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Pacific Rim/Rated PG-13 for sci-fi monsters and general ugliness

Pacific Rim is being billed as Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Why not “big star name” in Pacific Rim? The big stars are Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi. So when the director’s name is bigger than the star names, this is what you do. GdT is from Guadalajara, Mexico. His biggest directing successes to date are Mimic (1997), Blade II (2002) and the Hellboy films from 2002 on. Hellboy starred Ron Perlman, who also has a small role in GdT’s Pacific Rim.

Pacific Rim is a film right out of the 50s. It mimics all of the era’s sci-fi monster films, mainly the original Godzilla (1954). In that film, Godzilla rose from the ocean and stomped on lots of square miles of Japan. A guy in a suit provided the stomping and small models of towns were the stompees. The big guy would wreak havoc with his size and his monster breath, which he used to good effect. Many sequels followed, each sillier than the last. Godzilla 2000 (1999) was an attempt to bring back big “G” and infuse the story with bigger and more realistic effects. The last “G” film was released in 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of the original movie.

In Pacific Rim, a whole bunch of alien creatures have been asleep in a volcanic chasm deep in the Pacific Ocean. They decide to clean the human scum off Earth – by attacking the coastal cities – so they can take over. They are bigger, meaner and uglier than Godzilla and have the same monster breath capabilities. A cast of mainly unknown actors (see above if you forgot their names) spring into action to save Earth. They build gigantic robots that look a lot like Transformers and, with two humans inside to run things, they go out to do World Wrestling Entertainment type battles with the monsters. Sometimes they win; sometimes they lose. The humans also have time for some Kung Fu stick fighting, macho posturing and arguing.

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While Pacific Rim is mostly derivative and often amateurish, the big monster/robot fights are pretty spectacular to watch. Perlman shows up as a scoundrel whose fate is sealed when he says the monster lying dead behind him is finished. We all know better. Bye, Bye Ron.

Since there hasn’t been a new Godzilla film in nine years, Pacific Rim is a welcome relief for the desperate Godzilla fans who are tired of reruns. However, good news is on the way. A complete reboot of Godzilla is due out next year on the 10th anniversary of the last film marking the 50th anniversary of the first film.

My favorite part of all Godzilla films was when they showed massive crowds of Japanese running and screaming “Godzilla, Godzilla.” The words were, of course, dubbed. I’m not sure what they were really screaming.

Rated 2.5 out of 4.0 reasons to Hashire, Hashire. Subtitled as Run, Run.

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