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The Oldest Man
Jul 28, 2003

Pacific Rim has a straight-forward idea of the kind of movie it wants to be: a big, effects-driven spectacle about people regaining their ability to trust to overcome tremendous odds. Unfortunately, it undercuts its own message at several points in service to the conventions of the action-adventure genre. The themes the movie is trying to present are left covered in mud by the plot points it has to use to present them.

What did this movie do well?

Visual effects. See this movie in IMAX, it's an incredible use of the format and you won't be left wanting in that department.
Pacing. A lot of big summer action movies sag under their own weight, but Pacific Rim's pacing is crisp and never leaves you wondering when they're going to get back to the giant dinosaur fights for too long. It's a good example of how to sequence an effects-driven movie of over two hours.
World-building. The setting of the movie totally overshadows the characters, and it's my sincere hope that del Toro gets to do a sequel solely so that we can see more of it.

What did this movie not do well?

Character interaction. The two mains are incredibly tepid and never really develop the chemistry that's shown even between the main character and his brother for a few brief moments at the start of the movie. The number of times they communicate with each other in the cockpit, throughout 40+ minutes of punching monsters, can be counted on one hand. Worse, the things they say are almost entirely one-liners said to the audience rather than something said to the character they are supposed to be developing a direct mind-to-mind bond with. And it's all a little thin when their bond is established far away from the monsters that are the focus of the movie, and never suffers a setback during a real fight. Did the script forget what is supposed to be challenging the heroes here?
Themes. Pacific Rim wants to be all about the triumph of human relationships over incredible adversity. Unfortunately, the two main characters only really show any sign of this at the very end of the movie, and the theme is badly undercut by the other Jaeger pilots getting almost no screen-time and subsequently dying en masse in really lovely ways. Most egregious is that the pilots supposedly need to have a deep, trusting bond and yet the B-team gets a hand-waved replacement at the last second with no ill effects. I understand why the movie was written this way (genre convention), but it's incredibly lazy and kneecaps the message the movie is trying to send.
Dialog. After watching del Toro's efforts on Hellboy I thought that this would be witty and human, but the writing is crap and the acting is worse. There are only a couple of genuinely good exchanges or speeches in the entire movie and I think all of them involve Idris Elba.

Still, this is the best robot-punches-dinosaur movie I've ever seen and it's worth your money.

The Oldest Man fucked around with this message at 17:15 on Jul 17, 2013


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