Posts Tagged ‘Elba’

Pacific Rim

*Insert standard apology for falling off the face of the Earth, blah blah blah* So let’s jump right in, shall we? What Guillermo del Toro did with Pacific Rim is the epitome of what Michael Bay failed to do with Transformers. It is a robot movie that actually is about something other than explosions, and while it is drenched in cliches, it’s still a joy to watch. This movie is a visual feast, and it’s laden with enough comedic relief to deal with the otherwise mundane story line. The supporting cast in this gets a huge upvote from me, but I could be biased because I absolutely love Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) AND Ron Perlman (Hellboy) so while they weren’t there solely for comedic effect, they certainly brought a bit of liveliness to the film. Now, while I said that it is drenched in cliches, it doesn’t take away from how fun this movie really was to watch. Big robots, fun dialog, aliens; I mean, what else could you want from a big summer blockbuster?

Before I begin fawning over Day and Perlman again, let’s hit some of the main cast. Admittedly, I don’t really recognize Charlie Hunnam from anything, so from a fresh read of him, he fits the role well. The character (Raleigh Becket) is the typical rebel soldier that gets suspended or his actions are hindered in some way and then he is called upon at the last minute to save the day. Hunnam’s sarcastic tone and his ability to keep a semi-serious demeanor made him a suitable candidate for the part, and it was a believable choice. Rinko Kikuchi is another one that I hadn’t seen in anything prior, but the choice of her as Becket’s eventual partner, Mako Mori, worked well. She has that hybrid innocent girl/dormant badass warrior look, in this movie at least, that allows the story to transform the character accordingly throughout the story. Of course, Idris Elba was a lock for his part given the substantial leadership/power roles he’s dawned, including Prometheus and Thor, and I can easily say he did not disappoint in his role as Stacker Pentecost, the war vet turned commander who has a soft spot deep down in his heart. Of course, as I mentioned before, the characters, much like the rest of the film, are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film. Now, back to Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. My favorite parts of this film were when either of these two actors was on screen, and especially when they shared the spotlight. Charlie Day is always going to be a perfect fit when tasked with playing an eccentric scientist on the fringe of where normal science (for the film’s purposes) and crazy meet. His hyperactive attitude and general energy make Dr. Newton Geiszler easily my favorite character. Ron Perlman, on the other hand, wasn’t quite the ball of energy that Charlie was, but that’s not how he operates. Perlman plays a black market alien organ dealer, Hannibal Chau, and while his screen time is probably not even a fourth of what all the other characters are, he manages to incorporate enough sarcasm into his role to make him memorable in many regards.

As I pointed out earlier, this movie is just filled to the brim with eye candy. Seriously, there’s enough metal on alien action to kill a sizable horse, and that’s perfectly okay. This isn’t a movie you watch to relish the story line; it’s not a movie that has your mind thinking in brand new ways. Ultimately, Pacific Rim is just another summer blockbuster, and luckily for everyone in attendance, with that designation comes a huge budget for graphics and explosions and boats and oceans and tearing down giant cities. The visuals are about as realistic as giant robots and aliens can be.. The thing that, while not the most obvious, impressed me was the detail given to the interior of the Jaeger (those giant robots) heads, as well as the  environment that was established regarding the base in which all the Jaegers were stored and repaired. Another merit badge that can be pinned to this movie’s Girl Scout sash is the creativity given to the design of the Kaiju (the aliens). The inspiration from other actual living creatures is noticeable, but that’s because they’ve evolved from them. Or something. Yeah, I’m not entirely clear on that, but they mention it in the movie, and it makes sense, so no worries there. The point is, they’ve effectively turned adorable frogs and menacing sharks into giant super aliens, and it works splendidly.

The plot is where this movie gets into a little bit of trouble. It’s not that the plot necessarily is lacking anything that a good blockbuster has, or is laden with holes, it’s just that the film itself is so cliche in parts, and the dialogue and story fall into that trap with it. This movie is basically any other robot movie you’ve seen coupled with any other alien movie you’ve seen, but the whole ploy to get you to buy a ticket is that this one is devastatingly different because the aliens come from the bottom of the ocean instead of space, and so OOOOHHHHH WATER! Basically, this movie is no different from anything you’ve seen before, but if you can learn to laugh at the cliches, then this will be really entertaining for you. And when I say learn to laugh at the cliches, I mean some of the cliches are so glaring that it’s laughable. There is seriously a part of this movie, meant to be a nice action sequence, that the entire theater laughed through. I actually don’t feel bad about spoiling this little part, because I doubt anyone will be at the edge of their seats hoping the rebel fighter and the lovable Asian with the mysterious past make it out alive. They’re being crushed by one of these Kaiju and their systems are failing. The plasma cannon, or whatever it is, has broken and Becket feels like the only way to win is some scheme that would kill one of them, but Mako Mori calmly says that there is another way. She hits a button that releases a sword from the Jaegers’s arm and as she slices through the Kaiju, she yells (and I’m not even joking) “FOR MY FAMILY!!” So, while I’m not saying this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it certainly has a way of mixing just the right amount of robots, aliens, racist stereotypes, and general military cliches to make you wish you’d either never seen it, or that it was a comedy in the same vein as Scary Movie (Insert Number) or Epic Superhero Movie or any of those. Luckily, if you can move past all that and just enjoy the movie for all its cliches and action scenes, then you’ve got another fun summer hit.

At a two hour and 11 minute run time, it really didn’t feel that long. Of course, that was after the midway point where I realized I could just laugh my way through the rest of it. Really, this film wasn’t all bad. It’s got lots of robots, aliens, explosions, and for the most part, that’s the sure fire formula for a successful summer blockbuster. Ultimately, this is one of those movies that you catch to get out of the sweltering summer heat rather than purchase to appreciate its artistry later on in your living room. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, then grab a ticket. Also, if you’re looking for a movie to make fun of with your friends that simultaneously makes you feel better about your masculinity by having gratuitous explosions, then this is the movie to watch.

FOR MY FAMILYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

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I’m honestly surprised by the amount of negative reviews on this film. I understand why they have such hostile feelings regarding the film, but overall I felt that the movie was well worth the money. The barrage of criticism it received is understandable given that they all write as if this is supposed to answer all the questions it presents, but given that this is a sci-fi movie about human existence itself, I would think it is obvious that not all the questions will be answered. The other point I can see is that it’s not defined as a prequel, or just loosely related, to Aliens. It really doesn’t matter what it is though, because trying to find all the connections forces you to miss the actual movie. So, to accurately review this movie, I believe it’s necessary to do just that. Review THIS movie, and not try to write about all the connections that may or may not exist.

Casting was very well done. Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman) does a great job in her role as the slightly mysterious and ethically questionable mission director. Michael Fassbender as David, an extremely realistic humanoid, is incredible. He prizes this role fantastically, managing to take enough humanness out of himself to produce a robot that’s just close enough to the edge of human to make the audience question whether he can truly feel or not. While Noomi Rapace, who plays Elizabeth Shaw, is supposed to be the main focus, I feel as though Fassbender really steals the spotlight with his performance in this film. That’s not to discredit Rapace though, she did astoundingly as Shaw, the faith driven scientist who believes this voyage will uncover the origins of the human species, and her chemistry with Logan Marshall-Green, who takes on the role of Charlie Holloway, really makes for a believable match up of both a scientific team and a couple. Idris Elba, who plays Janek, the ship’s captain, really presents a nice bit of comedic relief throughout the film, aided by Fifield and Millburn early in the film (played by Sean Harris and Rafe Spall respectively.) When necessary, however, Elba pulls out all the stops and can really hit the serious parts. The only weak point in the casting, in my opinion, was Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland. In all honesty, that wasn’t really as much a weak point in casting as it was a weak development in character, so I will hit that later.

Lots of the flack that this movie caught was over the questions that the plot presented and the lack of answers that it revealed. I say that’s all part of the fun, but to each his own. I thought pacing in this film was nice. It didn’t feel like a super long movie, even though it was 2 hours and 4 minutes. Of course, the big plot points in the film may be a bit controversial to those who can’t understand that this is a Sci-Fi movie and not real, but if you can put aside any thoughts you have on the origin of life, or whatever this plot is considered, and just enjoy the movie, it’s very easy to buy into the whole thing and become immersed in the film. While it does open up many questions and the end is obviously wide open for a sequel, it isn’t like it doesn’t answer any questions. It does address all the questions that are easily answered, but any of the profound questions that it presented, it left open. That, as I see it, is more of a philosophical decision rather than a hole in the story. Were the creatures that created us created by someone else, or was it God? Was it evolution? It all comes back to the basic question of “Who created us/them?” That question will be a continuous inquiry until the day we die, so the lack of an answer in this regard was a smart move to keep that hint of realism in an otherwise fantastical movie. Other problems critics had were with realism, such as the inability to walk after a major operation (which occurs later in the movie), yet the character walks. I feel as though all of these are addressed by the fact that A. things may change drastically between now and 2086 or 2092 or whatever year it is when the story occurs, and B. it is a sci-fi, fantasy movie. Of course it’s not going to be realistic. It has to contain that hint of realism to stay just on the edge of human, but it must be removed enough to make it feel edgy. I think that this film really walks that line well. As I stated earlier, the only problem with character development that I found was Guy Pearce’s character, Peter Weyland, and that was probably just the fact that he wasn’t prominent. He was a sort of mysterious character that you could always feel the presence of due to situations, but you never see or hear from him, so he seems fictitious even in the fictional movie world.

And to the piece de resistance, the visuals. If you don’t want to see this movie at all, even the thought of it is repulsive, go see it just for the visuals. They are awesome, in the literal sense. Awe-inspiring. This entire film could have been silent and there could have been no people in the whole thing and I still would have happily gone to this movie in IMAX 3D. There’s not much to say really, other than go see it. The atmosphere presented in this film, both the tone and the literal atmosphere of the planet they land on, is great. The planet’s surface, the aliens, the graphic surgery scene, the landscapes, it’s all well worth the IMAX upcharge. The use of the 3D wasn’t overkill and I felt it was very well done. This section is going to be relatively short because even the best of descriptions of the visuals in this film would be an insult to the actual beauty that it presents. In short, the visuals are magnificent, and if you miss this film, you’ve really missed out on a visual feast.

To conclude, it’s absolutely necessary to go see this film in IMAX 3D, even if you don’t think it’s something you’d enjoy seeing. I mean, all the negative aspects that most critics load on it are just a bias against it for whatever reason, and it truly is a fantastic movie. There’s no reason to miss this film. Maybe if you aren’t a big sci-fi movie lover it would be okay to miss, and it’s understandable if you just don’t want to spend the extra money, but it is absolutely worth it, even if it’s just for the visual aspect of it. So the best suggestion I have for you is to take the risk, shell out the cash, and catch this while it’s still in IMAX and you can bless your eyes to this majestic eye candy. The story line is very well done, and I truly encourage you to see this one while you can, because a TV just won’t cut it.

If you haven’t realized it by now, I’ve begun updating this site every Saturday at (or very close to) midnight, so if you could keep checking back and introduce this site to friends, family, movie goers, random bystanders on the street, it would be greatly appreciated. The more hits I get, the more motivation I have to keep going, and I really do enjoy these, so I’m not going away soon. Recognition is the real pay off for this…

Of course, actual pay off isn’t bad either. *Wink nod wink*

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