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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2013

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"Pacific Rim" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-october-2013-pacific-rim

Synopsis

In the year 2013, a massive monster called a Kaiju emerges from the sea and attacks San Francisco. After days of fighting with the military the creature is finally destroyed. Thought to be an isolated incident, more Kaiju begin to emerge from a fissue deep in the ocean. As these become harder and harder to deal with, humans embark on the Jaeger program.

A Jaeger is a giant robot monster, controlled by two pilots, which battle the Kaiju. Initially the Jaeger’s are very successful, but the Kaiju that continue to attack grow smarter and more resistant to the Jaeger. As the Kaiju get stronger and stronger, mankind has one last set of Jaeger’s that need to be able to stop the Kaiju invasion once and for all.

Specifications

  • Warner Brothers
  • 2013, Color
  • Rated PG-13
  • 2 Hours, 11 Minutes
  • 1.78:1, 1080p, AVC Encoded
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 7.1
  • Starring: Irdis Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi
  • Directed By: Guillermo del Toro
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Pacific Rim plays more like a super cut of every action movie cliché out there than an original film. The central concept, monsters invading the earth through a portal and fighting giant robots, is new but everything around it feels like it has been done before. A speech to rally the troops sounds like something straight out of Independence Day. Every plot device that is used could have been lifted from countless other movies that has come before.

Of course there are big gaps in logic as well. Why do the pilots need to move their feet for the robot to move when their brain directly interfaces it? Why would they stop the Jaeger program when it seems to be the only possible solution? Are those one-line drops about environmentalism and class warfare part of a longer plotline that got cut, or just weird comments?

Going in I expected a bit of mindless entertainment, but with a bit more originality in it. If you’re fine with watching the exact same movies you’ve seen before, with only the monsters vs. robots angle to differentiate it, then Pacific Rim will keep you entertained. I was hoping for something a little more original and came away disappointed.

Technical

Whatever display you watch Pacific Rim on had better handle black levels well, as almost the entire film seems to take place at night or underwater. A battle scene in Hong Kong looks fantastic with the bright neon lights against a black nighttime sky. Shadow details are fantastic and the transfer is really razor sharp. I wish more of the action took place during the daytime, but the visuals are excellent.

The audio is even stronger than the images. The first Jaeger vs. Kaiju attack startled me with the amount of bass that it brought into play. The surrounds are used extensively and sound fantastic. The sounds of metal crunching or a Jaeger punching a Kaiju resonate well. When the humans take refuge in an underground shelter, and subtle sound effects that produce a feeling of fear and anticipation really resonate. I’m not sure that I’ll ever watch all of Pacific Rim again, but I’ll certainly pull it out to use as a demo disc in the future.

Extras

Included in the 2D package is audio commentary, Focus Point featurettes that highlight selected scenes, multiple featurettes, deleted scenes, bloopers, as well as DVD and Ultraviolet copies of the film.