Godzilla Would Be A Wimp

 Pacific Rim
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman and Max Martini
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Scriptwriters: Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham
Warner Brothers
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 131 minutes

“Pacific Rim” doesn't refer to the ring of underwater volcano’s in the Pacific Ocean, but it does refer to a portal (think Black Hole) between two dimensions that allows enormous monsters (Godzilla would be a wimp here) to come through and trash Earth. Such is the storyline developed by director Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”) and Travis Beacham. With special visual effects and sound effects that are deafening, the audience is treated to 2/3 of a film that satisfies. Eat pop corn during the first 1/3 that sets up the premise.
The story revolves around huge creatures called “kaiju” (Japanese for monsters) that somehow manage to come through a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, go on land and wreck havoc. At first, the countries can defeat these creatures, one at a time, but eventually, there are many of them coming through and they seem to be learning how to maneuver around Earth’s armament. Thus come the “Jaegers” (German for hunter) that are robots as large as the monsters, but with one or two pilots inside, linked brain-to-brain (one has right side, one has left side) to control the robot. The pilots inside work the legs and feet of the robot like a Nordic Track Machine. Their brains mesh as one and they experience each other’s memories. Neat. We enter the story when Earth figures out that the monsters just might win, so scrap the robot program.
Plan One has two mad scientists (amusingly played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) who think they can link their brains into the brain of one of the almost-dead monsters to gather information. They get a brain from a “collector” (an unrecognizable Ron Perlman from “Sons of Anarchy”) who wears gold shoes and is an expect at dissection. Plan Two has Charlie Hunnam (also from “Sons of Anarchy”) as a top pilot, who comes back into action after losing his brother. He teams up with a new top pilot, well-played by Rinko Kikuchi, a rookie. Her protector in the project is Idris Elba, with Max Martini (“The Unit”) as a fellow officer. Plan Two involves using updated robots with new techniques. Which way is best?
If you can make it through the first one-third of the movie, that sets up the premises, and they look preposterous at first, all the parts start to fall into place. There are so many fight scenes you lose count. Most of the Western coastline of the U. S. is battered by robot/monster fights, and it constantly rains there. Max Martini has the cutest bulldog, but no, he isn't a pilot. There are some sentimental moments, with Hunnam's past and Rinko’s past, and then it is on to fighting.
In the area of my-hearing-will-return-in-a-week, “Pacific Rim’ is OK in the science fiction field with a unique idea and the special effects to bring it to the screen. The actors do well enough with their material, but it is the robots and monsters everyone wants to see  and that they do. Humor is provided by the bickering scientists and Ron Perlman’s droll take on commercialism. Actually, “Pacific Rim” reminded me of  “Top Gun,” in that there is a select group of pilots, an enemy, a home base, certain people that work together and other people who don't, Command that doesn't always understand the situation, and machinery and artillery to get the job done. Watch the Western horizon.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
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