend the coastal line while the wall is being erected. Pentecost has a plan to destroy the portal with a nuclear bomb, something that had failed in the past. He calls in two scientists, Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), a tattooed Kaiju enthusiast, and Dr Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), an introverted Englishman. The two are tasked with generating predictions of the Kaijus to come as well as find a way to break through their portal. Raleigh, meanwhile, needs to find a co-pilot, and he is not greeted particularly warmly by Chuck Hansen (Robert Kazinsky), who feels that Raleigh is in the way and weak, while Herc Hansen (Max Martini) believes that Raleigh will help.

pacific rim scientists

“Fortune favours the brave, dude.” – Dr Newton Geiszler

Raleigh is having difficulty finding anyone that he will be suited with, and ultimately it is Pentecost’s right hand woman, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), whom he seems best suited to work with, but who Pentecost point blank refuses to send out in a Jaeger to fight, though it seems to be her dream. He seems to be very protective of her. Raleigh and Mako seem to connect on a whole new level, something more akin to what he and his brother once had. Dr Geiszler wishes to create a bridge with one of the Kaiju brains that he has in his lab, trying to connect with it like the Jaeger pilots do with one another, to see what memories they hold. Instead he opens a can of worms that is more than he can control. It would seem that the Kaiju fight as soldiers for an alien race that wishes to destroy Earth. The Jaeger pilots need to get themselves ready for the coming war, though Raleigh is still reeling from the loss of his brother five years before, and Mako deals with her fear of the Kaiju, feelings of vengeance as well as attraction towards Raleigh.

pacific rim mako and pentecost

Will the Jaeger pilots be able to shut down and destroy the portal that the Kaijus are using to get to Earth? What is with Pentecost’s intense protection of Mako? What is in her history, and will she be given the chance to exact her vengeance upon the Kaiju? Both Dr Geiszler and Dr Gottlieb are onto something, but how will it impact the mission to protect the coast lines of Hong Kong? Will their research change anything? What do the aliens want with Earth after the humans are exterminated? Will the Jaegers be able to withstand and battle against the Kaiju, which are coming up as stronger categories?

pacific rim raleigh and mako

“Haven’t you heard Mr. Beckett? The world is coming to an end. So where would you rather die?” – Stacker Pentecost

GRADE 4Another movie that everyone insisted was a fantastic summer blockbuster and fun and all these many things that they promised, none that delivered (with the exception of the scientists, they were hilarious). So we watched this, and I was rather let down. For one, Del Toro seems to be hooked on overkilling with CGI, what is up with that? Secondly, Charlie Hunnam is a second rate actor. I am not a fan, and whenever he tries to pull his angry/serious/peeved face, he succeeds only in looking like someone wiped something really freaking nasty under his nose. And this is not saying anything against the character he played, I actually quite liked him. Then there is Idris Elba, who was probably the best thing about this movie, though I was not a fan of his accent really. Rinko Kikuchi irritated me endlessly, her character was an annoyance of note. The relationship between her character Mako and Hunnam’s Raleigh could have been much better had it just been developed a bit more. As it stands it happened out of nowhere and ludicrously, in a way that (yes I know this is an action and these things can be overlooked) that I just couldn’t choke down. These Kaijus confused me, too, because some Category 4 types are being cut down with swords (which seems most effective if only these chops would stop using guns and canons and start using the blades), and then they cannot be ripped apart by canons and crap, but when they are dead they are being harvested by men just being all regular and all that. I mean really? The whole way through watching this all I wanted in my life was for the new Godzilla to hustle the hell up so we can see some real dangerous and scary monsters (ED: that’s how long ago I watched and reviewed this – pre-May release). Anyhow, there was so much going on in the fight scenes I could not tell if they Jaegers had the upper hand or the Kaijus, which does not really make for good fight scenes. I was told that this would probably have blown me away in theatre, but I intensely doubt my feelings would have changed. I just didn’t really like this, and that is just that.

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48 thoughts on “Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

  1. Drew says:

    I think we are on opposite sides on this one, Zoe. I agree with what you said, but I personally found it enjoyable. I think a lot of that was because it reminded me of the show Power Rangers that I grew up with. The CGI looked great, plus Charlie Day and Burn Gorman made an unexpectedly awesome duo. Nice review.

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    • Zoë says:

      Confession time? I was not a Power Rangers fan, either. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, but this really sucked for me. I am glad there are people that enjoyed it though. Ah, those two were absolutely classic together.

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  2. CMrok93 says:

    It’s big, loud, stupid and occasionally fun. However, the script is so poorly-written at times, that it makes the two hours feel like a total slog. Good review Zoe.

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  3. Parlor of Horror says:

    I just watched the trailer, and even though I agree with you on certain points, it made me want to watch again. It also has a anime’ look and feel to it – the bright colors, the the grandstanding entrance scenes – so I think some people like that aspect of it, too. But I can see not everyone would like this 🙂

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  4. Craig says:

    I’ve been meaning to watch this again as my cinema experience with it was not that great. It was very in-yer-face and the robots verses monsters thing was a bit much. I loved the style, as Del Toro’s movies always exude that, but this was missing a lot of the ‘heart’ of his best work (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy series).

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    • Zoë says:

      I am with you on that one. It was just too much for me. I really wanted to like it, the concept was relatively alright for an action film, but it just didn’t work for me. I am glad I didn’t spend money to see this in theatre.

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  5. Natasha says:

    Haha oh friend you make me laugh. You really didn’t like this at all. I thought it was fine, because you know my true love for Hunnam. But I agree on the female lead – just didn’t work at all.

    I did watch this in a cinema with brand new speakers, so when I think of it I will always think of very loud noise.

    Awesome review as always!

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    • Zoë says:

      At least I am doing something right then hahaha. Yeah I know how much of a fan you are… that female lead was USELESS and ANNOYING and GRATING.

      Oh gosh, if I had to sit with this blaring at me from everywhere I think I would have cried.

      Thank you, thank you!

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  6. 55theintimidator55 says:

    Huge disappointment although I still found some fun to be had with it, Pacific Rim was more about the hype then the actual product. I assure you wouldn’t have felt any different if you had seen it in theaters. Good review.

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  7. theipc says:

    Dearest JB,

    I started watching this and turned it off after about 20 minutes. It was miserable!! I’m sorry you sat through it all… 😦

    LOVE

    SSC

    < 3 : )

    Like

  8. Tom says:

    Teehee! Sometimes things just do not go well. I didn’t like a lot of Pacific Rim. Namely, the story, the wooden acting, the cheesy heroism theme, the over-reliance on CGI (thank you for pointing that out, too btw) and a bunch of other shit. But it’s actually a popcorn crunching thing that has started to grow on me the more I think about it now.

    It’s still not any better-acted of a film nor is it anything more than a bunch of cliches but I think I like it more now than I first did.

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    • Zoë says:

      No, this was not a fun trip for me, I got zero enjoyment out of this one…

      Oh man… I cannot see there being a repeat viewing for me lol! The more I think about it, the less I like it! I am glad to hear it is growing on you though!

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  9. keith7198 says:

    Hey Zoe! Love the review. Over time I’ve really cooled off on Pacific Rim. I remember liking it after seeing it but not quite as much now. I definitely don’t have the love for it that many have and I’m really not interested in seeing it soon.

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    • Zoë says:

      Hi Keith! Thank you very much! Hmmmm, seems some people are cooling and others warming to this over time hehe. I can agree with you there, I have no interest in seeing this again (EVER).

      Like

  10. jjames36 says:

    Hey, Zoe. I, for one, mostly agree. I thought the fight scenes a jumbled mess and the human drama rushed. I didn’t mind Hunman and I liked Kukichi (though I think her character needed far better development), but this one didn’t much for me either.

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    • Zoë says:

      I am glad to hear I am not completely alone in this Josh! I don’t know, every time Kukichi was on screen I groaned. You are right, her character development was dreadful!

      Like

      • jjames36 says:

        I think so, too. I thought the actor was one of the film’s brightest point, but the material with which she was saddled made her job all but impossible.

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  11. caragale says:

    A 4?! Lol!! That’s one of the harshest ratings I’ve ever seen from you!! I can understand though. This movie is pure, 100% fluff. I enjoyed it well enough, but it IS kind of hard for me to get past how very silly the core idea is. I mean, robots vs. monsters–it’s like del Toro asked a five-year-old to come up with a movie idea. Bahaha. I agree with a lot of your points, but I had enough fun with it that I gave it a B. Bet you’re super excited for this sequel, huh? 😉

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  12. table9mutant says:

    Aww – sorry you didn’t like this one, Zoe. I did see it in the cinema & had some fun with it. But, ugh – the script & the characters!!! Why the hell can’t a blockbuster be fun AND have a good script too?? So annoying!

    Like

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