Pacific Rim - Sean's Response
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Verdict: See It!     
Liz's Review
Pacific Rim is a fun, frothy movie with an emphasis on visual style that will, for some audiences, make it more embraceable than its predecessor: the Transformers franchise. However, the film feels like a hybrid of successful commercial films of the past 15 years and never fully steps out on its own. Perhaps if the script singled out and emphasized the unique emotional bonds between the main characters, outside of what is perfunctory, the film would shine. However, the action sequences succeed and Guillermo Del Toro also succeeds in creating a unique world that will captivate some. There will be some questions as you watch but for full enjoyment, turn off your brain and

FINAL VERDICT: STREAM IT!

Sean's Review
Guillermo del Toro, the director of such films as Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, ventures into ,i>Transformers territory with Pacific Rim, where mankind has created giant robots to battle inter-dimensional creatures bent on wreaking havoc across the globe. Transformers director Michael Bay and del Toro even engaged in a pseudo feud earlier this year on the various depictions of giant hunks of metal battling to save the world, but the truth is that while Pacific Rim may have a bit more finesse and humor than the Transformers films, it still lacks a central ingredient to make all the action worth it - an interesting script. The premise is just a lot of hooey, with the dimensional rift apparently being caused by global warming or at least some sort of environmental planetary shift. And then there's the idea that we can't just build robots to beat the monsters, we need to have pilots that can "drift", or bond mentally in the cockpit so that they are better fighters. Why exactly is never explained, though most pilots need to have some compatibility, typically a familial bond, and in the end this doesn't seem to matter for Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who apparently is just cool enough to drift with anyone. The script squanders what seems like promising satirical elements - the failure of a wall to keep out the creatures, the human race creating merchandizing around the creatures with some even revering them in a heroic fashion - and instead puts its entire muster into the long robot-creature fight sequences that dot the movie. The characters are fairly bland and routine, and while some actors have good presence, like Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket, they can't dwarf the spectacle; and Oscar-nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as Mako Mori doesn't rise to the heroic status that the movie wants us to believe she can accomplish, coming across as too light and waifish. Guillermo del Toro is an accomplished and capable director, and he has devised some awesome special effects to bring his story to life, but it may just be impossible to make a giant robot movie into anything other than a movie with giant robots. The robots and creatures dwarf the characters and the emotions in more ways than one, leaving the viewer with only eye candy. Pacific Rim is a disappointment for del Toro, but he's a director that always has something interesting up his sleeve.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP IT!

Rachel's Review
Pacific Rim is the new monsters vs. robots summer blockbuster directed by Guillermo del Toro (screenplay by del Toro and Travis Beacham). Where to start? This is a film with lots of action sequences, special effects, and things getting blown up. Is this not what men are looking for? Aliens invade from a portal in the ocean and mankind builds giant robots to fend them off. The robots are controlled by a connection directly to the brain. One human brain is not enough to bear the mental load, so the robots are controlled in teams of two or three people who have a strong propensity toward thinking and reacting in the same way--mostly siblings or couples.
The action sequences are intense and creative. If faced with large monsters, I'd create aircraft with deadly weapons to shoot them and blow them up--I wouldn't resort to land-bound robots to wrestle them. Chucking common sense out the door though, the sequences are compelling and suspenseful.
There is some character development at play. Rinko Kikuchi's character Mako Mori is fierce yet vulnerable and has a highly effective flashback sequence. Our male protagonist, played by Charlie Hunnam, is so "cool" and closed off that he's difficult to relate to or empathize with - this is mostly a writing and not an acting issue. Art department does an amazing job and the monsters and robots do truly come to life. Well-shot fight sequences deliver the creativity and visual "awesomeness" we have come to expect from Guillermo del Toro. This film lacks extensive character development, but it is more whimsical and more awe-inspiring than many comparable films in the genre.

FINAL VERDICT: SEE IT!

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