In “Pacific Rim,” legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, have started rising from the sea, beginning a war that takes millions of lives and consumes humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) – who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
I covered this fairly thoroughly in my review of Pacific Rim back when the film originally released earlier this Summer. Having watched the movie again, I can’t say that my feelings on it have changed all the significantly. It’s still a weak story, that jumps from plot point to plot point, regardless of how much sense it actually makes.
The film struggles to make the audience connect on an emotional level to any of the characters, and it’s not entirely the fault of the actor performances. Pacific Rim feels like it can’t decide exactly what it wants to be. It feels like it wants to be a deeper movie than what it is, but at the same time wants to be nothing more than a ridiculous action movie with over the top, and cliche, characters with crazy action sequences.
These two ideas are constantly warring with each, and the problem for viewers is you’re not sure which one to get into. As such, it’s tough to become invested into the movie in any meaningful way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of fun moments to be had in the movie, and it’s certainly enjoyable while you’re watching it. There’s just not much you’re going to be left with once the credits begin to roll.
Spectacle on the Smaller Screen
One of the things I worried about most when I originally saw Pacific Rim was how much of the experience would be lost in the transition from the big screen to the small screen. Despite the film’s other shortcomings, Pacific Rim handles the monsters and robots incredibly well, and provides an impressive visual spectacle. I wasn’t sure if that would come across when watching it at home. I mean, seeing massive robots punch monsters in the face on a 50-60 ft. screen compared to a 50 inch screen isn’t exactly the same.
Fortunately, however, the spectacle seems to have remained intact in the transfer onto the blu-ray. The battles still feel appropriately epic and are fun to watch. Even on the smaller screen I still felt those “holy crap” moments, and my son (who never saw it in theaters) was in awe of the battles taking place.
Pacific Rim features some pretty impressive special effects, and they come out nicely on the blu-ray format. It’s a very clean transfer and the color palette is rich and deep, with a good contrast on the blacks. In short, it’s a very, very pretty blu-ray experience. Considering the highlights of the film is it’s VFX and epic battles, it’s a good thing the blu-ray transfers was handled so well.
The sound is handled equally well, which for this movie is very important. The sound design on Pacific Rim is one of the things I praised most when I saw the movie originally. They helped sell the robots in a way the visuals couldn’t, but giving the constructions a certain weight and realism. The blu-ray’s surround sound is clean and crisp, allowing for the wonderful sound effects to shine through and work as intended.
Pacific Rim comes with these special features on the blu-ray disc:
· Audio Commentary by Guillermo del Toro
· The Directors Notebook
· Drift Space
· The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim
· The Shatterdome
· Focus Points
· Deleted Scenes
· Blooper Reel
These are some nice special features, and offer up way more than your standard stuff. If you’re a nerd for these kinds of bonuses on your blu-rays (like I am), you’ll be plenty happy with the offerings here. Among my favorites are the featurettes which delve more into how they brought the monsters and robots to life, and it was very interesting to see the creative process of del Toro thanks to his ‘Notebook’. All in all, the special features offer up enough reasons to keep this blu-ray in your player for much longer after the credits roll on the film.
Pacific Rim, as a film, has it’s fair share of problem. While nothing magical has happened to fix this in it’s transition to the home entertainment format, I can say that blu-ray enhances all that is good about the film. If you need a good popcorn flick to watch at home on the weekend’s with your friends and family, Pacific Rim is a good choice and worth picking up. Just don’t expect it to become one of your “most watched” any time soon.