Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013): Film Review

We know before walking into the theater that we're about to see huge monsters fight against giant robots, and we know that it's going to be awesome because Guillermo del Toro is at the helm.

But what else can be done to provide intrigue to a standard movie type? Pacific Rim (though not perfect -- the current IMDB score of 8.0 is spot-on) does not fail to impress in this regard:

1) each Jaeger robot is operated by two pilots who must synchronize their psyches in order to be successful, enabling narrative conflict since Jaeger pilots must find a compatible partner to share the most hidden aspects of their unconscious experience;

2) the Kaiju monsters are not only physical beings, but access earth's topography via an almost demonic/spiritual, extra-dimensional wormhole at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

While the film's dialogue, and a handful of awkwardly presented facial expressions, do not present that shoe-shine polish we might expect from Marvel film productions, this deficiency is made up by -- not only the visuals and special effects -- but also the following concepts:

3) the Jaeger operation is run by neither the military nor the business community entirely ("we don't need them") which, perhaps like a film production crew, seems to present a kind of socialist utopia (albeit apocalyptic) in which operations work only if it is all for one, one for all;

4) allegorically, the film presents two of a society's options when facing conflict: to either behave defensively (by building walls), or behave offensively (by building Jaeger's) -- this is a broad-scale observation, but it's a broad-scale film;

5) the main character Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) looks exactly like a thin, muscular version of director Guillermo del Toro -- it's the directors' doppelganger having all of the fun. And for the duration of the film, so are we.

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