Pacific Rim is Giant Action Packed Fun

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Holy Shit. That is all I can say. Pacific Rim is awesome. Easily the most fun movie of the year, and probably the most satisfying movie going experience I’ve had in a long time.Trying to decide if it tops Avengers and Dark Knight Rises, but I have trouble bringing myself to say that. To be fair though, I’m a huge comic book fan, and in the interest of full disclosure I will freely admit to praying at the alter of the Caped Crusader.

I’ve read a couple of reviews saying that characters are two dimensional or heartless and the acting is sub par, but that seems like big action hatering to me. The fact that the co-stars are giant robots and city crushing aliens, in no way detracts from the emotive content of the main characters. Our hero suffers significant loss in the opening scene, loss that is informs his character throughout the film. The central cast has heart, humor and attitude as well as the blessing of working alongside the always awesome Idras Elba.

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And then there is the action, the bruising battles between those giant robots and the city crushing aliens. It’s clean and visually understandable, while still being fast, beautiful and huge; so much better than the mess of mechanics that are the battles in Transformers. The sets are cool and look authentic, characters unto themselves. Guillermo del Toro is at his best creating immersive worlds full of details and idiosyncrasies that give life on the silver screen depth and personality.

In Pacific Rim, del Toro accomplishes all of that and more. He brings to life an engrossing battle for the end of the world with charismatic characters fighting monsters, fear and each other. An underground black market, dealing in the monster’s remains, offers the civilian view of the Earth shaking crisis, and a walk around the war torn city.

Pacific Rim is a huge mind blowing good time. And it is original. Sure it’s inspiration can be seen in Anime and other Asian imports form Voltron to Evangelion. But this is an original story with original characters and something most Americans, not indoctrinated into the world of men piloting giant robots, have never glimpsed before. And it is awesome. Go see Pacific Rim, so we can rave about it later.

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Lone Ranger Fails the Day

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I love movies. I try and get out to the films that are lauded by the critics and cinephiles while bringing in the Oscar nominations. Lord knows I love action packed blockbusters. Growing up a comic fan and Sci-Fi fantasy fan, I’ve been in with the new pop culture obsession with these movies that have come to dominate our summers. Even when they are flawed, I can almost always find redeeming qualities to focus on and enjoy myself.

I wouldn’t say that I had real high expectations for The Lone Ranger, but  I dig westerns, I dig Johnny Depp and many of his eccentric characters and I have no idea who Armie Hammer is. So, I was in expecting it to be fun at the very least. But it was not.

It was long, very long and it was awkward, kind of racist and full of death in an oddly unsettling way. I mean there are scores of Native Americans  massacred and its treated like a weightless sidebar, as its juxtaposed with a pratfallish escape scene. I don’t know if I found it so disturbing because of the context free, emotionless killings or because it was in a movie marketed to children and their families.

Also, I get the impression that no one found this at all racist. Johnny Depp was one of the better parts of the film, and they did attempt to explain away the broken English he speaks … but still. Twenty years after Dances with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans drew great attention for starring actual Native Americans in their portrayals, we couldn’t find a single talent to play this starring role? We had to revert to a white dude in red f … er, white face? If not racist, it’s certainly disappointing.

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And who the hell is Armie Hammer and why is someone trying to convince me he is a movie star? I do not believe it and I am not alone. He has very little charisma, poor comic timing and does nothing to carry this movie. In a movie full of explosions and reckless mayhem I would have expected to prefer the character who dislikes guns and vigilantism, but no. He seems heartless and tongue in cheek in a non self-aware way that is totally out of place in a movie where everyone else attempts to act like their in a modern movie.

I thought Battleship was bad, I was right, but this floptacular bastard at least had a chance before it derailed into an offensive, inexplicably boring failure.