Pacific Rim

Flabbergasted

Giant robots smashing giant Godzilla-like monsters. This is a dream movie for 12-year-old boys, so naturally I saw it with mine. And I have to say, Pacific Rim is a genuinely entertaining pile of nonsense. You can see the money up on the screen, and they’ve thrown just enough plot in to create heroes with angst, but not enough to bog things down.

Kaiju—they’re big nasty monsters that come from an inter-dimensional rift somewhere in the Pacific off the China coast. Jaegers—giant robots built by humanity to defeat the Kaiju. They’re too much for a single brain, so two operators synch minds in “The Drift.” Seems the Jaegers were initially successful, but the Kaiju start coming more and more often. The feckless politicians of the world have decided to abandon the Jaeger program to build giant walls around coastal cities, a truly dumb idea worthy of any United Nations that doesn’t have Brad Pitt as an ubermensch troubleshooter.

Here’s your story. One of the more impressive military hard cases you’ll see on film, Stacker Pentecost, has gone rogue. He’s got the last four worthwhile Jaegers in the world. He’s also got a research team convinced the Kaiju are about to start coming through two at a time, then three, then four in a geometric progression that spells the end of humanity. Stupid politicians, stupid walls. Stacker is coming up with a plan to close the rift. And all it requires is four Jaegers on a suicide mission.

As Bruce Springsteen would say, “The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” That’s a good archetype, especially if you’ve got the CGI chops to back it up. This movie does.

Our heroes? First comes Raleigh Beckett, a washed up formed Jaeger pilot who never recovered from losing his co-pilot, and brother, while synched up in battle with a nasty Kaiju. Then comes Mako Mori, a Japanese woman who was orphaned by a Kaiju attack and raised by Stacker. Naturally, the two most damaged pilots are teamed together, where they will find in each other the strength to yada yada yada. There‘s also a father-and-son Australian team, some Russian and Chinese pilots, and two comic relief scientists who get their brave moments as well.

And Stacker Pentecost. He is every bit “The Man.” When he gives his final speech, culminating in the line “Today, we are cancelling the Apocalypse!”… Well, you’d sign up for that suicide mission, too.

The monsters are impressive to that little kid inside who still remembers watching Godzilla. The robots are some serious CGI candy. And everyone on the project, whatever there personality flaws, is a hero when it counts. Great pulpy dialogue, too. In the final battle, when Stacker’s Jaeger is going down, his co-pilot asks what to do. Seriously, what else would Stacker Pentecost say: “We clear a path for the lady.”

Good, ridiculous stuff.

Will Conservatives Like This?

Absolutely. A tough-as-nails military man spits in the eye of the bureaucracy and smashes monsters with giant robots to save us all. Hard core heroes don’t get much better than that.

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