E.J. Boxler (MovieGeek13)Toronto, ON
E.J.'s Recent Reviews
Being the only $200 million budgeted film this summer to feature no stars and a horrible trailer marketing it as a "Transformers vs Godzilla" knockoff, Pacific Rim has a long uphill battle ahead of it. Hopefully, word of mouth will get around to sell the damn thing, because it's a pretty decent blockbuster. Like most of this year's summer movies, Pacific Rim is heavy on special effects and light on story. But what makes the movie worthwhile is director Guillermo del Toro. The man behind the brilliant masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth, del Toro's focus is on developing a truly unique and believable world, while telling a story we actually care about.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the film is that the robots can only be programmed by two people through the process of mind-melding, which literally connects two people through their minds, memories, and thoughts. In other words, finding the right co-pilot requires mutual trust, respect, and friendship. This dramatic stuff is what Del Toro excels at, and while the script glosses over a lot of potential character development that could have been explored in greater detail in relation to this concept, he knows how to get his actors to communicate feelings with subtlety. The robot designs look great and their slow movements mimic a sense of realism in relation to their size. Some of the monsters look a little goofy, suggesting that this material may have been better served in the anime format, but Pacific Rim kick starts a potential franchise about as good as Man of Steel and Avatar respectively did. Only time will tell if the masses agree.
In the wake of four heavily dated movies and that travesty known as Superman Returns, this hero is in certain need of an upgrade. In response, Warner Bros has opted to give Superman the "Dark Knight" treatment, bringing in Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, and Hans Zimmer as producer, writer, and composer respectively. Zack Snyder of 300 and Watchmen fame helms from the director's chair. With huge names behind and in front of the camera (the cast is packed with A-list actors), does Man of Steel live up to the hype? Not in my opinion, but others will certainly disagree. There are reasons to like this film, and reasons to hate it. The action and visual effects are amazing. The story, however, is virtually non-existent. Flashbacks into Clark Kent's childhood are executed in broad strokes where his Earth father provides textbook words of wisdom that never really resonate with the character later on. There's maybe about half an hour of plot development and two hours of random shit blowing up. Though I'm not gonna lie, these explosions looked freaking cool. Whether this is the Superman movie you've been waiting for or just another run of the mill popcorn flick is something you'll have to decide for yourself. The acting is top notch and the visuals are mighty impressive. If that's enough for you, then you'll have fun. If you're looking for a more character focused origin story, you may be disappointed.