I’ve watched Pacific Rim a acouple of months ago, and while it aired another movie which I hadn’t watched was airing – Kick-Ass 2. The reason this is relevant to my story is that my write-up of Kick-Ass 1 is very relevant to this post. Kick-Ass had been a B-movie that had been proud of it being one, with constant winks by the writing and acting cast to the audience. I think Pacific Rim would’ve benefitted from feeling the same way.
I feel this movie doesn’t really know what it wants to be, it has top class production values, lavishly (computer-)generated fights, it has a serious tone to it – the shots are dramatic, the lighting is dramatic and somber, with top class filmography, and most of the cast portrays its role in a serious manner, as if they believe their lines, and that the world they’re acting in is real – some of them are in no way or form good actors, but it’s the thought that counts – serious movie.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be a few spoilers in this post.)
That all sounds like good stuff, right? Well, except that if I graded the film based on that I’d have to rate it 4/10, and maybe bump it up to 5.5 for its action scenes (which I’d have liked more if they weren’t almost all done at night, with flashing flare-lights to disorient us even more. The washed out colours made me yawn and didn’t add to the excitement. I’d have liked a more red-centric colour pallet myself). I mean, the film doesn’t feel like it has a plot, it feels like it’s a string of cliches, every cliche from action films, with some thinly-veiled non-plot in there just to lead us from one scene to another, where we’ll experience more cliches. We have the brothers who clasp hands, we have the hotshot and his cool-headed father, the heavily-armoured Russian armour, the military commander who won’t listen to subordinates, the “best fit” whom shouldn’t be allowed to fight and is then allowed to…
Here’s the best example of where the plot isn’t actually allowed to breathe under the weight of the cliches – we have the commander reveal to us that due to radiation, were he to pilot one of the robots again, he’ll die. This revelation is obviously one where he’ll be forced to pilot a robot and sacrifice himself, right? Well, a good place to put it would’ve been in the first half of the film, and not literally five minutes before he has to do so. It’s cliched either way, but it seems the plot is only a string of cliches, and isn’t actually considered an organic thing.
There are a couple of actors and sections which scream “Cheesy!” which makes me think some people thought it’d be best to treat it as a self-deprecating B-movie, specifically the scientists and Ron Perlman. I think the movie would’ve benefited from being such a movie. As it was, it was a popcorn film where the lines weren’t even “popcorn”, but just terrible. I give this movie 6/10 popcorn filled fights, and barely, for the couple of funny moments – a good movie to completely shut your brain with, and I do mean completely.