Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Pacific Rim - The scoop and digest

Like a James Cameron, John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg or any other great director, Guillermo del Toro rarely pollutes the film industry with a rocket that fails to launch.

However, expectation brings its own pressures and if the promise of a blockbuster folds meekly like a serviette, the disappointment may be greater than a Catherine Wheel refusing to spin.

Will a catastrophic calamity be brought or the deafening sound of mechanical magnificence?

Plot details and/or spoilers will rise from the depths of the drink.

Components of apocalyptic anarchy include:

Charlie Hunnam – Raleigh Becket
Idris Elba – Marshall Pentecost
Rinko Kikuchi – Mako Mori
Charlie Day – Newton
Burn Gorman – Gottlieb
Ron Perlman – Hannibal Chau
Robert Kazinsky - Chuck

Arising from some kind of portal on the Pacific floor, the Kaiju are aliens of unusual size who cannot help but leave a trail of destruction in their wake and the extinction of humanity seems inevitable.

However, to counter the relentless and monstrous hurricane that refuses to blow itself out, megabots called Jaegers prove to be the fly in their ointment.

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

Batteries are not included so these super mechs require dual pilots to take the fight to ugly inconvenience.

The concept of ‘drift’ compatibility is essential and is described as a neural bond between both participants.

As a connection is made, emotions and memories must be embraced which; good or bad, pleasant or nasty, lumping it is the only option.  It not only involves being physically linked, but also dictates fighting performance.

The war is already in full swing and we see the party pooped for the Kaiju as the corpses of some demonstrate.

To quickly explain, the size and might of Kaijus are measured by Category.

We are introduced almost immediately to the Becket brothers consisting of Raleigh and Yancy.  At daft o’clock in the morning, they are alerted to a Kaiju attack at sea and so begins the action as we enter the Jaeger and attack the first intergalactic menace.

The battle is won but Yancy will play no further part…

On a beach some miles away from the mayhem, the badly damaged Jaeger struggles to shore and collapses.  Raleigh emerges, battered and bruised and will live to fight another day.

Five years later...

As the Jaegers have grown predictable, those pesky aliens have got wise and these war machines have been retired by global leaders.  Instead, they resort to building Coastal Walls as apparently as a more effective line of defence.

Predictably, freezing chocolate in a lit oven proves more fruitful as this ‘impenetrable’ structure is broken down in Sydney.  Marshall Pentecost responds by re-deploying the remaining Jaegers to Hong Kong and plans to nuke the Kaijus entrance, later revealed as the Breach.

The surviving Becket brother is found by Marsh and asked to pilot Gipsy Danger.

He accompanies Marsh to Hong Kong who informs Raleigh that the army has become the resistance and shows him around the Jaeger factory, showcasing all manner of mean machines.

For those shits and chuckles, here’s the robot resistance in full, hailing from...

Striker EurekaAustralia
Kaiju Crush – New Zealand
Coyote Tango – Japan
Chuck – USA
Cherno Alpha – Russia
Yukon Echo – Canada
Gipsy Danger – USA
Crimson Typhoon - China

So if this was the Grand National, who’s your favourite horse?

Personally, I’d back Crimson Typhoon to storm home and squeak a few quid each way on Kaiju Crush.

Scurrying back to it, Pentecost’s research team consists of Kaiju geek Newton and science eccentric Gottlieb.  Raleigh also meets Mako who leads the Jaeger restoration project.

He feels the connection and wants her as his new co-pilot.

Candidate training takes place via stick fighting and the chemistry oozes between he and Mori.  Shortly after, the dream team is born.

It’s dreadful and pompous but another film that immediately springs to my mind also featuring a stick fight is Rambo III.

During a Gipsy Danger trial run, Mori’s memories cause her to go ape shit as we learn that a Kaiju attack orphaned her.

Here or thereabouts, Newton uses a piece of kit that allows a neural handshake to be established between him and part of a Kaiju brain.

He concludes what they’ve fought before are clones.

Things take a turn for the worse as alien attacks take out multiple Jaegers and in the same breath; a bot is disabled by an electrical nuke.

You see, all Jaegers are digital apart from the apparently obsolete Gipsy as that old war horse is analogue, a walking nuclear reactor and the ace up their ass.

Raleigh and Mako are sent to mount a last ditch attack on the source of entry…

After a chat with Pentecost, Newt tracks down Kaiju black market dude Hannibal Chau to acquire more alien grey matter and try the same smeg twice.

As Gipsy kills more Kaijus, this brings a harvesting opportunity and when Newt hears the suspicious sound of a heartbeat from a corpse, its offspring is born.

The umbilical cord is still wrapped around its throat and although dying shortly after, it manages to gulp down Chau.

The not so dynamic duo of Newt and Gottlieb perform another handshake and inform that to penetrate the portal, you have to fool the Kaiju with one of their own.

We head for the explosive climax and together with Gipsy; Pentecost sacrifices himself and detonates Striker to clear a path.

Unlike D-Fens, he’s not going home…

Here we observe a Category 5 Kaiju, the first of its kind.

Guess what?  After a biff, a boff and a slice, the danger is overcome and clutching the body, they’re going in.

Oxygen is not at a premium and realising this, he ejects Mako to relative safety.  The Jagerbomb is set to go bang in 60 seconds so it’s time to skidaddle, as we observe helpless Kaiju infants looking on.

The very brief build up and the explosion itself smacks of Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 when Birkin goes like an absolute bomb on the train during the ‘true’ ending in Leon B and/or Claire B.

Of course it’s a different setting but the principle remains.

Mako emerges from her escape pod and awaits Raleigh who obviously appears shortly after.

Love lingers in the air as rescue choppers conveniently arrive…

If you stayed, you’ll know that Chau was not properly digested and proceeds to search for his missing shoe.

This promised much and man, it delivers with oodles, kaboodles and bucketloads.

Luther is an authoritative figure and even Robert ‘Sean Slater’ Kazinsky is watchable.  How he scored a role in a film such as this begs belief.

Kikuchi is a spunky little soul and warrants a suitable sidekick for British thespian Hunnam and importantly, slushy romance is sensibly resisted.

Hellboy is fairly expendable but I suppose his char is necessary and the scientist types are a refreshing change as they’re actually quite fun.

Sod all that though, it’s all about the visuals and it excels with remarkable gusto.

I’d say Transformers without the transforming, fused with Godzilla swinging golden balls.

This action extravaganza will simply blow your mind and your jaw will spend a considerable amount of time trailing on the floor.

Jaegers are wonderful creations brimming with personality with wonderful weaponry at their disposal.

The Kaijus roar incredible chaos with an impressive array of colossi ranging from shark head, crab, lizards and those who swim are engaged in a variety of brilliant brawls with no two really panning out the same.

Although essentially a smash and grab affair, it’s absolutely impossible not to be stunned of how stupendous celluloid looks.

In case you didn't know or thought I’d forgotten…

Ellen McLain is obviously great providing the voice for GLaDOS, er Gipsy Danger AI and you just know she’d love to emit dark sarcasm while chatting about cake, Aperture Science and testing.

Valve, get your asses in gear as the world demands a third outing…

It’s interesting that The Breach is described as a ‘portal’ and while probably pure coincidence, her voice was no accident.

Hyper critical gripes include that other bots needed more input and Chuck screaming “Yeah, Gipsy! Kick his ass!” tarnishes an otherwise decent script.

Attend your local cinema, munch on chosen snack(s), slurp whatever liquid and enjoy just over 2 hours of sheer and unadulterated entertainment that results in near popcorn perfection.

Do it not and regret will forever flow faster than a mountain stream.

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