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‘Pacific Rim’ Film Review: Monstrously nostalgic metallic mayhem

“Pacific Rim” is epic action art for those who love robots and monsters.

This monsterfest is a hybrid of just about every major cinematic genre. It showcases the grandest traditions in war, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, alien, monster, and robot movies. Full of mechanized mayhem, it taps into that primal fondness of seeing two big things tearing each other apart. It may be a generic, familiar, and cliché-ridden piece with cardboard characters, but it still wins its target audience over through the visceral thrills and the giddy delights of seeing a massive battle between toy-like giants.

On a personal note, the 3D screening brought me back to that same exhaustive feeling when I first watched Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” as a teen, which was mixed up with that nostalgic fun of my childhood days — the times when I followed the likes of “Bioman,” “Shaider,” “Ultraman,” “Power Rangers,” “Evangelion,” “Gamera,” “Godzilla,” and “King Kong.” Only this time, everything goes on steroid via the production’s analog and digital sources.

As a monsters vs. robots extravaganza, it gets that certain type of jolt to viewers. Channeling his inner little boy from his old-school playroom, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro makes this heavy-machine spectacle a sleek homage to the great monster movies of yesteryear. He clearly knows what sort of film he wishes it to be. He holds nothing back to make an all-out sensory assault for the willing audience. His firm grasp on what makes genre storytelling work helps carry even the most predictable moments of the story. He succeeds in repurposing the aesthetics of modern filmmaking with the warm nostalgia of Japanese monster-and-robots fare, as well as grindhouse cinema. From its cheesy veneer to its gargantuan armorfest, everything dazzles with epic scope and heroics through his apparent love for the material. Although his signature plot and character quirks are not very much apparent in this cinematic venture, he maintains that love, sheer creativity, and force of will in making something ridiculously entertaining for the big screen.

With its ability to neuro-link fun monster-walloping moments within the narrative, this hyperactive piece’s sound and visuals aptly promote a rim of violence that truly brings a sense of delight — tickling every robot- and monster-loving fiber in fanboys and fangirls. It offers such a giant monster-infested ecstasy that sends chills up the spine for the mere sight of human-piloted mechs and alien godzillas battling and wrestling each other with bombs, swords, and even acids and some awesome hand-to-hand combat moments. There are enough metallic goods to enjoy in this kick-ass undertaking, which infuses a little heart to carry its amount of robotic silliness.

On a critical point of view, “Pacific Rim” is the type that turns out too simple-minded to take too seriously. This blockbuster flick revels in rocket-punching and monster-bashing within its inane plot. It doesn’t do much but showcase a mixture of popular action genres and characters with a deliberately corny tone as a side dish. Maybe it lacks a little more soul than a full-fledged art-house or a more dramatic offering, but this hardly matters. The full-throttle fun fueling the film more than makes up for its considerable flaws. But who cares about silly logic and dialogue when Kaiju and Jaegers start a great demolition derby every 10 minutes? With all its big, loud, dumb, and disorienting elements, you feel all giddy and this makes you feel like a kid again.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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