The fictional stories concerning the aliens from outer-space have always been with us through those books, movies, cartoons and comics right from the childhood. Alien, Predator and Event Horizon were among the best feeders of outer-space horror. It was just a few weeks ago, that the audience accepted the friendly neighborhood alien in Man of Steel, and the same space travel thing was explored thrice in the last few months, with Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion and the weaker of the group, After Earth. Well, this time, from the depths of abyss comes the alien creatures, not from the sky, but from underneath the oceans to the above world. The first choice of looking for alien life form was always beyond the stars, which is actually quite surprising. For the common man, it should not have been so, but unfortunately they have been loaded with ideas of life on other planets by science even as the fact remains that they have never seen any of these planets or stars in the way they are taught in the school. I would have preferred not to study the same and choose only art and literature, but unfortunately, education is clearly biased towards science. What this study of science does is that it unintentionally makes religion the more believable thing around for the intellectuals of the highest class. It is on a blind faith of technology and scientific extremism that the concept of space aliens are based on, and it is this same thing that Guillermo del Toro has annihilated here; not that it was not done before, but this time, it is in the form an incredibly powerful spectacle.
Del Toro’s work has always come up with beauty in horror, and this movie is no exception. The movie plunges into the depths of the theme of alien invasion and comes up with that pure awesomeness which The Avengers missed by some distance and Transformers: Dark of the Moon missed by quite a million light years. This is what Transformers should have been, but unfortunately that series lost all the good things with the second and third parts of the movie. Pacific Rim shows how a fighting machine should be. From the man who gave us Pan’s Labyrinth, at least this much was expected, and he has delivered it, with fantastic power which would make this the movie of the year so far, and may be even the best science fiction action move in two years. I didn’t really free myself from his Hellboy II: The Golden Army when I went to see this one, thanks to the television channels; and not to forget Blade II. There is one warning though, as this is not recommended for the movie cynics – they are the kind of people who will dislike this movie and come up with weird unimaginative reasons which are less significant than the smallest robot’s toe. If this movie can’t leave a smile on your face by the end, there is no doubt that such people belong to the Kaiju group, as the monster sympathizing kids who can’t bear to see their little dinosaur things losing to robots.
The movie takes the viewers to the future, when the planet is under attack by Kaiju, a name they call for the gigantic monsters continuously emerging from a portal beneath the ocean. After a number of attacks and destruction, the humans understand that it is not going to stop. To combat these big monsters, all the nations unite and use all their remaining resources to create the giant robots called Jaegers, each controlled by two (or more) pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge, as it would be too huge for two of them. But,The plot follows Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a former Jaeger pilot who had lost both his machine and his brother while fighting. He is called out of retirement by Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and is teamed with a rookie Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) in a last effort to defeat the monsters. At a time when Jaeger program is being decommissioned, and walls are built to protect the cities from the monsters, there is chance for one final attempt on closing the portal and saving the world with only four last robots remaining. As the monsters continue to evolve and adapt to the methods chosen by humans, the survival of both the man and the machine was becoming difficult, and with bigger and stronger monsters coming up, and the robots only getting older, the situation had turned clearly in favour of the monsters who are found to be controlled by minds and on a mission to colonize Earth.
Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi gives the movie that right dose of memory, as they give to their giant machine in the story. Idris Elba gives a powerful performance throughout the movie. There is no romantic side to this story, and the feelings are of brotherhood and respect rather than some silly emotions of infatuation. The rest goes to the robots, except for some funny scenes. The movie is a fantastic visual treat, as if a wizard has combined his powers with a sorcerer of the other world. This is not a dark movie, as that ghost has currently gripped every story which is detached from the real world. There is beauty even in the monsters and the destruction that takes place, something which Transformers and The Avengers missed out on the artistic side. There is pure poetry in motion throughout the sequences involving the robots and the monsters. They are all beautifully done, with each minute detail given importance. There is even detail on the tiny insects which feed on the monsters – not that tiny when the humans see them though. The fight scenes are powerful and stylish, with 3D coming to the aid at the right moments. The cynics can stop asking scientific questions about the invasion as the creatures come out of portal underneath the ocean and not from underneath Earth in its literal sense. It might be surprising that just a portal answers so many questions, and in this case, it does. Another thing to be noted is that times flies throughout this movie, and one gets too busy with the movie that it goes unnoticed.
This is obviously different from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy and therefore it is a crime to expect the same kind of thing here, even as there is the clear “del Toro tag” throughout the movie. Each and every detail of the robots and the monsters is to be looked at, for they are not simple giant robots and gigantic monsters. Gipsy Danger, the old model which saves the day differs considerably from Crimson Typhoon, the three armed robot with three pilots. The Russian robot Cherno Alpha gives another feeling at the mean time, and Striker Eureka comes up with its robotic structure almost the exact opposite. Coyote Tango, piloted by Stacker Pentecost has a lesser appearance. Even the monsters are never the same, as some of them can spit acid, some of them can fly, and some of them can move at lightning speed – none of them looking the same. The climate, and the whole setting of the fights also seem to assert this powerful detail which has been running through the movie. Another point is the use of collective memory, as a shared group of memories, only this time, it is really what it means literally. There is that world of shared memory and shared folders which we found easier to attach with the computers and electronic devices – it has such a powerful significance; and such a thing would solve the differences and save the world threatened by humans.
One question shall haunt me for a long time though; to watch this movie two or three more times or to be so satisfied with this spectacle that I take a break from watching movies. There are moments which can make one feel that it is the ultimate satisfaction, and as long as science fiction movies are considered, this is close enough to the same. There are all the morals and the inspiring factors in place, but there is no preachy side to this one. The moments to watch out for should be I. The first battle between Gypsy Danger and a monster (just because it is the first fight), II. The return of Gypsy Danger to the field (that moment of sudden appearance), III. The battle in the air (when the sword takes over), IV. The final underwater climax battle (from the moment the first monster strikes). There is no forgetting the use of ship as a weapon during that moment of awesomeness. This could be better summarized by saying that the movie has a very good beginning and a fantastic last fourty five minutes. It takes you to another world, where these monsters are real, and they can be beaten. There is inspiration, and there is the ability to keep you on the edge of your seats; there is the message of never-ending hope and the assertion of faith and belief. Along with that there is the rain and the water of the ocean which seems to have a purifying effect in 3D. The movie has a lot of trust and sharing of other’s memories going on, which points a lot to the current world. So what can we expect from a possible sequel than pure awesomeness? This one was a safe bet for me though, as there is one director who has never come close to disappointing me, and he is directing this movie.
The fact remains that Pacific Rim will continue the winning run of Warner Bros, and the reason for its success at this part of the world should be the trailers and the posters at the multiplexes which does nothing less than being impressive. Another thing is that the early reviews have all been very positive, and those which are negative, I wouldn’t call them reviews, as none of them has come up with any valid argument to not recommending this movie. It is a known truth that people love some random human being in a metal suit as they have appreciated Iron Man, and they also love robots, considering the huge success of Transformers with nothing much to offer in the last two movies of the series. Pacific Rim has both of them, and with the right people to handle the same. Considering the kind of audience the movie attracts, the only movie which can give some challenge is The Wolverine, as the release of White House Down next week here won’t change a thing, thanks to Olympus Has Fallen. R.I.P.D. and The Conjuring will attract only selected viewers, and RED 2 has a chance of making lesser impact than expected here. Then there would be The Smurfs 2 which would take not much of the audience of this movie away from action. The movie would stay in the theatres here till August unless The Wolverine comes up with a miracle, or there is an influx of Hindi and Malayalam movies of high quality.
Release date: 12th July 2013
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Robert Maillet, Heather Doerksen, Burn Gorman
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.