How can a movie with giant fighting mechs and Godzilla-like monsters be bad? Well, it isn’t but it isn’t good either. It misses the marks in a few places. Had Guillermo del Toro called me, I could have helped him out.
The conversation may have gone something like this.
Me: Hi, Mo
GDT: What? Who is this. And don’t call me ‘Mo’.
Me: Right. Sure. I remember the restraining order. But listen I just saw your latest movie, Pacific Rim. Great special effect, amazing special effects, actually, but I didn’t leave satisfied. I thought you could have done a few things better.
GDT: Who are you again?
Me: So, I like that you chose Jax from Sons of Anarchy, he’s a good looking tough guy, and the smoking hot Rinko Kikuchi who had that awesome blue streak in her hair.. inspired, but the best acting choice was Idris Elba as the Marshal or commander or whatever he was. He was great. The two goofy scientists, though, kinda hmmm, a little warmed over don’t you think?
GDT: What are you talking about?
Me: Ok, I’ll get to the point. First. Lemme ask you a question. If you have a huge giant robotie thingee and it has a sword, and a plasma cannon and some sort of rocket powered elbow punch, why in the name of George Lucas did they not use those abilities right away? I mean, seriously. If I have a sword, I’m a gonna use it. But that’s me. It’s not like I’m going to wait until I’m a billion feet above the ground and hack some flying monster to pieces, no, I’m a gonna use it right away. First I’d shoot the damn cannon, then whip out my sword and slice monstrous bits off, and if that wasn’t enough, my last resort thing would be beating it about its boney head with my big fists. Just saying.
GDT: How did you get this number?
Me: Second. I think you needed more heart in this movie. I loved the little girl scene, though it was a tiny bit over the top, but with the robots, you hit on something really magical and then left it for dead. I’m talking about the whole bonding experience. 2 people to drive the robots, Mo, 2 people in each giant metal robot whose minds are locked in a neural ‘handshake’. Make me love those people and this movie rocks.
So what if they were always bond by love, brotherly love, father-son love, true, magical romantic love? Yeah? How powerful would that be? We’d spend a few more moments with the Russians, with the Asian perfectionists, and then, with our hero and the uber lovely Mako.
But no, instead the people are largely ignored. The bond between them largely ignored. It’s a big miss, my friend, a big miss. We will go to see the fights, but what we’ll talk about will be those characters inside the robots. How could you forget that?
GDT: Ok, I’m going to call the cops.
Me: Right, right, so lastly, maybe I’m getting old but what’s with all the splashing me in the face with water and blinding me with bright lights and shooting the monster/robot fights so that sometimes I can’t tell what the hell is going on? I mean, I get it, you can do amazing effects with light and 3D water spraying me, but keep the fights clean.
Look at the scene you did with the little girl. Debris falls like snow, cars line the streets, broken and dusted in greyish-chalk, and filling the screen in the distance, a pretty big monster. In front of it, a little girl. Kinda scary actually. Old school special effects. Perfect AND affective.
GDT: I’m going to hang up.
Me: Sure, sure, just a sec. It’s a pretty entertaining movie and you did a pretty good job for about 2/3rds of the movie. But that other 1/3 makes or breaks a movie. Avoid the clichés. Avoid stupid characters with metal shoe tips that get eaten because, well, they were stupid. Avoid an ending that I’ve seen a million times before.
And, avoid worrying about making the effects so ground-breaking that you forget about story. It’s a lesson Lucas never learned, but great movies are less about stunning visuals and more about characters we come to love (or hate.)
Me: Hello? Hello? I didn’t get to mention the title sucks.
Ah well. I think I’d still recommend seeing this movie. It’s not the best to come out this summer. But it is a world of giant robots, epic battles, massive destruction, and an homage to the old Godzilla movies. Hey, I wouldn’t bring young kids, though, it could scare the heck out of them, but for the rest of us, but it’s worth ‘seeing. It’s worth the price of admission.