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PACIFIC RIM 
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
Just got back from this...it's really good. Lot of breathtaking visuals, nice action scenes though I really wasn't that enamored with Hong Kong. Thought the last fight was the best of them all, consequently I have no idea why people are calling it anti-climatic.


Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:08 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
patrick wrote:
Just got back from this...it's really good. Lot of breathtaking visuals, nice action scenes though I really wasn't that enamored with Hong Kong. Thought the last fight was the best of them all, consequently I have no idea why people are calling it anti-climatic.

I totally agree that the last fight wasn't a letdown compared to the one before it. It was also nice to see Ron Perlman working with Del Toro again in a role that definitely provided some comic relief, especially after the end of the film (post-film credit easter egg).

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Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:17 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
moviefan_ek wrote:
I saw Pacific Rim last night (opening night):

LOVED IT! :mrgreen:

Disclaimer: I've been accused of being a "movie snob" by some of my friends ;) , and I certainly am not a fan of hacks like Roland Emmerich (ID4, The Day After, Godzilla USA), but I love great action movies when they aren't intellectually insulting or degrading in some way.

And Pacific Rim is a lot of fun! It's a great tribute to the Kaiju (Big Monster) Movies of older eras (Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan), but with amazing CG Visuals and just a GREAT cinematic flair. Director Guillermo Del Toro knows how to bring it.

Idris Elba is great. Just like his work on the excellent BBC TV series "Luther," Idris has great charisma and commands attention without being overbearing. I thought Ron Perlman as great also for his part; just some silly fun that added to the quirky universe.

I also think James B's excerpt nails it perfectly:

Quote:
The primary difference between Pacific Rim and Transformers is easy to identify. For Michael Bay, Transformers is all about the "wow" factor. It's about explosions, robot-on-robot smackdowns, and cutting edge special effects. Everything else is an annoying detail, sometimes marginalized and often ignored. For Guillermo del Toro, the "wow" factor is paramount as well, but del Toro also cares about the other things: character development, relationships, narrative progression, and so forth. Transformers is an extended highlight reel; Pacific Rim is a complete film.


I saw it in 2D and it was excellent. Can't wait to buy this on Blu-Ray (or see it again with other friends in theaters). :)

*** Also FYI: Stay through part of the credits to get an extra small scene. :)

Thanks James. It was your review that gave me the push to go see it. :D

Seriously, dude, you should have seen this film in 3D- it is worth the extra price of admission. You still can, of course.

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Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:18 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
James Berardinelli wrote:
The "mystery" ***1/2 film is also not eligible because it comes out next week.

I knew it was R.I.P.D.

Enjoyed Pacific Rim an awful lot. It's the first blockbuster this year that felt wholly satisfying--like it accomplished exactly what it set out to achieve. There was a big moment--
[Reveal] Spoiler:
"Not Gypsy Danger. She's analog!"
--that drew an equal mix of laughter and applause in our theater. And it felt intentional. The whole thing felt pitched right on the line between cliche and parody. Not unlike the way Monsters University used the college-movie cliches. And it worked both times, I thought.

I agree that there's a bit of a cheat with the ending. But at that point, I was willing to go with it. I also liked that the big emotional payoff
[Reveal] Spoiler:
wasn't a make-out scene or an outright confession of love, but rather two characters who have shared an awful lot in a short time and just survived something pretty horrible sharing an intimate moment.


Last edited by Bones on Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:13 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
This movie was an enjoyable throwback to coming home from school and watching the Ultraman series which Del Toro mentions something he did as a kid. A great big monster B movie made with grade A level budget, skill and intelligence. The only criticism I have of the movie is all the action scenes are too dark and murky making it hard to make out what was going on. Especially the end sequence where is it almost impossible to see who is doing what to whom.


I would rate this much more fun and even a better movie than the Man of Steel. I was really bored in the last 40 minutes of repetitive fights in MoS but here I kept wondering what Del Toro had up his sleeve in each confrontation. Most thankfully he didn't indulge in any uncomfortable 9/11 imagery or make you wonder what the civilian body count was in the final battles like Zack Snyder which he details in an interview

Q There’s been a lot of criticism about the levels of carnage shown in Man of Steel. Your film also features a great deal of urban destruction. How do you keep from crossing the line from fun into too realistic?

A Well, kaiju movies by definition bring a completely escapist fun in these type of fights. When you’re a kid and you’re watching Godzilla stomp a bunch of tanks or jets or cut through a city, the proportions of these things are so enormous that you cannot correlate them to anything real. What I do is I then bring in visually a very different sense of style from reality. I have these super-coloured lights illuminating the rain, so it looks like a living comic book or a living anime, you know? And the thing that I do very, very consciously is I vacated all the streets so they would be empty of people. So you’re never thinking, “Oh, the kaiju just crushed 600 people.” Because the streets are vacated and everybody’s in a refuge, all they can destroy is buildings and vehicles when nobody’s there.


Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:42 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
Bones wrote:
I also liked that the big emotional payoff
[Reveal] Spoiler:
wasn't a make-out scene or an outright confession of love, but rather two characters who have shared an awful lot in a short time and just survived something pretty horrible sharing an intimate moment.


This! I have rolled my eyes countless times watching Hollywood movies because of the propensity for such scenes which felt fake and sometimes stupid. Glad del Toro opted to make it more restrained.


Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:18 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
Saw it with my 8yo. He adored it, which is cool, and I wouldn't miss a Del Toro movie, but honestly this kind of thing is not really up my alley. Ron Perlman was great and compared to Transformers I could sit through this 100 times, but in the end it's really just a lot of mayhem, and I didn't really get the reason for the goofy scientist persona. Kind of a Crispin Glover channelling.

WAY better than Man of Steel carnage. Very Godzilla like, which is honestly a wonderful form of escapism, with an excellent relationship brought out between Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi.

PS. ALWAYS 2D, never 3D, and I still will never understand why these things need to be filmed in such dark settings. Wouldn't a "laboratory" that builds massive machines be as bright as an operating room? Are the people who do the CGI that insecure? I wanna SEE their artwork!


Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:40 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
Quote:
PS. ALWAYS 2D, never 3D, and I still will never understand why these things need to be filmed in such dark settings. Wouldn't a "laboratory" that builds massive machines be as bright as an operating room? Are the people who do the CGI that insecure? I wanna SEE their artwork!


I can't tell if the darkness is because of the film or the projector. Roger Ebert wrote an article about how the switch to digital projectors leads to low lighting.

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/the-dying-of-the-light

He says there is a reason for this: "Many theater managers have made a practice of leaving the 3D lenses on the projectors when playing a 2D film." The result is explained by an anonymous projectionist: "For 3D showings a special lens is installed in front of a Sony digital projector that rapidly alternates the two polarized images needed for the 3D effect to work. When you're running a 2D film, that polarization device has to be taken out of the image path. If they're not doing that, it's crazy, because you've got a big polarizer that absorbs 50 percent of the light.''

Fifty percent! It can be worse than that. I quote: "Chapin Cutler, a cofounder of the high-end specialty projection company Boston Light & Sound, estimates that a film projected through a Sony with the 3D lens in place and other adjustments not made can be as much as 85 percent darker than a properly projected film." Your best bet is apparently to (1) find a theater that doesn't use digital at all, (2) doesn't use Sony projectors, or (3) still projects light through celluloid the traditional way.


Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:34 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
I liked it well enough, but I think the pacing did drag at times and I felt like the film should've been trimmed in a few spots.


Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:18 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
oakenshield32 wrote:
I can't tell if the darkness is because of the film or the projector. Roger Ebert wrote an article about how the switch to digital projectors leads to low lighting.

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/the-dying-of-the-light

He says there is a reason for this: "Many theater managers have made a practice of leaving the 3D lenses on the projectors when playing a 2D film." The result is explained by an anonymous projectionist: "For 3D showings a special lens is installed in front of a Sony digital projector that rapidly alternates the two polarized images needed for the 3D effect to work. When you're running a 2D film, that polarization device has to be taken out of the image path. If they're not doing that, it's crazy, because you've got a big polarizer that absorbs 50 percent of the light.''

Fifty percent! It can be worse than that. I quote: "Chapin Cutler, a cofounder of the high-end specialty projection company Boston Light & Sound, estimates that a film projected through a Sony with the 3D lens in place and other adjustments not made can be as much as 85 percent darker than a properly projected film." Your best bet is apparently to (1) find a theater that doesn't use digital at all, (2) doesn't use Sony projectors, or (3) still projects light through celluloid the traditional way.


I can't say that doesn't add to it, I would have to ask my local theater, but I think it is more that they film/design these things in the "night-time" or in a darkened room because it gives it more supposed "mood", but it never works, honestly, in much the same way when I watch CSI and they go into a crime scene and NO ONE turns on a light. Its SO annoying! :)


Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:24 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
mrguinness wrote:
PS. ALWAYS 2D, never 3D, and I still will never understand why these things need to be filmed in such dark settings. Wouldn't a "laboratory" that builds massive machines be as bright as an operating room? Are the people who do the CGI that insecure? I wanna SEE their artwork!


Hi mrguinness,

There might be some truth to what oakenshield is talking about. I saw it twice this weekend, and the film was brighter in one theater over the other, for sure. Most of the movie was plenty clear & bright for me (not "hospital bright" but where I could see the details of the background and what the other people were doing).

Then again, I'm glad to have theaters like Arclight, that live for calibration and presentation (and are comfortable, with no commercials, etc. :).

But I loved it both times I saw it! :D The 2nd time, I was able to soak in more of the action and general flow of things; just as fun the 2nd time for me (and my friend loved it).


Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:45 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
I've seen people claim that this is a rip off of Top Gun. How fair is that comparison?


Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:59 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
JayBob wrote:
I've seen people claim that this is a rip off of Top Gun. How fair is that comparison?

Wow, now that is inane.


Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:31 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
JayBob wrote:
I've seen people claim that this is a rip off of Top Gun. How fair is that comparison?


I didn't notice it but here is the writer's take on his movie. I just wonder whether he was going to put the shirtless volleyball scene into the deleted scenes on the Pacific Rim dvd

Pacific Rim is 'Top Gun with robots'

Pacific Rim's screenwriter had a lot of trouble describing its premise when he first wrote it.

Pacific Rim was pitched as "Top Gun with giant robots" when it was first written.

The movie sees the earth at war with giant creatures from the sea, with humans eventually taking control of massive machines in an effort to triumph.

It was penned by Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham, with Travis laughing when he thinks of the lengths he went to when trying to describe the storyline.

"Oh yeah [it is quite like 1989's Robot Jox], and also Top Gun really, too. It's funny, because I hate pitching stuff, and I don't think of things this way, but once you think of an idea you have to come up with a way to tell your agent about it," he told craveonline.co.uk.

"The way I came up to talk about Pacific Rim was I said, 'Basically it's Top Gun, except the jets are giant robots and the Russians are giant monsters.'"

When Pacific Rim starts, the war is already under way. That posed an issue for Travis, as he needed to let the audience know what had happened, while also moving the action on. He looked to some of his favourite movies for tips, with 1982's Blade Runner a big help. The film is set in the future and follows a breed of robots which have been created.

"My philosophy is sort of not to worry about the parts in between, you know what I mean? Sort of like [how] Blade Runner just sort of drops you into this world, and then it's like, 'I don't know, dude. You sort it out,'" Travis laughed. "I didn't want to do it quite to that extent, because it had to be audience-friendly for the subject matter."


Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:52 am
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
oakenshield32 wrote:
This movie was an enjoyable throwback to coming home from school and watching the Ultraman series which Del Toro mentions something he did as a kid.


Always had to watch Ultraman on the UHF channel every afternoon before I went outside to play with my friends. This seals it, I'm gonna head down nostalgia lane and drag my poor boy with me.


Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:26 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
James Berardinelli wrote:
It's not 56 UP. 56 UP might well get ***1/2 but I haven't watched it yet (the disc is still sitting next to my TV). The "mystery" ***1/2 review will go up next Tuesday or Wednesday.


Off-topic, but... if you're reviewing 56 UP from a home viewing, would that make it ineligible for the end-of-the-year Top 10?


Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:08 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
I'm afraid I can't rate this very high. Yes, for a monsters vs. robots flick, it delivers exactly what you would expect. But I would expect more than this from Guillermo del Toro. Perhaps I'm just getting tired of endless mayhem and destruction. These scenes have now become so commonplace that they just don't carry much weight anymore.

And I had a huge problem with the picture quality. I saw this in Imax 3D, and the picture was so dark and blurry it was impossible to tell what was going on. I'm not sure I ever got a good look at any of the monsters. And in the pivotal Hong Kong battle scenes, I had to blindly guess what was going on; couldn't tell one robot (or their crews) from another. Why did all the monster scenes have to be filmed in the dark and rain/snow/water? Was this a budget decision to mask any issues with CG?


Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:18 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
slksc wrote:
I'm afraid I can't rate this very high. Yes, for a monsters vs. robots flick, it delivers exactly what you would expect. But I would expect more than this from Guillermo del Toro. Perhaps I'm just getting tired of endless mayhem and destruction. These scenes have now become so commonplace that they just don't carry much weight anymore.

And I had a huge problem with the picture quality. I saw this in Imax 3D, and the picture was so dark and blurry it was impossible to tell what was going on. I'm not sure I ever got a good look at any of the monsters. And in the pivotal Hong Kong battle scenes, I had to blindly guess what was going on; couldn't tell one robot (or their crews) from another. Why did all the monster scenes have to be filmed in the dark and rain/snow/water? Was this a budget decision to mask any issues with CG?


Hi slksc,

Thanks for the report back. While it's true there's "mayhem and destruction," I think for me (and my friends) at least, it's the style and panache and verve with which Guillermo Del Toro delivers it. I thought the key frames and angles and visuals were amazing! (and I've seen countless action movies and anime and kaiju movies in the past.) :D Some examples:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The fight with the "King Kong / Gorilla"-esque Kaiju in Hong Kong Harbor: When it throws Gypsy Danger out of the ocean, most action movies would've probably had the robot tumble and crash and all you see is the random props blown about. Here Gypsy Danger does cause some "mayhem" but recovers and lands in a cool action pose, sliding backwards in a half kneeling pose, poised for a counterattack. It adds to the heroic nature of the mech, and adds a humanistic / hero quality.

Things like the Elbow Rocket (Boosted Piston-powered Fist that shoots out and nails the other Kaiju in the face!) is a great nod to classic Sunrise mecha series of years gone by and it's fun. Drawing out a Mecha Sword and slicing the flying Kaiju in half has the flair and swagger of a samurai swordsman slicing an enemy in half with his katana in a chambara movie! :mrgreen:

And the "ambush attack" by the 2nd Kaiju in the Hong Kong sequence... it explodes *out* of an entire office building(!), and then proceeds to grab Gypsy Danger and slam it *through* another entire office building... there's something really satisfying and fun about that level of over-the-top mayhem.


Ultimately, though, it depends on how jaded one has become, or one's tolerance level of certain scenes in a movie. After all, 99% of ALL action movies are going to probably have content you're already familiar with: Car Chases, Gun Shootouts, Fist Fights, "mayhem and destruction" as you've said. How many times can one see any action movie and think what you were asking? It depends on the person. Romantic Comedies are the same: How many times can we see the same ideas of girl and guy don't like each other at first, then slowly they fall for each other, and then one of them makes a mistake, they break up, only to get back together at the very end after an apology? :roll:

I think the other major point you're bringing up with IMAX 3D is unfortunate and valid: James B even warned us about this in his review:

Quote:
3-D by its nature diminishes the amount of light that reaches the viewer's eyes, and this becomes an issue. There are times when it's difficult to see what's happening in 3-D.


Which is another reason I love James' reviews: He's the only writer I read that consistently comments on whether the 3D version is worth viewing or not (and generally it is not - I avoid 99% of all movies in 3D unless it's something groundbreaking (like Avatar)).

For both of my viewings, I watched them in 2D and had no issues with making out the action sequences (except for maybe a couple shots at most). Then again, I'm lucky to have viewed one of them at a hardcore, professionally calibrated (and maintained) theater that prides itself on delivering top notch viewing experiences. So, "no" it wasn't a budget decision to "mask" the CG, unlike Transformers 1 which was awful with Michael Bay's ZOOMED IN camera where you couldn't see anything that was going on for 90% of the Action Sequences involving the Transformers. I think here it's a case of bad 3D Conversion. 2D was excellent. ;)


Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:57 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
Personally I liked the Transformers better then this one, as the action in those films was easier for me to follow IMO as it wasn't constantly set in the dark like the action in PR was, not to say the action scenes in PR weren't impressive, they just didn't blow me way and I just didn't really see the film as "superior" to Transformers like most people did.


Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:22 pm
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Post Re: PACIFIC RIM
moviefan_ek wrote:
While it's true there's "mayhem and destruction," I think for me (and my friends) at least, it's the style and panache and verve with which Guillermo Del Toro delivers it. I thought the key frames and angles and visuals were amazing!

I think the other major point you're bringing up with IMAX 3D is unfortunate and valid: James B even warned us about this in his review.


I admit I made a mistake by ignoring JB's advice and watching this in IMAX 3D. I thought seeing this on a bigger screen with high-impact audio would give this movie its best shot. I was wrong.

I won't argue that the action scenes were not well-crafted (at least what little I could see of them). Your analysis of the individual fight scenes is quite interesting, and not something I know anything about. So that's a good thing. But what really diminished my enthusiasm was the predictability of the plot. After the initial setup, the story seemed to be on autopilot, with one cliche after another. Guys may have been walking around in high-tech suits, but they could have just as easily worn red shirts with targets on their backs. :) Now, granted, this is a movie about giant robots and monsters, not exactly film noir. But while I don't expect any story originality from Bruckheimer, I did expect more from G Del T.


Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:18 pm
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