Valdosta Daily Times

July 12, 2013

‘Pacific Rim’ goes big on effects

Adann-Kennn Alexxandar
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — “Pacific Rim” (Science-Fiction/Action: 2 hours, 12 minutes)

Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and strong language)

Movie Review: From Guillermo del Toro, the director who gave audiences “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and “Hellboy” (2004), audiences are given “Pacific Rim.” It is an entertaining movie that has plenty of eye candy, even if low on substantive material. However, the visuals are more than enough to compensate for the lack of character development and establishing an adequate atmosphere for its setting.

Giant monsters called Kaiju arrive via a portal from another world. They attack Pacific Ocean coastal cities around the world. To fight these gigantic beasts, the planet unites to create Jaegers, metal giant robots controlled mentally by two pilots whose minds are linked via a neural symbiosis. Twelve years into this war with the Kaiju, the colossal beasts begin appearing regularly. Defeat appears inevitable for humans. The few remaining Jaeger pilots must try to stop the Kaiju. Enter former Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Hunnam) and rookie Mako Mori (Kikuchi). Both have pasts that hunt them, but they make a good team.

Other than superior visual effects and plenty of entertaining value, Guillermo del Toro has created nothing new here as a director and co-writer of this piece with Travis Beacham. This film is very similar to many others such as 1954’s “Godzilla” (Director Ishirô Honda) and “It Came from Beneath the Sea” (Director Robert Gordon ,1955). “Pacific Rim” is also very similar to television programs such as “Power Rangers” which debuted 20 years ago and “The Space Giants” (1967).

Of course, the special effects and computer imagery in “Pacific Rim” are much better. That alone increases the enjoyment factor. The action never stops, so the entertainment does not either.

“Pacific Rim” is a very sophisticated, science-fiction B-movie. It is comedic at parts and very dramatic at others. Simultaneously, it delivers strong action scenes courtesy of a good CGI team.  

As far as the acting, Ron Perlman is the standout. He plays an intriguing character, a ruthless and money-hungry mogul. Perlman has become a B-movie phenomenon in sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure films. He plays his part well here.

The rest of the cast does a good job with their characters, considering character development is deficient in this script. The players do not inspire emotional attachment to characters. You just want them to beat the fecal matter out of monsters.

The plot works well. This is because it is more about massive monsters and oversized robots than deep character interactions. As far as action entertainment, one could not expect more.    

Grade: B- (An enjoyable pacific adventure.)


“Grown Ups 2” (Comedy: 1 hour, 41 minutes)

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Salma Hayek.

Director: Dennis Dugan

Rated: PG-13 (Crude humor, brief nudity, violence, strong language and sexual innuendo)

Movie Review: This screenplay is Sandler’s first sequel. He acts as a co-producer and co-writer and should have left this on the shelf. Its originality has expired.

Sandler is back with costars James, Rock and Spade as four friends having immature adventures. For those wondering, the fifth friend, Rob Hilliard, is not in this film as Rob Schneider did not reprise the role from the 2010 prequel.

Lenny Feder (Sandler), Eric Lamonsoff (James), Kurt McKenzie (Rock) and Marcus Higgins (Spade) are family men and have been the best of friends for decades. They are proud fathers and husbands. They are older, but these men are heading in the opposite direction of wise. This outing, these goofballs manage to get into trouble with family, friends and an overly energetic and pompous fraternity of their local college.

Sequel to 2010’s “Grown Ups,” which was also directed by Dennis Dugan. As the title implies, grown ups are the primary focus of this film. However, this screenplay focuses on grown ups, their kids, friends, a large fraternity and goofy cops. Ultimately, the film has more players than it needs. It has little focus. It is a kid on crack, after multiple cups of coffee and several bags of cotton candy.

The entire cast in this film is odd. When a plausible character debuts that is not odd, that person appears out of place. This observation proves just how far from mainstream any of these characters are. Their actions are just bizarre.  

“Grown Ups 2” is mainly one crude joke after the next via eccentric characters. The characters’ antics are funny, if you lower your intelligence quotient to meet theirs. No thanks. That is too low.

Grade: D (Grown down redux.)