Colossal beasts, the Kaijus, attack coastal cities in 2013. They rise from a portal on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The nations on the Pacific Rim beats back the destruction of the human race by building huge war machines, the Jaegers, which are co-piloted by two humans, as the neurological strain is too intense for one person to carry. The two humans’ brains are linked, causing each other to see memories, and fight together. The Jaegers are highly effective, but the attacks from the Kaijus increase and the Pacific Rim governments discontinue the Jaegers in favor of building coastal walls to keep the Kaijus out. The remaining Jaegers are deployed to Hong Kong to protect the city until its wall is built.
Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is the commander of the Jaeger forces. He makes a plan to end the war by sending a nuclear weapon through the portal. He recalls pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) to return to his Jaeger, the Gipsy Danger. Becket used to co-pilot with his brother Yancy, who was killed during a mission. Becket suffered a huge loss, not only because he lost his brother, but because they were still linked, and experienced his death. When Raleigh arrives at Hong Kong, he meets potential candidates to pilot with him. He demands to pilot with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) when he realizes she is the strongest candidate. Pentecost initially refuses, as he sees her as his daughter. He eventually relents, but needs to pull Mako from the mission after their initial test run nearly ends in disaster when she relives her childhood trauma.
The Jaegers leave to protect Hong Kong against two Kaiju that are heading for the city. The Gipsy Danger gets sent in after the Kaiju’s destroy two Jaegers and disabling the third. They become heroes after successfully saving the city.
Scientist Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) is as fascinated with the Kaijus as he is repulsed by them. He assembles a machine allowing him a mental link to one of the Kaiju’s brain fragments. The strain nearly kills him, but he learns that the Kaijus are actually engineered weapons fighting for a race of alien invaders.
Newton sets out to find an intact Kaiju brain. His only hope is finding Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman), an underground trafficking king in Hong Kong. Upon the attack of the city, Hannibal realizes that Newton is the reason for the Kaijus’ attack, and deserts him. Afterwards, when both monsters are killed, Hannibal and his team strip the parts. The one monster was pregnant, and its spawn eats Hannibal.
Newton and his partner Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) merge with the newborn Kaiju’s brain and realize that the portal will only open for a Kaiju.
The remaining two Jaegers are sent to execute the destruction of the portal. Pentecost co-pilots the Jaeger carrying the weapon, but they are forced to detonate early, killing themselves and the Kaijus guarding the portal. Raleigh and Mako seize the remaining Kaiju with the Gipsy Danger and enters the portal. Raleigh releases Mako to safety, and goes into the portal. The Gipsy’s portal detonates, destroying the portal and the would-be alien conquerors.
The movie ends where both Mako and Raleigh arrives safely at sea in enclosed caskets.
I have to say that I did not expect to enjoy it this much. Pacific Rim may be one of my favorite movies this year. It is a compelling mix of drama, science, aliens, humor, terror and heroism.
The best scene possibly is Mako’s flashback where she witnessed her family’s death by the Kaijus. It perfectly portrays the fear of a terrified little girl – so well that you can almost feel her fear.
Sadly, the excellent acting of the young Mako was not mirrored in the actress that played the adult version of her. Rinko Kikuchi’s performance was sadly lacking. So much more could have been brought to the character than she did. She is completely stilted, and her acting seems very 1960s. I enjoyed that the character in itself was a good idea – an independent woman who isn’t the sexed up doll usually written into moves.
The movie focuses on the budding relationship between Becket and Mori. Both are messed up humans who choose to hide their weakest part. Part of their relationship is the trust and respect they have for each other, being in each other’s minds. The relationship never fully turns romantic, but I found that it was just fine for this movie.
The end relieved me – who doesn’t both the hero and heroine to live? The more I thought of it, the more it seemed unrealistic that Raleigh could survive his travel into the portal and come out alive.
Since starting on Sons of Anarchy, I have wanted to watch another piece of work from Charlie Hunnam. He really did well, much better in fact; than he does in the first season of SOA (I am only there now) He has certainly grown into a better actor. He fits into his character – he appears broken, loyal and fearless.
Seeing another SOA actor was pleasantly surprising. It seems that Ron Perlman can either be completely scary (SOA) or very ridiculous. He appeared as this dangerous type of joke in Pacific Rim. The gold tipped shoes were perfectly revolting and really appropriate.
All in all, this was a fantastic way to spend some money and time, and I think most people would at least find something good in the film.