'Pacific Rim' begins promisingly, ends up boring


I hate 3-D. This film movement was a novelty that has certainly worn out its welcome. "Pacific Rim" looked like a movie that was going to change my mind on my loathing of the manipulative style of filmmaking, but I was sorely disappointed. Let me first say that 3-D only works for me three minutes into a film and then it does nothing for me. The depth that is created in opening shots catches me. I fall into the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" associated with 3-D, but 10 minutes later it looks like a normal, digital film that I just spent a lot of extra money on.

I'm getting ahead of myself. This judgment is not intended to attack either of the two theaters in the Hastings area — just the opposite. I love both of the theaters, because they present excellent digital cinema, but could stand to lose the glasses. Let me also tell you that the theater I saw "Pacific Rim" at in Omaha has yet to upgrade its projectors to digital while Hastings has. That's one big point for the smaller city in Nebraska in my book.

OK, now that I've gotten my destructive disclaimer out of the way, let's talk "Pacific Rim." I want to love this movie and call it the single greatest giant robot and monster movie ever, but it honestly didn't do anything for me.

The movie begins with one of the best introductions I've ever seen, but nothing after that matches the height of excitement and overall joy I felt in the first minutes of the film. I thought I was going to get something completely fresh, new and ultimately engaging, but instead I got a long, boring movie about people rather than the non-stop adrenaline thrill ride I anticipated from the director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and the "Hellboy" films. I love "Pacific Rim's" director, Guillermo del Toro, and "Pan's Labyrinth" is a masterpiece, but the man needs to go back to making smaller films, because bigger is not better in the case of this talented artist.

There is word that del Toro is interested in creating a "Frankenstein" adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. I will be first in line if that ever happens, but I will not be first in line for the unlikely "Pacific Rim 2."

Not all of the movie is bad, though. My favorite part of "Pacific Rim" is undoubtedly Charlie Day. Day is super hilarious and del Toro uses him perfectly as the geeky, comedic scientist who is even farther gone than his lovable loser character, Charlie, on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The other two actors who I could not get enough of were Ron Perlman and Burn Gorman.

This film should have been the tale of two nerds and their encounters with the monster organ collector played by Perlman. That would have been a far superior tale to the cliche upon cliche buildup of characters that had barely discernible presence on screen.

Let me give you a rundown of some the characters. A father and son have issues, yet they've worked with one another for years. The film makes the father out to be an abusive old man, but we never see that side of the character. We have our main character who loses a brother in this war of beasts versus machines and finds work in the blue collar line.

Really, there weren't any lower-level jobs at the giant robot making facility for a former controller of said robots? I find that hard to believe. Then there is my favorite, the young woman who has to prove herself to the men and it turns out she is not quite ready for duty due to a hidden past.

When will we see a woman on screen who is just automatically better than the boys and doesn't have any flaws? I wanted to see characters who were brave and ready for action at all times so there was more focus on the adventurous elements of the film. Instead what I was given was overly dramatic nonsense that had no place in a giant robot and monster movie.

Good for del Toro for trying to do something new with this genre, but next time I'll take a little less sappiness and a little more punching.


Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

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