As for the size and scope of del Toro’s film, the scale of Pacific Rim is insane – you’ve never seen anything this big on screen before. People are quick to make comparisons to Transformers, but Megatron wouldn’t even come up to Gipsy Danger’s ankle. Pacific Rim is nothing like Transformers or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – another lazy, off-target appraisal.
Japanese anime including Mazinger Z, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and cult genre films like Stuart Gordon’s 1990 post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick Robot Jox, are no doubt inspirations for Pacific Rim and should be referenced instead of Michael Bay’s Transformers series, which is dwarfed (in every single way) by this film.
I also have to mention the soundtrack, composed by Ramin Djawadi, recalls Akira Ifukube’s classic Godzilla scores, while providing a few bad-ass riffs courtesy of Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. There’s been a lack of memorable scores in movies lately, but days after seeing Pacific Rim I have the main theme (and Morello’s head-banging guitar riffs) burned into my brain.
Pacific Rim is the kind of movie that, if seen at the right age, could hook a kid on movies for the rest of his or her life. Star Wars was that movie for me, and Pacific Rim embraces the unpretentious spirit of adventure that made George Lucas’ sprawling space saga resonate with an entire generation. You’re dropped in the middle of this rich universe – this isn’t an origin story – populated by characters with fantastical names like Herc Hansen (Max Martini) and Tendo Choi (Clifton Collins Jr.). Jaegers like Alpha Cherno, Crimson Typhoon, and Striker Eureka sound like prototypes for the Millennium Falcon or a T-16 Skyhopper.
As someone who grew up obsessing over Mothra vs. Godzilla and the monstrous creations of Ray Harryhausen and Ishirō Honda, I absolutely adored Pacific Rim. It hit all the right notes in being a spirited homage to giant monster movies while providing a new, original universe to play around in – a lush, lived-in universe that I want to spend more time in. For 131 minutes, I was transported back to my childhood, a big goofy grin slapped across my face, enjoying the simple pleasures of giant ****ing robots slug it out with nasty monsters from the murky depths of the Pacific Ocean.
I’ve been pretty disappointed with this summer’s crop of big-budget blockbusters, but Guillermo del Toro has delivered a movie that makes no apologies for being FUN. That’s right – FUN. Pacific Rim aspires to bring us old-fashioned heroics with awe-inspiring visuals; dares to be a post-apocalyptic science-fiction film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and wants its audience to ENJOY themselves instead of take home some bigger philosophical meaning about the nature of man.
Pacific Rim appeals to the child within all of us – the uncynical child that can still be astonished – the kid that doesn’t want to be grounded in reality. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of reality. I’d give anything to Drift with Mako Mori and uppercut monsters in my skyscraper-sized robot suit. I don’t know if Pacific Rim will find its audience – if it will flop or break even or be an international success – but I’m glad it found me. Thanks Guillermo del Toro, for helping me escape reality and cynicism, if only for two hours.