Thursday, August 08, 2013

"Pacific Rim": the real aliens are sea monsters

Pacific Rim” struck me as a blow-up of the Japanese horror films of the 50s, especially “The Giant Behemoth”.  It seemed odd to me that Guillermo del Toro would spend his talents on something on a premise that is less promising than even a story for a typical comics-based movie.  The title reminds me of Arthur Honneger’s tone poem “Pacific 231”.

The big idea is that enormous sea monsters (a kind of takeoff of “Alien” and “Predator”) hatch in undersea vents and storm through coastal cities.  Humans have terraformed the Earth to the point that aliens (perhaps Earth’s first colonists a billion years ago) are expected to return and colonize the Earth with more of these creatures.  So the world’s militaries have invented these huge fighting robots, into which human soldiers enter, to be sealed off.  They fight in pods of two, and somehow the robots join their thoughts – as brothers (Charlie Hunnam and Diego Klattenhoff) or lovers (with Rinko Kikuchi). 

The geeks in the film have dissected one of the creatures and isolated its two-part brain, which looks a bit like the floating guild creature from “Dune” (1984).  There is Dr. Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman, no place here for Anthony Hopkins), and the sidekick Dr. Newton Geizler, played by Charlie Day.  Now this actor, otherwise a conventionally attractive young male, appears with both forearms heavily tattooed – out of character, and meaning he can have no “hair”.  Maybe the actor wore a tattoo sleeve as a makeup prop (these do exist in Hollywood); it’s hard to tell.

The overlong, bloated film goes into some other clichés, such as monster pregnancy, and the destructive behavior of the carnivorous larva, which can eat someone up.  

The official site from Warner Brothers and Legendary is here

The film showed distant shots of Sydney, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 

I saw this in Imax 3-D at the AMC Tysons, before a moderate Wednesday night crowd.  IMDB lists the aspect ratio as standard, but the presentation looked wider.  The music score by Raman Djawadi reminds one of the music of Hans Zimmer.  

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