It’s here! Neither Iron Man 3, nor Man of Steel, nor Star Trek Into Darkness can claim the accolade for being 2013’s biggest summer-blockbuster phenomenon. Because the award for bonafide adrenaline-pumping, awe-inducing, badass spectacle of the summer of 2013 goes to Guillermo Del Toro’s new ‘Robots vs Godzillas’ flick, Pacific Rim.
Pacific Rim is one of the few movies this year that delivers exactly what it has promised – chills, frills and loads of thrills. Unlike other 2013 summer movies that had their share of strengths but in trying to be both arty and massy, never really came together as a whole, Del Toro’s movie works – and how! – because it’s all kept straightforward: Giant sea monsters (Kaiju) want to destroy our world, and gigantic robots (Jaegers) that are created and piloted by humans must defeat the Kaiju to save the world.
There is no preaching humans on having been naughty; no complex scientific, psyschological or ecological explanation on why the Kaijus hate us. Save a few odd instances, no sappy melodrama because, really, when the world is on the brink of obliteration, you man the hell up and beat the s**t out of whoever’s trying to end your civilization.
One could argue the characters don’t go through enough internal strife, but pfft! Why let such things come in the way of having a blast! Especially since Del Toro is one of those rare directors who takes action in movies like Pacific Rim or his Hellboy series as seriously as he takes his art in movies like the Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth.
In most other summer flicks, the action is pretty much things being destroyed so jarringly and quickly that you are in awe only because you have paid money to be in awe. While watching Pacific Rim, you’re not just a bystander to the action; it feels like you’re bang in the middle of this project to save the world, which is why it's a good idea to watch this film in IMAX and 3D. Instead of mindless and purposeless action sequences like those in Transformers and *cough* Man of Steel’s climax *cough*, each battle sequence of Pacific Rim is cinematically crafted and is like poetry (read: heavy metal) in motion.
I honestly had a braingasm when a Jaeger took a giant ship – a ship! – and used it like a baseball bat to beat the daylights out of a Kaiju! The climax is a bit of an anti-climax after all the incredible face-offs in the buildup to it. But all in all, this fight between the Kaijus and Jaegers is masterfully constructed in the writing (Travis Beacham and Del Toro), direction, cinematography (Oscar-winner Guillermo Navarro), editing (Peter Amundson & John Gilroy) and music (Ramin Djawadi). Djawadi, who has composed the music for Game of Thrones and Iron Man in the past, is a stand out talent, who combines in the soundtrack for Pacific Rim operatic and classical music with hard rock guitar riffs to create some of the most catchy background music you’ve heard.
To put $185 million dollars in a movie based on an original idea instead of a comic book or a toy or glow-in-the-dark vampires and then to cast niche television actors in it shows Del Toro’s got guts. The eclectic cast has two actors known for their film work: Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi. The rest of the cast is drawn from television and includes Charlie Hannum (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (Luther), Charlie Day (It’s Sunny in Philadelphia), Robert Kazinsky (Eastenders) and Max Martini. Elba, who is spectacular in Luther and The Wire, is the pick of the lot, along with the hilarious Day. Because when the 6 feet 3-inch, 215 lb hunk Elba declares, “Today, we’re cancellin’ the apocalypse!” you *know* that the apocalypse is going to get cancelled.