With summer typically being the season for fast-paced, highly visual action/science fiction films, "Pacific Rim" delivers everything one would expect.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, known for his dark fantasy films like "Pan's Labyrinth," "Pacific Rim" is the typical summer film with a dark, brooding edge that jumps right into the plot and rarely loses pace or becomes uninteresting.
The film features a diverse cast including Charlie Hunnam from "Sons of Anarchy," Idris Elba from "The Wire," Charlie Day from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and Rinko Kikuchi from the 2006 film "Babel." Although the film boasts more style than substance, it is still exciting and satisfying with plenty of eye candy for special effects, destruction and explosions.
"Pacific Rim" is set in the near future with ominous monsters that look like deep sea creatures on steroids called Kaijus, which is Japanese for "strange creatures." Destroying densely populated cities of the world, the Kaiju come from a portal in a crevasse beneath the Pacific Ocean, hence the name "Pacific Rim." In order to fight these monsters, the governments of the world unify and create humanoid fighting machines known as Jaegers, which is German for "hunter."
The program is successful at first but over the years the Kaijus become stronger and the program begins to fail and is eventually cancelled. As a result, Stacker Pentacost, played by Elba, forms a resistance and turns to washed-up Jaeger pilot Raleigh Beckett played by Hunnam to return to the underground program in Hong Kong and pilot his old Jaeger interestingly named Gipsy Danger. However, due to the amount of mental power it takes to pilot these machines, Beckett must find a partner with the help of Mako Mori, Pentecost's shy assistant played by Kikuchi, and Kaiju researcher Dr. Newton Geizler played by Day. The Resistance as well as three other Jaeger teams must come together to end the Kaiju attacks once and for all.
The film is reminiscent of Japanese mecha anime such as "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "Mobile Suit Gundam" which in a sense gives fans a more updated form of such shows. It also gives the audience a break from the traditional super hero movies that usually dominate summer movie screens such as the newly released "Iron Man 3" and last year's film "The Amazing Spiderman."
While "Pacific Rim" has the makings of a summer blockbuster including a reluctant hero, a boy meets girl storyline, plenty of explosions and somewhat predictable dialogue, it also changes it up a bit. It switches it up by not only destroying a different city besides the infamous New York, but by also having moments of sadness and compassion when it comes to loss of family and relationships between father and son, siblings and also the bond between father and daughter, which is fairly rare in action films in general.
The visuals and design of "Pacific Rim" deserve praise as well. Most of the picture has a dark color scheme which matches the dark and brooding nature of the story. The waves in the ocean and the battle scenes seems artistic in themselves, where it's apparent that Del Toro drew inspiration from classic art like Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" to help with the design. The designs of the Kaiju look menacing enough to be frightening yet believable.
Enough to make audiences think that there might be an actual beast at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The Jaegers are well designed as well, balancing a look of power without looking over done.
All in all, "Pacific Rim" is a film that meets up to its expectations of what audiences have come to expect from an action film, and more.