Last night I had the pleasur eof watching the science fiction epic that is Pacific Rim, by Guillermo del Toro.
In the near future, aliens identified as Kaijus have risen from a portal in a crevasse beneath the Pacific Ocean and started to attack coastal cities resulting in a war that takes millions of lives and quickly consumes humanity’s resources. To combat the monsters, a special type of weapon is designed: massive, humanoid fighting machines, known as Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are bound in a neural link which lets them share the mental strain which would otherwise overwhelm a single pilot.
The Jaegers are initially successful in fending off Kaiju attacks; however, over time, Kaijus cross through the portal at a faster rate, with each new Kaiju adapted for fighting the Jaegers. As they become less effective, Earth’s united governments lose faith in the Jaegers’ ability; the Jaeger program is terminated, with resources diverted to building a coastal fortification to protect coastal cities. The four remaining Jaegers are redeployed to Hong Kong to defend the unfortified coastline until the wall can be completed. Stacker Pentecost, commander of the Jaeger forces, devises a plan to end the war by using a nuclear warhead to destroy the portal.
Pentecost approaches retired pilot Raleigh Becket and convinces him to return and pilot Gipsy Danger, the Jaeger he and his brother Yancy once piloted. During a mission, Yancy was killed by a Kaiju while connected to his brother, traumatizing Raleigh. Arriving at Hong Kong, Raleigh tests with potential co-pilots to find one with a strong connection, as the stronger the connection, the better their performance in battle. Sensing a strong connection, Raleigh demands to be partnered with Mako Mori. Pentecost opposes, as Mako is his adoptive daughter, but he eventually relents. The duo’s initial test run nearly ends in disaster when Mako gets caught up in a childhood memory of a Kaiju attack; she inadvertently activates and nearly discharges Gipsy Danger’s weapons while in the hangar. The duo are withdrawn from the field as the remaining Jaegers are tasked with fending off a double Kaiju attack in Hong Kong. The defense goes badly, with the Kaijus destroying two Jaegers, Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha, and disabling a third Jaeger, Striker Eureka. Pentecost sends Raleigh and Mako to mount a last stand, and the duo drive off the assault.
Meanwhile, Dr. Newton Geiszler—a scientist studying the Kaijus—assembles a machine allowing him to establish a mental link with a Kaiju brain fragment. The experience nearly kills him, but he discovers the Kaijus are actually artificial weapons sent to Earth as an invading force to allow another species to colonize the planet. With Pentecost’s approval, he seeks out Hannibal Chau, a major figure in the trafficking of Kaiju parts, in an attempt to procure an intact Kaiju brain to repeat the experiment. Chau criticizes Geiszler’s merging with the Kaiju brain, as he has attracted their attention, and the Kaiju attacking Hong Kong are seeking him. After Gipsy Danger kills the two Kaiju, Chau and his team move in to harvest parts. Geiszler realizes one of the Kaiju is pregnant; Chau and his crew are attacked by the newborn, which dies after eating Chau. Geiszler and his colleague Hermann Gottlieb merge with the baby Kaiju’s intact brain, where they discover the secret controlling the flow of Kaijus through the portal.
The Jaeger forces reassemble to complete their plan to destroy the portal. Pentecost, revealed to have been one of the original Jaeger pilots, takes command of Striker Eureka as one of its usual pilots was injured in the defense of Hong Kong. Pentecost ventures into the ocean depths, with Raleigh and Mako supporting him. Geiszler and Gottlieb inform them the portal has a fail-safe system to control the passage of Kaijus, and will only allow them to enter if they can mimic a Kaiju’s genetic code. Before they can process this information, they are attacked by three Kaijus, including the largest on record. Pentecost detonates the warhead, sacrificing himself and Striker Eureka to kill the Kaijus guarding the portal. Raleigh and Mako seize a weakened Kaiju and enter the portal, intending to overload Gipsy Danger’s nuclear reactors to use it as an improvised bomb. With the Jaeger critically damaged by the fight, Raleigh ejects Mako and manually overrides the safety protocols before ejecting himself. Gipsy Danger detonates on the other side of the portal, destroying it and the alien commanders, as the two pilots emerge safely on the sea’s surface.
In a post-credits scene, Chau—revealed to have survived—cuts his way out of the newborn Kaiju’s stomach.
It was a surprisingly good film, with an interesting spin on alien plots, with great action scenes, translated well into 3D, and with strong performances from the entire cast. Charlie Hunman and Rinko Kikuchi particularly impressed. It’s a very good film, and one I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.
Thanks for reading.