Pacific Rim [IMAX/3D]
Guillermo del Toro's epic Monster Aliens vs Giant Robots is a big load of fun and andrenaline pumping action, minus the Second Act which slowed down the whole pace and tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to develop the human characterisations and relationships. Del Toro's mind and fertile imaginations is amazing thing! The only drawback is the design of the creatures were rather repetitive and reminiscence of his monster from "Pan's Labyrinth". Nonetheless, it was an eye-popping, sfx visual extravaganza that deserved to be watched on a huge screen, but the 3D may or may not be necessary as most of the fight scenes were lighted rather darkly so the inherent dimness of 3D may make it murkier. The story by del Toro and Travis Beacham was simple and the sci-fi, unlike their Bad Robot contemporaries, was kept to the minimum. Sadly, the dialogue was mainly clunky, with many pseudo-Japanese English Zen phrases peppered throughout. The characters were stock, without much depth, and attempts at characterisations were mostly painful. The prologue set the world stage and the technology backdrop with a brief introduction to Charlie Hunnam's lead character (and that itself is all the characterisation you need of him). Only Idris Elba was outstanding. Sadly Rinko Kinkuchi was misused and miscast here, and her chemistry with Hunnam was barely there. Charlie Day (very J J Abrams-esque) and Burn Gormann (tinge of Crispin Glover) provided the comic relief. Ron Perlman, a del toro staple, provided some good chuckles with his over-acting and he's in the end credits (stay back for it!). Strangely, it was Robert Kazinsky's antagonistic character that showed the most growth and who remained more memorable than lead Hunnam. Ramin Djawadi's rock/metal score was strangely appropriate but lacked the epic rousing of emotions; Guillermo Navarro's cinematography had some really beautiful, striking images and he really captured the starkness of the peri-apocalyptic future. One of the best scenes of the movie, which we really see del Toro's signature all over, was the brief backstory for Kinkuchi's character. That little girl acting was just right and del Toro's daft hand at defining the emotional core of the show really made that simple scene stood out amid all that carnage and destruction. This movie is not going to be for everybody, but for geeks, fanboys and del Toro's believers, this was a rollicking good ride that deserved to be savoured for its originality and audacity. There is art, opera, poetry and beauty in del Toro's mayhem, chaos and destruction. A pity about the human drama component. PS: I want to know why they thanked James Cameron, David Cronenburg, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. (and I found out: http://www.vulture.com/2013/07/pacific-rim-guillermo-del-toro-interview.html)
Update, 2nd Viewing: Went to watch the movie again, not because I loved the first one that much, but because I promised to with a friend. Anyways, this second time round was in a moderate size theatre and without the 3D. And with the plot out of the way, one can really appreciate the scope of the movie. Everything was massive and it looked massive! Kudos to del Toro for maintaining that size-awe ratio. The action sequences was amazing, and without the 3D, the lighting was brighter and more details could be gleaned. However, the 3D really did give it a sense of depth, urgency and impact during the Jaeger/Kaiju fights. In particular, the underwater scene lacked something without the 3D. The script was still flimsy, and the acting has not improved the second time round. But the standouts in this second viewing was the better appreciation of the sets, the Robots, the monsters, the music (damn! Djawadi's guitar/bass score is infectious!) and Navarro's cinematography.