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Trick question: What is the first casualty in a big special effects ‘event movie’?

Easy Answer: Believable relationships between characters.

Complicated Answer: Favourite characters/scenes that needed to be cut because the (gargantuan) budget didn’t allow it.

Net result: If audiences are not blown away by the visual excess on screen, the movie is probably going to lose a lot of money.

 

Pacific Rim was expected to be big when it opened. What’s not to like about giant robots—built by humans—doing battle with large alien monsters hell-bent upon destroying Earth, right?

See here’s the problem: There is very little about Pacific Rim that feels new. Giant monsters? Godzilla. Giant robots? Transformers. Humans in robotic suits? Erm…Iron Man; that scene from District 9; and—to a certain extent—Elysium. Epic destruction? There was a lot of that in Avengers, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3…actually that list kinda goes on and on. The Hong Kong streets in Pacific Rim look pretty similar to the street-level setting in Blade Runner.  And the Idris Elba-delivered, “we are cancellin’ the Apocalypse” speech is just a less impactful version of Bill Pullman’s Independence Day rallying cry.

So in a summer season rife with one bone-crunching wannabe-blockbuster after the other it is really little surprise that Pacific Rim didn’t perform to expectations.

The action sequences are well done and big kudos to the special effects teams working on particle effects. All that wind and water really looked dramatic. Major props to the designers of the giant Jaegers as well because they really did have amazing character. I was not as big a fan of the Kaiju though. They looked like a lot of everything we’ve seen before. Giving them fancy names doesn’t make me more afraid of them.

I quite enjoyed the movie, for the duration that it was running, because it moves along at a decent pace and the storytelling doesn’t get bogged down anyplace trying to make major points. But it also felt like ‘another giant robots movie’ rather than an event movie. This is a phenomenon I’ve encountered recently while watching new movies: there’s nothing significant about them that makes me want to see them again. No scenes, no sequences, no lines of dialogue, that stick in my head in a way that makes me want to revisit them.

Final Analysis: No real chemistry between lead pair Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi. But the relationship between Ms Kikuchi and Mr. Elba is nicely underlined, and the latter is pretty badass, considering that he’s saddled with unenviable dialogue.

My Advice: See it once. That much this movie definitely deserves.


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