PACIFIC RIM (2013)

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Director: Guillermo del Toro
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 131 min.

When Kaiju aliens began invading Earth through a portal in the Pacific Ocean, the humans created giant fighting robots (Jaeger), powered by two men who linked their minds with the machine.  The men who powered the Jaegers were at first revered as heroes.  But after a while, the Jaegers faded into the background as new defenses were developed.  When the attacks of the Kaiju increase, however, and new defenses fail, it will be up to the few remaining Jaegers and their pilots to prevent the apocalypse.  Raleigh Becket, who has not piloted a Jaeger since the battle that killed his co-pilot brother, is called out of retirement and paired with a talented rookie with a traumatic past to pilot the oldest of the Jaegers.  Although their fellow pilots are skeptical about their abilities, the has-been and the rookie may be the Earth’s best hope for survival.

This film is a blend of the Kaiju genre (giant monsters like Godzilla) and the Mecha genre (giant robots like the tripods in War of the Worlds) with a new twist–exploring how chronic alien invasion would transform a society.  Like all Guillermo del Toro films, the cinematography rises to the surface with great visuals and art direction.  The story has a decent blend of character development and action, and the poorly matched pair of expert scientists provide comic relief.  But all of the characters were archetypal stock characters who made predictable choices and evolved in predictable ways–completely appropriate for the genres del Toro is playing with, but not necessarily stimulating for viewers who thrive on rich and interesting character development.  Still, a very entertaining action movie with a cool twist on some classic sci-fi tropes.

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