Dig this hypothetical –
Disney’s greenlit filming of The Little Mermaid as a live action feature, with minor edits to the final scene in which (spoiler alert) Prince Eric kills a giant octopus sorceress. Idris Elba’s been cast as Eric (proving I’m not a racist) and Isla Fisher will play Ursula.
In the new version, Idris rides a unicorn across a rainbow and slays Isla with a swordfish skeleton.
It will be difficult for a director to film that shot while maintaining the audience’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief.’
Therefore, even if they manage to make it visually seamless with reality, other aspects of the movie oftentimes suffer. The acting and/or story department usually takes the hit.
Bearing that in mind, Pacific Rim is a great movie.
It’s described as a ‘creature feature.’
If you didn’t feel a breeze of hesitation flit by, you’re probably going to enjoy it as much as I did.
Just pop it in and know your qualms will be minimal if you’re not seeking weaknesses. Enjoy the spectacular CGI and seamless visual effects, a handful of solid performances from a cast of mostly unknowns, numerous elaborate fight scenes and a way better story than you’d normally expect out of the prototypical summer blockbuster.
I highly recommend Pacific Rim.
Read on carefully, though, I may spoil something below.
The first actor I recognize on-screen is Charlie Day, and that is about thirty minutes into the movie. I kind of liked the cast of mostly unknowns.
I thought Mr. Day turned in a compelling performance and enjoy the contribution of his subplot. I had no idea the mind-melding scene was coming, and it expands the dimensions of the overall story in a pleasing manner.
On a related note, Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, and Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket (the protagonist) enter one of her memories and deliver a chilling but sweet scene.
The film toggles between the two main forms of human defense: biological study and military tactics. One provides much needed backstory, the other stays on the forefront of battle. And it works well!
The only other big names are Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost and Ron Perlman as Hannibal Chau (who is just a great character.) Seems like old Ron and Guillermo are buddies after the Hellboy franchise.
It’s as if Guillermo Del Toro (or Willie of the Bull, as I like to call him) said, “Given the context, I want well-choreographed clearly-illustrated fight scenes, and the sharpest narrative possible.” And the crew delivered.
Although there are two or three cringeworthy scenes, these are easily admissible if you’re the forgiving type. When the protagonists quarrel with their rivals, Chuck and Herc Hansen, a little shoving match breaks out and is only momentarily painful because of some poor acting.
Other than that, there is little worth criticizing here.
Pacific Rim is more than an impressive effort. It relays a much better story than is necessary with swells of grand fight scenes and an epic ending.
It’s a lot of fun.