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Pacific Rim (3D Blu-ray Review)

31 Oct, 2013 By: John Latchem

Box Office $101.8 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 BD combo, $44.95 3D BD combo, $64.99 3D gift set
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language.
Stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky, Clifton Collins Jr., Ron Perlman.

It’s clear from the plethora of bonus materials included with this robot vs. monster fight-fest that director Guillermo del Toro knows exactly what he’s doing at all times behind the camera, and that this is exactly the movie he wanted to make. And that’s probably why Pacific Rim, as goofy as it is to its core, is so much damn fun.

For starters, del Toro wanted to pay tribute to classic Japanese monster movies such as Godzilla, in which giant creatures emerge from the sea to attack cities and destroy anything in their path. There’s also an obvious influence from the mecha genre, popularized in anime by giant robots built to protect humanity.

It couldn’t be more simple than that. The plot involves gigantic reptiles called Kaiju emerging from a dimensional rift at the bottom of the ocean, and the nations of the world uniting to construct 250-foot tall robots, called Jaegars, to fight them and “cancel the apocalypse.” And what glorious battles do ensue. This is a film aimed at the 11-year-old boy in us all, and it squarely hits the target.

The 3D is certainly not necessary to enjoy the action, but it does add a “you are there” feel to the proceedings. There are moments in this film that feel so similar to the old “Voltron” cartoon that it left me wondering why they don’t just make a “Voltron” movie already.

The solo commentary by del Toro at times feels like a film-school lecture, in which he talks in depth about archetypes and formula, and making a dessert rather than a main course.

You have to admire the sheer audacity that went into creating this fictional world, from the World War II inspirations of the Jaegar culture, to a carefully considered color palette specifically designed to subtly enhance the mood of any given scene. One of del Toro’s favorite analogies throughout his commentary is to compare the plot to a sports movie, with grizzled coaches, cocky veterans and rookies looking to win the big game when all seems lost.

In addition, the Blu-ray contains more than an hour of production featurettes, plus a director’s notebook containing concept art and other design tidbits. Other fun extras include in-depth profiles of the film’s characters that expand upon their backgrounds, as well as four minutes of deleted scenes and another four minutes of bloopers.

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