I can't remember the last time I was at a movie and was taken aback by the sheer spectacle of the images moving in front of me. If I had to guess, I suppose it would be about twenty years ago when "Jurassic Park" opened, but while watching "Pacific Rim," I felt that way again.
Now, despite that opening where it seems like I'm about to delve in to why I loved this movie so much, let me clarify that while I was in awe at the special effects, I can't say I feel that same way about the movie as a whole.
The plot of "Pacific Rim" is interesting enough, although we as an audience have kind of seen it before. Giant monsters, known as Kaiju, are emerging through a portal in the Pacific Ocean to attack our cities. The first monster that made it through took six days and traveled about 36 miles before our fighter jets and weapons were finally able to bring it down. But as more and more monsters appeared, we became more and more efficient at killing them using giant robots called Jaegers, In fact, it started to not even become a concern anymore. That is, until the Kaiju started evolving and gaining better defense systems. The world is now at a crossroads between the Jaeger program and the construction of a giant wall that would hopefully keep the Kaiju out.
I haven't seen a lot of giant monster movies - not even the original "Godzilla," although I have seen the 1998 remake, so I can't really speak to what "Pacific Rim" takes away from those older movies. But I have seen "Independence Day," and I was surprised by just how much "Pacific Rim" copied from that movie, namely the film's denouement. To speak too much about that would be treading into spoiler territory so let's just say if you've seen "Independence Day" you'll catch what I'm talking about.
The special effects are indeed awe-inspiring and the film is packed with them from the opening scene to the final one. My only problem with them, though, is that the creatures are so huge we don't really get a great point of reference by which to judge the size of the Kaiju and Jaegers.
This is really just me being a nerd, but throughout the film, I couldn't help but think of how much money it would cost to not only build the robot protectors, but to reconstruct after the severe amount of damage the Kaiju inflicted upon cities. I think we're talking in the high billions, if not spilling over into the trillions column. But this is just me thinking in terms of reality. Let's move on.
The performances here aren't lackluster or anything, but they're not incredible. I'd say the best one has to come from Rinko Kikuchi, who previously earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in "Babel." But the most entertaining performance comes from Charlie Day. Again, his mad scientist character channels the same one from "Independence Day," but Day just has a lot more fun. His performance adds a much needed layer of levity to the film.
Ultimately, "Pacific Rim"?is nothing more than highly entertaining fluff, no more, no less. But the lack of depth in the story doesn't make it any less fun to watch.