Friday, July 12, 2013

Tim's PACIFIC RIM Review! 9.4 Stars!!

Tim here, and what follows is my review for Pacific Rim. The first movie from director Guillermo Del Toro since 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the movie is about a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures. As it wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse. The movie comes from a story by Travis Beacham who co-wrote the screenplay with Guillermo Del Toro.

Let me start with the story: A great fun summer movie for the ages! It follows the 3-Act Joseph Campbell hero arc structure to a tee, but with some pleasant surprises. It's a pleasantly original concept that is fresh and full of good humor interspersed with the mind-blowing action. Despite being able to point out the plot points the moment they happen, it's still a fun ride in a well told story. The character development was extremely solid and had some fantastic characters. Although they weren't completely as well rounded as a complex drama character they were well crafted for the story.

These characters were supported by some very fine acting from all the performers involved. Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket) was a solid lead actor who made a great transition into leading man after years on the TV Series Sons of Anarchy, and he had great chemistry with Rinko Kikuchi (Mako Mori). Rinko was great in her role and I'm very excited to see her later this year in 47 Ronin. She played her character with sincerity and great poise. Idris Elba (Stacker Pentecost) was a fantastic stern military leader with a soft heart. He's always a pleasure to watch as he's a great performer. Charlie Day (Dr. Newton Geiszler) was absolutely a scene stealer. His comedic timing was perfect for this movie. I hope he does more with Del Toro in the future, especially playing more scenes off Ron Perlman (Hannibal Chau) who we all know as a Del Toro regular. Perlman was also a scene stealer despite his short screen time. However, make sure to stick a little bit longer after the credits start for some extra Perlman goodness. It's a treat.

The cinematography by Guillermo Navarro was beautiful. This was shot on the RED Epic, and never have I seen the colors shot with this camera look so beautiful. I mean this with a lot of emphasis because I'd expect these colors from the Arri Alexa as opposed to the RED. The lighting was fantastic and lent well to the 3D Conversion by StereoD LLC. When it comes to 3D conversion I've decided I can't go above a score of 85% out of principle that native is better. That being said however, this was the best conversion so far this year, and because all the CGI elements were rendered natively in 3D I'll boost it up to 92%. Navarro's choice in lenses also aided in making the live action shots have a great helping hand to the conversion. Again all the visual effects shots were easily rendered in stereo…

Top notch work on the visual effects by John Knoll and the Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) team. One of the smartest decisions was to use natural elements (rain, night, and snow) to hide some of the finer details of the Jaegers and the Kaiju, but this also helped create extra stereo elements. The Jaegers and the Kaiju both looked so real because they were properly obscured by the elements, and even when the view of them was clear they were immensely impressive. The scale felt overwhelming. Look for nominations to fall on the VFX team come awards season.

The sound effects were also awards worthy, and Ramin Djawadi provided a thrilling score, and co-wrote the end credits song. Naturally it's best to see the film in IMAX or Dolby Atmos for the best sound experience. Unlike some other giant robot movies… Hmmm, Transformers… the sound here wasn't overwhelming and chaotic. That may sound a little crazy considering it's still a giant robot versus alien monster movie, but it's true.

This is a great summer action movie! A must see, especially in IMAX 3D, and should be enjoyed with a group of close friends who also enjoy great action movies. I hope there is a shorter gap between Del Toro's next feature and this because I don't know if we can handle another 5-year wait.

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