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Monthly Archives: July 2013

As adventures in mechanised mayhem go, the picture does, of course, crush the Transformers franchise into iron filings.
-Donald Clarke, Irish Times

Is this going to give me enough of a story and enough characters to carry the amount of rocket-punching and monster-bashing that I want to see? The answer is yes.
-Widgett Walls,

We always thought alien life would come from the stars, but it came from deep beneath the sea; a portal between dimensions in the Pacific Ocean.
Pacific Rim is Guillermo del Toro living out his wildest cinematic dreams: Giant robots battling giant aliens for the fate of mankind. The ultimate “fanboy” movie, Del Toro pulls no punches as blood is spilled, cities are destroyed, and millions are killed in the wake of a global-scale alien invasion through a portal in the Pacific Ocean.

“Something out there discovered us”

The year is 2013 when the first “Kaiju” attacks. (Literal Japanese translation of Kaiju: strange creature. Think Godzilla, Gamera or Mothra.) First just thought to be an earthquake in the middle of the ocean, a creature later emerged off the western United States coast, attacking and destroying the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, causing much destruction to city. Finally, it was killed by a nuclear bomb but the resulting carnage was devastating. This incident later became known as K-Day, the day the Earth went under attack.

The world prematurely took a collective sigh of relief, but the devastation had just begun. The next cities attacked were Manila and Kabo; the Kaiju started appearing in increasing frequency as traditional means of warfare had lesser and lesser affect. The top scientists on the planet began to brainstorm betters means of protection from the Kaiju. Inspired by robot and monster action figures, a prototype was created that would eventually become the Jaeger, Earth’s best hope for survival.

“There are things you can’t fight – acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger you can finally fight the hurricane. You can win.”

Essentially a massively scaled suit of armor, Jaegers are a mobile exoskeleton weapon and the Pacific Rim’s first, last and only line of defense against the Kaiju. They were designed as giant humanoid mechs that could stand up to the Kaiju without resorting to nuclear weapons.

In order to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.

“The Yaeger program was born. Two pilots, our minds, our memories connected. Man and machine become one.”

Jaegers are simultaneously controlled by multiple pilots from inside the cockpit, located in the “head”. The pilots are equipped with a special armor plating, allowing them to connect with the machine itself. The minds of the pilots are also connected to each other through a “neural bridge” that allows them to control the movement of the Jaeger as a team.

By 2024, there were forty six confirmed Kaiju attacks on Earth, resulting in astounding Jaeger losses. It was speculated that the Kaiju were beginning to adapt and learn how to defeat the Jaegers easier and quicker, in both land and water. The frequency of Kaiju had begun to increase so quickly that the world began to fear and prepare for multiple breaches at once, known as the Double Event and Triple Event.

This is where the events of the film begin.

Pacific Rim is a complete spectacle to watch. The astounding visuals and creature design are absolutely breath-taking. One major flaw of a lot of science fiction is boring or monotonous battle/fight scenes. This is fortunately a problem Pacific Rim does not have. The progression of Jaeger/Kaiju battles escalates to great effect throughout the first 2 acts of the film. As the stakes get higher and the body count climbs, the Kaiju become stronger and more intelligent. However, if Pacific Rim has one problem, it’s that the second act is so good the finale has nowhere to go but down. Because of this, the ending did leave me ever so slightly underwhelmed, but only due to the expectations set by the previous events of the film.

Today, at the edge of our hope, at the end of our time..

Most action films depict little about the setting and surrounding environments outside of the immediate story taking place. In Pacific Rim, the world building around the story is impeccable. The global effect of the chaos is shown as various countries around the planet try and fail to come up with solutions to stop the invasion. Kaiju religions spring up, organ harvesters sell body parts on the black market, the political and social ramifications of the tragic events are on full display here. It’s very refreshing for a film to broaden it’s scope outside of the main story arc.

..We have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other..

The characters of Pacific Rim are all fun and incredibly likable, although they hit every cliché in the book. Clichés are cliché for a reason: they’re entertaining and they work. Here we have the American badboy rebel who disobeys orders, the hard-nosed but noble British leader who motivates with an epic speech, a small-statured but deadly Asian woman with a tragic past, etc. All by the book action characters, but incredibly enjoyable and fun to root for.

..Today we face the monsters that are at our door..

This film is an absolute blast. It far surpasses the disappointing sequels and superhero films we’ve had this summer. Pushing the meaning of the word “Blockbuster” to a new level, Pacific Rim breaks new ground in the action/science fiction genre and hopefully is just the start of a very exciting new franchise helmed by Guillermo Del Toro.

..Today we are canceling the apocalypse!

FilmFire review:
4.5/5 forms


Almost more action movie than zombie movie, World War Z is less about the zombies than it is about the effect the outbreak has on the world. And it works.
-Tim Martain, The Mercury

A supremely well designed film, WWZ re-animates the zombie genre as Brad Pitt outsmarts the voracious undead in a compelling, creepy take on how the world might face its end.
-Simon Weaving, Screenwize

If you can fight, fight. Be prepared for anything. Our war has just begun.
World War Z was under a lot of pressure going into it’s opening weekend. A very troubled production had led many to wonder if this could be one of the biggest busts of the summer. Horribly over budget and faced with an entire rewrite (by none other than Damon Lindelof) and reshoot of the third act, World War Z was going to have to do gangbusters to be considered a success.

Fortunately, it did just that. Already eclipsing 160 million after it’s third weekend, it’s apparent that audiences weren’t concerned with any of the behind the scenes drama and just wanted to watch Brad Pitt vs the zombie apocalypse. So much so that sequel talks have already taken place, with Pitt set to produce and star in future installments.

Someone could probably use a breath mint
World War Z is an incredibly fun, expertly paced zombie movie. Essentially the zombie version of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, World War Z dives deep into mystery/thriller territory, bringing the search for “patient zero” to the forefront. This mystery element works really well as it allows the film to mostly forgo the usual tropes and jump-scares of a traditional zombie movie. With something more important at stake than scaring the audience, the film can strive for a lot more.

For the first two acts, the film essentially implements video game logic to progress through the story. The characters find clues in various locations that lead them to the next piece of the puzzle. The action climax of the movie takes place at an enormous set piece of Jerusalem, and is definitely one of the better action sequences we’ve had in any film this year so far. The third act (Lindelof’s contribution) slows the pace down substantially and sets a different tone for the end of the film. It is slightly jarring but is really fun to watch and does a good job wrapping up the character arcs and plot points the audience has become invested in.

Life as we know it will come to an end in 90 days. It’s on us to change that.
Brad Pitt plays a typical Tom-Cruisian role as a mild mannered every-man who is pulled into the middle of a global emergency. It sounds like a cliche action movie role but there’s a reason we keep seeing it over and over: it’s entertaining and works really well. It’s fun to watch Pitt run around, piecing clues together, saving the world, murdering his infected friends and neighbors, etc, etc.

His family, on the other hand, is almost entirely expendable and only exist to try to humanize Pitt a bit more and tug at the heartstrings a little. It doesn’t work. Most of what happens to the family in this movie is completely unrealistic and directly contradict the motiviations of quite a few different characters.

That’s a big pile of zombies
Smarter and a lot more fun than the most of the offerings so far this summer (the disappointing Man of Steel particularly), World War Z is an entertaining, well paced and mostly intelligent zombie film. There are some incredible action sequences and a solid performance by Brad Pitt the action star. As a unique and interesting take on zombie movies, World War Z is highly recommended.
Every human being we save is one less we have to fight.

FilmFire review:
4.25/5 forms