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'Pacific Rim' is monstrously fun

Published on -7/16/2013, 10:39 AM

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Having grown up during the golden age of "Power Rangers," nearly every episode of which ended with a giant robot fighting a giant monster, I was ecstatic to learn of the concept of "Pacific Rim."

I'm very pleased to report "Pacific Rim" makes good on its promise -- robot fists collide with alien faces at regular intervals. For this reviewer, at least, and for most members of the male gender, that would be enough. However, underneath all of the layers of visual effects and science fiction tropes, there are some interesting ideas and some credible substance.

One of the benefits of making a film like this is everyone walking into the theater already has suspended a monster portion of disbelief and is consciously aware of doing so. "Pacific Rim" knows what it is and pursues its objective with laser focus.

For the first two acts of this film I was enthralled. I admit to having trouble keeping the goofy smile off my face. The final third of the film, on the other hand, is still enjoyable but diverts too much attention from the fun of struggling against the problem to the necessity of clumsily resolving the narrative. Endings are the most difficult part of a story because there are only so many ready-made options -- in both underlying themes and plot devices. "Pacific Rim" finds itself awash with overused "save the world" themes and the lion's share of generic science fiction endings.

Nevertheless, "Pacific Rim" is a great summer movie and is a hell of a ride. This is one of those rare occurrences where the business/marketing side of cinema didn't get in the way of the actual experience. I was promised robots fighting monsters -- and that's exactly what I got. Furthermore, I had a good time wondering just what this film would have done to 8-year-old James Gerstner and what effect it will have on the youth of this generation.

If my imagination was molded by "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park," what could possibly be left to imagine for a child who grows up watching "Pacific Rim?"

HHHHHI

James Gerstner works at the Fort Hays State University Foundation and is the founder and editor of Six Horizons Media at sixhorizons.com. Contact James at james@sixhorizons.com, @sixhorizons on Twitter, Facebook.com/sixhorizons.

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