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Pacific Rim


Peter T Chattaway
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A new trailer recently aired at WonderCon, and if Twitter is any indication, it's pretty great.

WonderCon footage is finally online! They aren't kidding on the scale of this thing. Wow!

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Love the scene with the robot dragging the ship through the city street.

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Yowie zowie.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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I don't have my hopes too high... But, I am confident this will be everything Bay's Transformers series hasn't been. And I love the "money shot" given to Ron Perlman here.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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The more I see, the more excited I get.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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Who's playing J.J. Abrams?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Who's playing J.J. Abrams?

I believe that's Charlie Day playing against type.

Charlie Day's finest:

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...

Harry Knowles has posted a 5000-word review.

You’re about to get into a nearly 5000 word one sided discussion about PACIFIC RIM. I’m giving you the short, right up top. JUST GO. You don’t need to read this. You must pay witness to this movie. If you’re on a site like this it is because you probably love the great visual effects movies of all time. This is one of those. In addition, it has a multitude of characters that you and your family and friends will have favorites among. A whole generation will dream of giant robots as well as X-Wings and Enterprises. It’s got characters out of a Howard Hawks war adventure movie. Engineers, scientists, strong leaders and a group of Jaeger pilots that I fell madly in love with. There’s characters peppered into the film that you want whole movies dedicated to. Mechs and Kaiju… doing things – just amazing man. ILM OMG. Prepare to be Awed. This is Guillermo Del Toro knocking at the doors of legend and he struts his way in with a movie that turned me into a little kid in the best way possible. I can’t wait to go to sleep and dream now. Now… Get ready for me to lose my geek mind. The deeper you go, the more heavy the spoilers. But friends – Just GO – come back and celebrate with me. This is the best.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Harry Knowles has posted a 5000-word review.

You’re about to get into a nearly 5000 word one sided discussion about PACIFIC RIM. I’m giving you the short, right up top. JUST GO. You don’t need to read this. You must pay witness to this movie. If you’re on a site like this it is because you probably love the great visual effects movies of all time. This is one of those. In addition, it has a multitude of characters that you and your family and friends will have favorites among. A whole generation will dream of giant robots as well as X-Wings and Enterprises. It’s got characters out of a Howard Hawks war adventure movie. Engineers, scientists, strong leaders and a group of Jaeger pilots that I fell madly in love with. There’s characters peppered into the film that you want whole movies dedicated to. Mechs and Kaiju… doing things – just amazing man. ILM OMG. Prepare to be Awed. This is Guillermo Del Toro knocking at the doors of legend and he struts his way in with a movie that turned me into a little kid in the best way possible. I can’t wait to go to sleep and dream now. Now… Get ready for me to lose my geek mind. The deeper you go, the more heavy the spoilers. But friends – Just GO – come back and celebrate with me. This is the best.

I think that paragraph might be the only comprehensible one in the entire piece. I couldn't tell what he was talking about for the majority of those 5000 words.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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So far...the people who have seen it have been pretty stoked. I have only seen negative commentary from folks who have not seen it but are assuming it is bad.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Thom Wade wrote:

: I have only seen negative commentary from folks who have not seen it but are assuming it is bad.

Jeffrey Wells to the rescue!:

I’m not feeling the energy to write a full-on review of
Guillermo del Toro
‘s
Pacific Rim
(Warner Bros., 7.12) because I felt…well, a form of admiration mixed with a growing fatigue and disconnect when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, and I just can’t get it up today, man. No more than I could write an
Architectural Digest
review of a huge 75-story office building in midtown Manhattan. I admire the obvious fact that this Jaeger vs. Kaiju (i.e., super robots vs. supersized amphibious monsters) flick was made with
heart and steel balls and technical mastery second to none
. A lifelong believer in monster realms, GDT presided over every last detail of this gargantuan enterprise, delegating nothing and working his ass off 18/7 and delivering, in the end, a visitation that feels relatively fresh, imaginative and (as far as it goes) non-derivative. And it’s very briskly edited.

But my devotion has always been to GDT’s direction of his smaller, mid-sized films —
Pan’s Labrynth, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Chronos
(and his hands-on producing of
The Orphanage
and
Mama
) — and
Pacific Rim
is about as un-small and un-midsized as it gets. And the totality of it, for me, began to constitute
a kind of oppression
.

I talked to a smart guy right after our Warner Bros. screening exposure, and we both agreed that
Pacific Rim
is a Class A endeavor for what it is
except for the 131-minute length
. Just as animated features need to be shorter, so does a film like this. 95, 100 minutes max. That very first shot of a roaring, howling Kaiju taking down the Golden Gate bridge in the fog (a clip featured in one of the first teasers) is breathtaking. I would even say legendary. But massive size in and of itself doesn’t hold intrigue. You get used to it. And once you’re accustomed to seeing 250-foot-tall monsters and robots thrashing and splashing and going nuts on each other, your mind…hell, your soul starts to look for relief. You look at your watch at the one-hour mark and say, “Oh, God…another 70-plus minutes to go?” And yet very little of
Pacific Rim
feels phoned in. You can always sense the fever and the fervor and the crackling brainpan activity. There’s nothing lazy or defaulty about
Pacific Rim
except GDT’s submission to the idea that “monsters are cool and super-thrilling and therefore the bigger and more destructive they are, the more exciting the film.” If nothing else
Pacific Rim
disproves this equation for all time to come. . . .

Oh, and then there's Justin Chang @ Variety:

Of all the doom-laden fantasies the studios have rolled out this summer, “Pacific Rim” is the one pushing itself most aggressively as guilt-free entertainment, offering up an apocalyptic spectacle in a spirit of unpretentious, unapologetic fun. Which it will be, at least for those who measure fun primarily in terms of noise, chaos and bombast, or who can find continual novelty in the sight of giant monsters and robots doing battle for the better part of two hours. Viewers with less of an appetite for nonstop destruction should brace themselves for the squarest, clunkiest and certainly loudest movie of director Guillermo del Toro’s career, a crushed-metal orgy that plays like an extended 3D episode of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” on very expensive acid. . . .

With this gargantuan passion project, del Toro means to fashion a giddy throwback to the monster movies of yore and restore a sense of pure escapism to the summer movie landscape, an eminently worthy goal for a genre master of such inexhaustible imagination and knowledge of the B-movie canon. Yet while the director’s love for his material is at once sincere and self-evident, it’s the sort of devotion that winds up holding all but the most like-minded viewers at an uninvolving remove; although assembled with consummate care and obsessive attention to visual detail, “Pacific Rim” manages only fitful engagement and little in the way of real wonderment, suspense or terror. It may not reside in the same crass, soulless neighborhood as Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movies, but its sensory-overload aesthetics are at times no more than a junkyard or two away. . . .

Here and there, “Pacific Rim” reveals hints of a potentially rich but underdeveloped science-fiction mythology, full of satirical and speculative touches that are ultimately overwhelmed by the fight sequences that represent the film’s raison d’etre. Overkill is not just the goal but a governing artistic principle, and del Toro takes it on such faith that nothing could be more compelling than his monsters-and-robots mash-ups that he spends almost no time easing us into the fray. The pacing is mechanical, even bludgeoning, in its single-mindedness. Buildings topple and bridges collapse; the mid-ocean battles are so ferocious that mankind would surely be wiped out by the resulting tidal waves, if not the monsters themselves. Yet such is the blithe, upbeat spirit of the whole enterprise (“Today we are canceling the apocalypse!” is the film’s signature rouse-the-troops line) that nothing in these gladiator-style faceoffs feels at stake, except perhaps the viewer’s desire to see a Jaeger swing an aircraft carrier like a 2×4. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Yet, even these reviews find much to compliment. Certainly not the domain of, say, Bay films.

Thus far the reaction is enthusiastic love or fatigued indifference. Not outright "this is utter crap!"

Edited by Thom Wade

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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The fact that Wells lumps in MIMIC along with the other "smaller, mid-size films" of del Toro's that he likes to champion makes me think he hasn't watched the thing in a long time. It's the only GDT film that I dislike and nowhere near his HELLBOY films in terms of personal vision.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Did you see the MIMIC director's cut, Anders? I heard it was a substantial improvement on the original theatrical release.

I admit I haven't, but I am curious to check it out. I did revisit HELLBOY II last week and had a blast with it, so I don't get Wells at all (what is new?).

I actually saw MIMIC during its original theatrical run when I was in high school. I didn't know who del Toro was at the time, but after BLADE II came out I revisited MIMIC and was disappointed.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Yet, even these reviews find much to compliment. Certainly not the domain of, say, Bay films.

Thus far the reaction is enthusiastic love or fatigued indifference. Not outright "this is utter crap!"

Yeah, the thing that stuck out to me about those Wells and Chang reviews is how complimentary they are in between the criticisms.

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Last night I retweeted fairly positive reviews from Scott Weinberg (who has written his full review here ), Glenn Kenny, and Sam Adams. Matt Zoller Seitz seemed to appreciate it too.

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

Justin's Blog twitter Facebook Life Is Story

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Interestingly enough, Topless Robot (a major nerd site), gave it a pretty negative review.

I also once loved the idea of Guillermo del Toro finally getting a budget he wanted, but now that I've seen it, I'd say he needs to go back down to creatively finding cheap solutions. Like so many other filmmakers who get what they always wanted, it's clear he worked better when people with power sometimes told him "no."

(They gave The Lone Ranger a positive review, though, so YMMV.)

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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I've got my ticket for tomorrow night's screening.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Seeing this tomorrow. No doubt I'll enjoy it. This has been my most anticipated summer film. Del Toro does everything with passion and love, and I have no doubt the result will be a good more invigorating, or at least genuinely fun, than say Man of Steel.

Edited by Timothy Zila

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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There *is* stuff to like in this film, to be sure. But the slugfests between the giant robots and the giant monsters do get a bit repetitive. And, as one who loves the subject of "memory" and "mind melds", I think they could have done a *lot* more with "the Drift" than they actually did.

I never thought I'd say this, but I think J.J. Abrams (in Star Trek into Darkness) did a much better, subtler job of conveying what it's like for a telepath to experience someone's dying thoughts than Guillermo Del Toro does. Abrams relied on acting; Del Toro relies on exposition.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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