HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Pacific Rim
HTS Overall Score:97
FINALLY! Is all I can say. I’ve be been impatiently waiting for “Pacific Rim” to hit the shelves ever since I saw it in theaters. There are movies that are meant to be analyzed and taken seriously, and then there’s those movies that are all about the geeky fun and spectacle, ala “Transformers”. “Pacific Rim” is definitely one of the latter. “Pacific Rim” is Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to the old “Gojira” flicks along with a good heavy mixture of “Voltron” and the like. It’s a movie made for nerds everywhere and my reaction when seeing the film was something like THIS.
In 2013 giant monsters rise from the deep, monsters that are unparalleled in their destructive powers and start to demolish humanity. These monsters, given the moniker “Kaiju”, rise from a rift in space and time, opened at the bottom of the ocean. One by one they come from the abyss and raze the cities of man. Realizing that their normal tactics aren’t going to work, humanity bands together and creates monsters of their own, giant mechs that are piloted by gifted humans. With these mechs, or Jaegers, humanity starts winning the war. The problem is the Kaiju keep coming and the Jaegers are starting to lose ground through attrition. One of the best, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) drops out of the program when his brother is killed in his final battle with a Kaiju. While the Jaegers are impressive, it takes TWO pilots to control the thing, both neurally linked to each other in order to control the machines. Raleigh slips away from the war and goes to work as a construction worker, building defensive walls for the remaining human cites.
Fast forward several years, the Jaegers are but extinct, as the world leaders switch to other tactics to protect humanity (tactics that aren’t working by the way) and Commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is barely gaining funding for his small Jaeger force. Realizing that humanity must take a stand against the Kaiju and bring the offense back to their side of the rift, he formulates a plan where his Jaeger pilots must attack the rift and bring a bomb through the rift and collapse it from the other side. His problem is that he’s running out of pilots. Finding the elusive Raleigh, Stacker persuades the young man to come back to work as a pilot. Upon arriving Raleigh is tasked with picking a new co-pilot with the help of Stacker’s young ward, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi). As fate would have it, Raleigh finds that Mako is the most compatible pilot, much to the chagrin and anger of commander Pentecost. While he forbids the union, with the increase of Kaiju attacks, Stacker must finally realize that he can’t keep his most talented people outside of the pilots nest. With Mako and Raleigh combined they create a fighting force that’s unparalled albeit a little bit unstable at times due to Mako’s past.
Guillermo Del Toro brings the monsters to life with such ease and finesse that you have to realize just how adept at fantasy the man really is. The Kaiju are terrifying to behold and carry his signature color tones and feel to their creation. Many of you who grew up with the Gojira and Voltron movies may recognize the many homages that Del Toro gives to his beloved monsters. The bat, the crab, the gorilla monster, they’re all there. To make it even more gleefully nerdy, the Jaegers themselves carry all the ridiculous cliché’s and trademark signs of Anime Mecha shows and even the Sentai genre. Every time that you think that Del Toro can’t pack any more awesomeness into the film your jaw hits the floor as a new weapon or fighting technique is revealed. From Elbow rockets, to chest missiles and yes, even the obligatory mecha sword is given to our over the top heroes.
Sometimes the characters can suffer as a result of the cheese, but it’s a nice balance between cheesy, wildly action packed, and just the right enough of serious drama to keep the film grounded so that people of all ages and tastes can enjoy the film without rolling their eyes at the amount of velveeta being spread around (ala Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Del Toro crams an INCREDIBLE amount of plot into a 131 minute film, but the movie never feels rushed, or cramped, but instead flows with an incredible pace that grabs you and refuses to let go until the very end. “Pacific Rim” is one of those giant visual and auditory spectacles that is just meant to be enjoyed, not criticized. I’m sure we could all find a plot hole here and there, or some unrealistic character drama, but with such a masterful director at the helm it’s hard to just not lean back with a silly grin on your face and watch giant robots pound the tar out of oversized monsters from another dimension.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12911[/img]I could very well just say “perfect picture, perfect sound” and just drop the mic and walk away, but I’ll gush just a little bit more. If you can’t guess, “Pacific Rim” has one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen, and I mean EVER. The picture literally pops off the screen with Del Toro’s trademark use of bright colors and neon glows all around. The film takes place mainly in dark rainy exteriors (I guess it rains all the time in the future), but the black levels are so pristine that you can’t find a fault with the dark exterior. Black are inky and deep as can be with some absolutely mind blowing shadow detail. Whether it’s taking place in the dead of night amongst the pouring rain, or inside the brightly lit battle bunkers, the detail just pops off the screen at every turn. Facial hair, razor burn, the occasional glob of hair Gel and even a loose strand of fabric are replicated so cleanly and clearly that you would swear you’re standing right beside the people in the film. Contrasts are spot on perfect and skin tones are pleasing to the eye. The encode was given a TON of room to work with so the high bitrates really shine here. I honestly can’t find a single thing to nitpick on in this review. Easily going to be my next go-to demo disc video wise for the next few years.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12912[/img]Now there’s actually TWO main audio tracks for English users on the disc. One is a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track and the second is a full 7.1 DTS-HD MA track. After A/B ing the two tracks there seems to be very little difference, what is good about this scenario is that people who don’t have a 7.1 speaker system don’t have to worry about the little idiosyncrasies that happen when you downmix a 7.1 track to 5.1. That gives 5.1 users the ability to choose a native 5.1 track and 7.1 and higher users to enjoy the enhanced audio track natively without having to apply processing in the receiver or pre-pro. Now this audio mix is very much like a Kaiju itself. It grabs ahold of you, sits on your chest and then proceeds to pummel you without mercy. This is just an incredibly mind blowing and aggressive track to the extreme. The LFE light on your amps is just going to stay on the entire movie, that’s just a simple fact. Grabbing you from the get go with the battle scenes the LFE is one of the strongest and most prevalent factors of any movie I’ve seen recently. On par with “Oblivions” and “Tron Legacy” for sheer raw power, it dwarfs the two mentioned movies with the sheer amount of presence in the film. I was watching my sub amps the whole movie and I swear I never saw them turn off from lack of LFE signal. Dialogue is crystal clear, and the dynamics are absolutely stunning. Ranging from soft sounding waves lapping up on the beach to the earth shacking roar of a Jaeger vs. Kaiju battle, the film also utilizes the surrounds so much that you actually feel like you’re in a vortex of sound, battle sounds screaming around you the whole time. Honestly I felt worn out after the movie just because the sound envelopes you and sucks you into a whole nother world, filled with monsters and mayhem. Bravo Warner, Bravo.
• Audio Commentary
• A Film by Guillermo del Toro
• A Primer on Kaijus & Jaegers
• Intricacy of Robot Design
• Honoring the Kaiju Tradition
• The Importance of Mass and Scale
• Shatterdome Ranger Roll Call
• Jaegers Echo Human Grace
• Inside the Drift
• Mega Sized Sets
• Baby Kaiju Set Visit
• Tokyo Alley Set Visit
• Orchestral Sounds from the Anteverse
• The Director's Notebook
• The Digital Artistry of "Pacific Rim"
• The Shatterdome
• Deleted Scenes
• Drift Space
• Blooper Reel
I had a rather disappointing summer for this year’s lineup of blockbusters. “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and “Iron Man 3” were a major let down, and even “Man of Steel” wasn’t able to give me that sense of summer “excitement” that I always look forward to. It wasn’t till I saw “Pacific Rim” (several times in a row to be precise) that I had that gleefully excited experience that I was missing so much this year. While it didn’t do as well theatrically as people had hoped for, this movie has created a cult following that is going to ensure the life of the movie for a long and healthy run on home video. Easily my favorite film of the year, the fact that the audio and video are simply stunning and the special features are so plentiful that I nearly went into apoplectic shock make this THE MUST BUY of the year. Don’t hesitate, don’t bother passing go, don’t collect $200, just go to the store and pick it up. /nerd rant.
Starring: Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Portuguese, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Blu-Ray Release Date: Oct 15th, 2013
Buy Pacific Rim 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Pacific Rim 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Pacific Rim 3D Collectors Edition Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
More about Mike