I rarely do reviews because one I'm lazy and two I always feel that when I write reviews the end result doesn't truly describe my thoughts, but I just thought I would chime in my two cents about a certain film that was released recently, "Pacific Rim". Now I realize that this film has gotten a lot of hype from Toku fans as, Hollywood finally going forward and making a Tokusatsu film, a Mecha anime film, and a Kaijuu film. Pacific Rim has been described as a “love letter” for Tokusatsu fans and Guillermo del Toro himself has described this as the film made for the twelve year old in us, so obviously a big Tokusatsu fan and huge Godzilla fan like me should love this film right? Well…not exactly. You see I find this film to be a bad representation about what makes Tokusatsu special and what I love about Godzilla films, and it is the sad fact that I find this film to be bad, and it pains me to say this.
|We are good writers like Riku Sanjo and Kyoryuger|
Some of the major factors that have me say this is story and character. Two very important things that any Toku and in general any movie should have. The story is honestly badly written and is filled with so many clichés that it feels like it just rehashed movies released this year…that’s not a good thing. Now without getting too much into spoilers, I will say this movie has one of the weakest expositions I have ever seen, in that I have seen it too many times in movies likes this. This movie also has one of the most awkward love stories that honestly felt forced and had a lack of chemistry. The movie is two hours and twelve minutes about and honestly I couldn’t tell you anything that felt like worth telling, the movie is literally just a story about giant robot versus giant monster that is all. I’m sorry but to me that isn’t what Tokusatsu is about, or even the Mecha and Kaijuu films that were also the inspiration for this film. Tokusatsu is about the special effects yes, but it is so much more diving into tragic stories or a man turned cyborg, a man who dies and comes back to life thanks to a space entity that allows him to not only live but deal with the threats that invade Earth himself, a team working and coming together to stop an organization from ruining our world, a psychological piece looking at what war does to young soldiers dealing with loss and overcoming pain, and a sympathetic creature that was affected by man’s desire to make a powerful weapon, whose skin is charcoal black due to the side effects of said weapon. These are just some of the basic concepts of what a Tokusatsu story can bring to us; with Pacific Rim I see it as just dumbing it down to just one thing mindless action.
With the Characters…I couldn’t tell you a thing about them. They are all basically one note and the movie despite its long length never allows us to emotionally connect or relate to the characters at all. Our two main leads Raleigh and Mako are really uninteresting and despite us knowing their backstories I can’t help but say meh because their dilemmas and turmoil aren't full looked into or fleshed out for us enough to get a firm grasp of what they are feeling. Mako in particular I can’t help but think of her as an extremely water downed Nagi from Ultraman Nexus, a young girl whose parents are killed in a Kaiju attack. Sounds interesting but in the movie her “vendetta” towards the Kaiju isn’t felt at all in fact when she wants to pilot a Jaeger, Idris Elba’s character Stacker tells her no and she fully accepts that. Now for someone with a “vendetta” she takes not being able to fight the Kaijus awfully well. And as for Raleigh his character is meh and despite us seeing the loss of his brother because of a Kaiju, Raleigh is able to beat that Kaiju easily so that essentially finishes any personal grudge against the Kaiju because he killed the Kaiju that killed his brother. And for a guy who is depressed and refuses to pilot a Jaeger because of his brother’s death, he kind of accepts getting back into the fight quite easily. And the fact that these two “damaged” characters who suffered personal lost have their stories basically solved without feeling like it was really resolved is very underwhelming. I also don’t like how their turmoil is solved basically through one talk with each other is really the ultimate insult (now if there was more talking then I missed it because the film doesn't do a good job in exploring the two’s relationship).
As for other characters Idris Elba’s character was also meh but what main him so entertaining was his terrible dialogue, I couldn't help but laugh as my friend and I heard his lines we couldn’t take him seriously and he was way over-the-top.
|He is too over the top to take seriously and his speeches are terrible|
Then we have an asshole Australian and his dad who are pretty much there to show an asshole and his dad. And the Australian has nothing redeemable about him that you honestly want a Kaiju to kill him. The other Jaeger pilots are basically just there.
|He's an ass hole with nothing redeemable about him.|
The Chinese Jaeger and Russian Jaeger pilots are just shown to us briefly with just dialogue from Idris Elba describing them, they are essentially not characters and are there to show the threat when two Kaijus attack Hong Kong (SPOILER: They die easily -_-)
|Who are these people?|
and of course our heroes Mako and Raleigh are the only ones who can stop them and they manage to kill two Kaijus when three other Jaeger pilots who have been fighting for more years could not. And don’t give the EMP monster who took out the power from the two Jaegers, if they were professional then why the hell there were no back up plans were, seriously plan for everything. And are you to tell me the Chinese would rather be electronic rather than Nuclear? The crazy scientists were there for just comedy relief and exposition, so yeah they are just there.
|These two have no chemistry and their romance is awkward|
The acting…it sucks just sucks. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi have no chemistry what so ever and with Hunnam he sounds bored throughout the entire movie, if he is so bored why should I be excited for anything he does? Kikuchi is also bad despite her age her character comes off as a teenage girl with her facial reactions like, “But daddy I want pilot the big robot thing.” And that basically describes her reactions to Elba telling her no. Also like in the movie "It", when we look at Mako’s childhood, the child actress emotes real and genuine emotion that when we cut back to Kikuchi it feels like she is a completely different character or she just can’t translate that emotion at all. Elba is over the top like I said and everyone else has no presence to them what so ever, maybe except for Charlie Day and Ron Perlman but the characters weren't interesting enough to have me care what happens to them.
Action wise, I will say it here I am not the biggest fan of CGI, but when it is done right or done where I am not taken out the action I am okay with it. But with that said the CGI fighting was terrible to me, everything was up close and usually at night and I can’t see shit. It doesn’t help that the Jaegers except for Crimson Typhoon are all some sort of dark metallic color. So needless to say I don’t like the Jaeger designs
and I also don’t like the Kaiju designs because they all looked the same in some way, the only thing that really is different about them are some have different color lines and just different faces, a sharp face, a hammerhead face, and a flat face. Plus I couldn’t even tell you the name of the Kaiju because just like the other Jaeger pilots they are just there. So I can say both the Jaegers and the Kaiju leave little to the imagination and kind of felt like either they weren't trying or they just didn't have any creative ideas.
So describe my thoughts overall I kind of felt this movie was let down for me, I am okay with mindless action but I need something more than that mindless action being the only thing, I need so sort of story something I can connect with, find a character I have an emotional attachment to and understand them and relate to them. I got known of that and sadly I can’t say I am a big fan of this film nor can I call it a love little to Tokusatsu, Mecha animes, and Kaijuu films it is missing the a lot of what made these things special to me and only took the most basic of things, the fighting as it’s love letter and it failed at that. If you want a love letter to mecha anime watch the Iron Giant and Megas XLR, Kaijuu films technically Gojira is a love letter to monster films like King Kong, and for Tokusatsu Akibaranger. These are strong love letters that have great writing strong stories and character, special effects I enjoy, and strong emotional connections. These are the love letters I would recommend, Pacific Rim not so much.
|What I feel are some genuinely great Love Letters to things I love.|
Overall I would give Pacific Rim a 3.5 or 4.5 out of 10 because it is the kind of movie I would rent, invite my friends and make fun of it. (Please note if you like or loved the movie I am perfectly okay with that in fact more power to you for enjoying it but for me personally it isn’t the type of movie I could watch again and again.)
(If you want me to clarify anything or want me to go into more detail please leave comments below and I will try to reply.)