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 Pacific Rim

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Prisoner Monkeys
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PostSubject: Pacific Rim   Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:16 pm

A review of a film with a concept that everyone here is bound to hate: a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters.

I remember reading Stephen King's On Writing a few years ago. One part sticks out in my mind: the part where he describes the very first story that he wrote (or at least remembers writing), which was little more than exactly what he had seen on television earlier that night. It stands out in my mind because I did exactly the same thing. I was in Year 2 and I was a fan of "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers", and during a creative writing exercise in class, I wrote a Power Rangers story. It mostly consisted of me writing VROOOOOOM! and KABOOM! and POW! in the form of a narrative. I remember telling my teacher that I was going to write another one, and she immediately folded the page in half and told me that was my limit. It wasn't the first story I wrote, but the episode sticks out in my mind.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because Pacific Rim is that story I wrote in Year 2. I can only describe it with capitalised onomatopoeia, punctuated with the liberal use of exclamation marks. This movie is VROOOOOOM! and KABOOM! and POW! for two hours. You will hate it, and it is awesome. Not because you hate it, but because you know that although your tastes are (in some cases, only slightly) more sophisitcated than this, it has a quality that speaks to your inner twleve-year-old playing with your action figures. It's loud and it's brash and it's shallow, but watching it is like watching what you saw in your mind's eye when you were a kid in your room on a rainy day with nothing more than your imagination to explain why Optimus Prime just rescused Batman from the clutches of the evil Barbie you nicked from your sister's bedroom when she wasn't watching.

That said, I did have a few issues with the film. This is very much raw, unprocessed imagination, and definitely has more style than substance. There are two characters in particular who don't have a line of dialogue and are instead forced to have platinum-blond hairdos so that you can identify them in a room full of people. During the fight sequences, it can be hard to tell exactly what is happening, though these parts seem to be limited to the connecting filler that links sequences together. And if your cinema has poor sound-mixing, you're in for a long and difficult two hours - this is a noisy film and it requires a delicate balance. If it's not there, the BOOOOOM!s and KAPOW!s drown out everything, particularly dialogue (which is actually a blessing at times, because the Australian characters are played by actors who only have a vague idea where Australia is and made the informed decision to consult Crocodile Dundee instead of an atlas for research).

So in the end, what is Pacific Rim? It's a film that is exactly what it claims to be: giant robots fighting giant aliens. It doesn't pretend to be anything else. It's cheap summer entertainment, and made to appeal to your inner child. It's silly, and it knows it. And rather than try to run away from that silliness, awkwardly pretend it doesn't exist or cast Shia LaBoof in a misguided attempt to make itself appealing, Pacific Rim takes its silliness in its stride. If you're willing to let go of the insane fear that someone you know might see you coming out of a theatre showing a film like this, you might actually like it.

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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

If one of the reasons you utterly hated Revenge Of The Fallen was because you felt bludgeoned into submission by the bombastic noise levels, is this better skipped?

I thought it looked quite fun, but some of what I'm reading is starting to put me off.
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Prisoner Monkeys
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Perhaps. It's kind of hard for me to judge. The problem with the cinema that I saw it in was that the sound balance was out. It felt like someone had turned up the bass too much, and the sound was reverberating through the speakers.

Having said that, I think the main problem with the sound in Revenge of the Fallen was that the whole thing an absolute test of endurance. The fight sequences went on and on and on and on, like the writers kept having ideas and just threw them together one after the other. It didn't help that a lot of the characters got split up and had their own fights, so trying to keep track of everything that was happening was a nightmare. Pacific Rim doesn't make that mistake. As much as it indulges in a twelve-year-old's imagination, it knows that there is only so much the audience can take before it stops being awesome and starts being painful. There are only a handful of fight sequences in the film - three, I think, plus one very brief (and geographically innaccurate and strategically suicidal; if you're familiar with Sydney, you'll know why) scrap shown as a newscast - and none of them over-stay their welcome. The only really big one, the Defence of Hong Kong, is smart enough to be broken up into three phases, with a short break in between each one. It gives the audience the chance to process what has happened instead of bombarding them. It's still a fairly long sequence, and it mostly amounts to robots beating up monsters, but I get the sense that del Toro played it like a boxing match: he takes you for one round, gives you the chance to compose yourself, and then goes into the next round. And unlike Revenge of the Fallen, there is only ever one fight at a time. You don't have to worry about characters splitting up and going off to fight their own battles that you have to keep track of.

In the end, it is by its very nature, a noisy film. The Jaegers stomp on things, the kaiju roar, buildings get demolished and Charlie Hunnam shouts a lot. It's fun, and it's bombastic, but I think del Toro's obvious affection for the genre and the way he approached the film as being everything he wanted to see in monster movies as a kid really helps the film. I never once felt the need to check my watch or ask if the projectionist could skip fifteen minutes ahead and spare us all another fight sequence.

I wish I could give you a definitive answer instead of a rambling essay. Sorry.
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Jack Wade
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:26 am

I agree with PM. I saw it last night and it knocked my socks off. Most fun I've ever had at the movies. Second act drags a little bit but the third act kicks all kinds of ass.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:07 am

I found it pretty monotonous.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:34 am

I absolutely loved it. It broughy back a feeling of awe and joy to the movies that I haven't had since I was ten years old. I was utterly blown away and bowled over in the best way possible. Exciting, overwhelming, surprising, everything I wanted it to be and with a great score to boot which is such a rarity in modern pictures.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:56 am

I must confess, as soon as I heard the electric guitar in the opening scenes, my first thought was "Oh, man, Sharky's going to hate this ..."
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:31 pm

I think I might have loved this if it was only 80 minutes long. At 130 minutes, it really overstayed its welcome, at least for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:39 pm

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
I must confess, as soon as I heard the electric guitar in the opening scenes, my first thought was "Oh, man, Sharky's going to hate this ..."

I loved the score, which I would describe as being very similar to the composer's score for Iron Man 1, only with a stronger main theme melody. IM1 is still my favourite score of that trilogy, as it is the only one I can actually remember any of the original music for. I never understood why they didn't bring Djawadi back for the other two, and I was most disappointed in the third movie's score considering that Brian Tyler is usually one of my favourites but I can't recall a single note from that movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:39 am

I'm with Harms on this. It's a lot of fun, but easily could have been 90 mins or a bit more. After the battle in Hong Kong, I felt like the movie could have ended then and there. By the time the climax is going on I felt exhausted. Also, I think that whole flashback with Mako should have been the opening of the flick. That would have been a great way to emotionally hook you in and the reveal of the Jaeger with Elba was very beautiful.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:27 pm

Meh. My only problem was the second act. It's like this movie was bookended with some good-ass action. Should've just kept it going there in the middle.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:41 pm

I am the reverse of Python and Harms, I thought the movie was too short and packed a ton of great characters and story into too small a space, resulting in some cool characters and concepts getting the short stick. I could've sat through this as a TV series easily.

The pacing at times reminded me of when they take a season of an anime and edit it to release it theatrically (yes this happens) and it's mostly all the battles and just a sketch of the character arcs.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:46 pm

With every character who wasn't Idris Elba, the scientists, or Hannibal Chau, I yawned all the way through their scenes. This movie had the blandest protagonist since TRON LEGACY.

Chin up, though, Sykes. Del Toro says he has an additional hour of footage lying around, so a Director's Cut is no doubt on the way.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:24 am

I will agree the protagonist was bland, and TRON LEGACY is a good comparison for his blandness, which is why I enkoyed the movie more as an ensemble and wish we had spent more time with some of the ancilliary characters.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:32 am

I thought the protagonist was the guy from Tron Legacy until I was told otherwise when the movie was over.
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PostSubject: Re: Pacific Rim   Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:55 am

Garrett Hedlund is a decent actor, judging from COUNTRY STRONG and ON THE ROAD.

PACIFIC RIM(JOB) is one of the worst pieces of shit I've ever seen. One giant toy commercial. Not even Idris Elba could save it.
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