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Pacific Rim - Blu-ray Review

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Pacific Rim - Movie Review

4 stars

With Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro has turned in an almost perfect summer blockbuster.  It's been hyped to death and it might not live up to the hype - but it is a whole lot of fun.  And in a summer that has not been full of it at the box office, that surely counts for something.  There’s something unique at work in Pacific Rim – due to the creativity and Roger Corman-like attitude behind it – because the film is conscious of its heritage but operates as if it's offering audiences something brand new.  It sort of is, too.  All of its familiar parts come together to form something you’ve likely never seen before.  Read that sentence again because it matters.  Homage this is not.  Pacific Rim is juggernaut rock-’em-sock-’em entertainment that single-handedly rescues the summer of humdrum entertainment from itself.

Written by Travis Beacham and not based on a comic, a cartoon, a book, or a TV show, Pacific Rim is a single-minded film where the heroes are heroic and the villains are villainous and nothing more.  Uncomplicated and straight to the point, Pacific Rim is a throwback to the films we once embraced as 9-year-old boys and girls.  Beginning a decade into Earth’s war with the Kaiju – a race of large-sized monsters sent from another dimension through a crack in the bottom of the ocean – Pacific Rim flattens the summer heat with a man verses monster yarn by way of the mightiest of machines.

Think Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on trip-hopping acid and you’re on the correct path.  The gamble that was the formation of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps has failed to stop the ever-increasing threat of each attack from the Kaiju and the Jaeger program - which created 250-foot mechas to fight the monsters – has all but disintegrated.  Pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and PPDC commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), however, still believe.  They – along with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) – continue to bring the fight to the terror, though.  Using a mental connection called “the drift”, our heroes learn the truth about what it takes to pilot the mecha, the secret to the kaiju invasion, and what haunts each other.  Still, the onslaught of Godzilla-like neon-goo spitting monsters must be stopped.

Pacific Rim is a special effects nirvana of sorts.  See it on the biggest screen possible.  Do it in 3D.  You won't be disappointed.  From beginning to end, its beautiful gloss never stops sparkling.  From the 3D to the mecha battles, this is a flawless-looking production that never fails to entertain in an uncomplicated, start-to-finish way.  Industrial Light & Magic has gone out of their way to make the battles giant-sized and absolutely crazy; from machine swords to high-flying karate kicks, there’s literally nothing the Jaeger program and its pilots can’t do to the kaiju.  More than any other flick this summer, the inspired battles are sure to get audiences cheering.

Pacific Rim isn’t perfect, in fact there are times it feels downright hokey but that’s by design.  By design, folks, and that’s where it matters.  It’s the Corman charm of it all.  You get exactly what you expect: giant robots battling giant monsters.  There’s room to laugh at the characters and room to dig in with the good guys as they face the gruesome creatures Hell has spit out.  The grandiose design of it all must be served and Pacific Rim embraces it all with a fun attitude.

So what if the cast never really gets a good character shakedown.  You don’t need it a movie where monsters the size of the Empire State Building attack time and time again.  The world that surrounds these characters – including that of black-market kaiju parts dealer Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman) – is so exciting and strange and twisted that the little parts of the film come together to make something that feels entirely fresh.  The tiniest of background sets become interesting and add to a momentum that brings to mind the films I love from my youth.  That’s right, watching Pacific Rim is not unlike your first experience with Ghostbusters and Back to the Future; hokey as hell and both incredibly fun.  Let’s throw Top Gun in there, too.  Pacific Rim is right there in spirit and style.

If you love (and live for) monster movies and miss the rocket-punch originality of the 1980’s (when Hollywood didn’t need a comic book to make a flick), Pacific Rim is the thrill-a-minute ride across the ocean for you.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Pacific Rim - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language.
Runtime: 131 mins.
Director
: Guillermo del Toro
Writer
: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Cast:
Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
Go big or go extinct
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm guessing I wasn't your first choice."
Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
www.pacificrimmovie.com
Release Date: July 12, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 15, 2013

Synopsis: When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes -- a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) -- who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind's last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Pacific Rim - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
4 stars
 
5 Stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 15, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set (2 BDs, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free

Warner Brothers’ new Blu-ray edition of Pacific Rim – a film that should have been a monster hit during the summer – is reference quality in both image and sound.  The high definition video looks sharp and crystal clear, with beautifully saturated color - specifically in the neon-drenched Hong Kong scenes - with nice deep blacks in all of the nighttime scenes (and a lot of this takes place at night or in dark areas).  Warner Bros also gives you two audio options: a beautiful 7.1 DTS-HS Master Audio track, for those with a system that can handle it, and a comparable 5.1 DTS-HS Master Audio track. Both tracks keep the dialogue clearly front and center, never letting the sound effects or music overpower the dialogue.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by Guillermo del Toro, the commentary explains his influences and admiration for the films that led him to create Pacific Rim, and he speaks in-depth about the film, effects and sets.  He also talks about how much he loved the 3D conversion process.  This is a strong commentary for anyone interested in what del Toro has to offer.

Special Features:

We finally get our money’s worth with this release from Warner Bros.  In addition to the audio commentary on the Blu-ray movie disk, there is also over an hour of Focal Points which are short featurettes covering various aspects of the making of the movie.  These shorts take you behind the scenes from pre-production to post-production, and some of the most amazing footage shows raw production elements that reveal most of the huge sets, while having some physical elements to them, were all shot against green screen.  Seeing the green screen and then the “sets” being added is really getting a peek at movie magic.  The third disk (Blu-ray) consists of more behind the scenes footage and interactive elements.  While mostly interactive with clickable pages, there is a nice look at the behind the scenes of the movie and a blooper reel.

  • Focus Points (62 min)
  • The Director's Notebook (HD Interactive)
  • The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim (17 min)
  • The Shatterdome (HD Interactive)
  • Four Deleted Scenes (4 min)
  • Drift Space (5 min)
  • Blooper Reel (4 min)

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