Monday, July 22, 2013

Pacific Rim -- Movie Review

So, I saw Pacific Rim this week.  It is very tough to avoid spoilers in this day and age, but I avoided all trailers, previews, reviews, and almost had to give up Twitter and RSS until I could see the movie.

For those that know me, this should be a movie for me.  I LOVE giant monster movies.  I have been a Godzilla fan since I was a kid, and I have seen a large array of kaiju movies.  I even see the terrible ones.  Yes I have seen the non-Godzilla Rolland Emerich thing.  I have even seen Pulgasari -- the movie Kim Jong-Il had made by kidnapping a South Korean filmmaker.  I have seen Garuda a Thai kaiju movie. I could go on and on.

To make a good giant monster movie, you need to follow a few simple rules.

  1. You need a reason for the monsters to exist and attack.
  2. If giant things fight, a definite "Good vs Evil" must be established.
  3. Fighting and destruction (particularly with CGI effects) should just be a minor part of the movie.
So, what does all of this have to do with Pacific Rim?  Well, it gets all of these right.  At no point was I like -- enough with the CGI fighting -- it is 2013 we're not impressed with it anymore.  It fit.  It worked.  You know what we are fighting and why.  You know what is happening.  Guillermo del Toro gets it.  He is a story teller.  He knows how to make a kaiju movie!

My only complaint is one of the complaints I had about Cloverfield.  The monsters are too complicated.  They are very Gamera/Ultraman like -- involved and weird.  They just didn't work for me.  It is my personal belief that kaiju should be simple.  When we are working with giant monsters, we need to be able to get our head around them.  It is difficult if they have so much going on.

This movie is what giant robots vs. giant monsters should be.  It was fantastic!  Now on to another US Godzilla movie -- cross your fingers!

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