Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi in Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim”
Guillermo Del Toro hasn’t released a film in five years and now we know why. He’s been working on his solution to Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise. If you were to take the kaiju, big scary terraformed earthen creatures and swap them for evil decipticons voiced by Hugo Weaving and Leonard Nimoy. Then take the Jaeger’s (big robots controlled by two pilots which would be non-existent in a Michael Bay film) and give them artificial intelligence, you would then have Transformers. Del Toro’s Pacific Rim certainly takes cues from the aforementioned franchise and Marvel’s Iron Man. instead of giant robots fighting other giant robots we have giant robots fighting giant monsters. It’s a silly and most definitely a childish idea at its finest, but instead of featuring explosions as the main plot device for this blockbuster Del Toro weaves a simple heartfelt story that creates anti-heroes looking for redemption.
Its not entirely a surprise that Rim is tanking at the box office, there aren’t any big names attached to the title; in fact Idris Elba whom has many supporting roles to his credit is the film’s biggest star. Its lead actor Charlie Hunnam whom is the star of Kurt Sutter’s Hamlet on motorcycles, Sons Of Anarchy, isn’t the best actor out there. Hunnam has certainly received a career boost as a direct result of it. The same can also be said about the film’s only female presence Rinko Kikuchi, whom didn’t show up on my radar until I had seen Alejandro Gonzalez Innarritu’s Babel.
Rim takes place at least twenty-five years from present time into the future. The opening of the film discusses the first major Kaiju attack and then cuts five years forward. As if nothing that happened during that five-year stretch was worthy of mentioning in the first place.
Raleigh Beckett (Hunnam) has lost his brother Yancey (Diego Kalttenholf) while fighting against the Kaiju and has ever since been working whatever dead-end job comes his way. Any mention of the Kaiju and it sends him back to that time when Yancey was still alive. Raleigh also does a fair amount of bragging about the Kaiju they slayed together.
Mako Mori (Kikuchi) whom supports the “resistance” against the Kaiju with Marshall Stacker Pentecost (Elba) has been dreaming of fighting the Kaiju for a long time. So when Raleigh shows up she just might get her chance. Mori and Pentecost have a past that neither one of them feels like sharing with Raleigh. However, it requires two to pilot a Jaeger and Kaiju attacks are becoming more and more common.
To determine why the Kaiju appearances are happening more and more. Dr. Newton Gieszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) are tasked by Pentecost to find out. Gottlieb is a mathematician and believes that numbers will be the answer to the Kaiju appearances, but Gieszler knows his Frankenstein like approach to the problem is right. This eventually leads Gieszler to black market dealer Hannibal Chau (a signature Del Toro Ron Perlman). Which pushes the boundaries of the “drift” technology seen in the film.
Pacific Rim is easily one of the better movies out this summer that not only creates its own language, but is also creating its own niche’ in pop-culture as we know it. Rim is certainly nothing special, but it is a fun-filled thrill ride that reminds us how Blockbuster should be. Not the superhero filled summers that society has gotten used to over the last few years.