Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Video review: "Pacific Rim"

“Pacific Rim” tied the knot on a substandard summer of movies – it had something old, something new, plenty of stuff borrowed and something totally badass.

Some have dismissed co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s film as a mere mash-up of old Japanese science fiction, mecha and kaiju. And there is some truth to that: he basically took the big monsters of Godzilla and the mammoth robots of 1960s TV and said, “Hey, what would happen if they fought each other?”

The premise is that the Earth is under siege by skyscraper-tall alien creatures that emerge periodically from a portal at the bottom of the ocean. At first they laid waste to large swaths of the planet, but eventually humanity banded together to create the jaegers – hulking metal automatons controlled by two humans whose minds are linked through something called “the Drift.”

Things haven’t been going so well for humanity lately, with the jaeger program nearly shut down while the monsters are bigger and badder than ever. A washed-up pilot (Charlie Hunnam) gets recruited by his old boss (an imposing Idris Elba) to make one last stand.

The action scenes are tremendous, and del Toro gives a terrific sense of the awe-inspiring scale of the jaegers and their foes. The characters aren’t particularly deep, but they’re designed to be stand-ins for the audience to experience the roller coaster of thrills.

“Pacific Rim” is an exceedingly entertaining movie, easily the best this summer had to offer.
Special features are quite excellent, and you don’t have to pay more for the priciest edition in order to get the good stuff.

The DVD version includes a feature-length commentary track by del Toro, deleted/extended scenes, blooper reel and several featurettes focusing on different aspects of production, including the technology/psychic bond of the Drift.

Upgrade to the Blu-ray combo pack, and you add “The Director’s Notebook,” consisting of personal video by del Toro detailing the journey from conceptualization to post-production.



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