Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Despicable Weekend For Kaiju

Because I'm old, I decided to see Pacific Rim this weekend. I figured its story has got to be better than The Lone Ranger, and Guillermo Del Toro wouldn't steer me wrong.

Well, but this should tell the story of what happened when it went up against Despicable Me 2:

How come?
First off, kid's movies always have the edge over other movies because they're made for the entire family. While movie critics have pointed pointed out Gru and his minions aren't as evil as they tried to be last time (in fact, the plot for Gru to find a fellow super-villain is almost like Father Knows Best, except for the ray guns and volcano), it's still pulling in a lot of people who have been disappointed by The Lone Ranger and other blockbusters this summer.

The other reason is that a lot of people complained that the battles between kaiju and Jaegers in Pacific Rim have been at night, Thus, you don't get a good look at both, and it would be great if you did. There was one battle in daylight which was presented as a flashback, but that's it. It may explain why Pacific Rim not only missed hitting 40 million dollars in its first weekend, but lost to GrownUps 2.
It's really a shame because aside from the "it's too dark to see the cool Jaegers and kaiju" problem, Pacific Rim is an old-fashioned war picture. Idris Elba is commanding as Stacker Pentecost leading Earth against the super-sized lizards who what to take over our world. They're monsters with a purpose. Charlie Hannum and Rino Kikucho make a great fighting pair, and the movie was wise to not try to engineer a love story between the two until the very last second. No time for love, movie. These two have to deal with losing loved ones before they can get the super-Godzilla types.

I will say the Jaegers will use anything to push back on the kaiju. Seeing a ship as a weapon was a trip.

What was really a surprise was Charlie Day as Netwon, a technician who risks his brain to literally get into the head of a kaiju to find out its motives,. His scenes with Hannibal Chau, played by Ron Perlman, were classic.

So, once again, a super-blockbuster almost hits a home run, but at least it did much better than The Lone Ranger. Pacific Rim was shorter, and had a good story. If it was more well-lit, it would have beaten Gru and his minions, or get close.

As we head closer to August, what other blockbusters could save the summer? Well, there are possibilities have aren't as expensive. We have Red 2, with the return of Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren packing heat, RIPD, a Men In Black knockoff, The Wolverine with Hugh Jackman, Elysium, which could be another 1% vs 99% movie conservatives will condemn, and Kick-Ass 2 with Jim Carrey taking over Nicholas Cage's spot. The kids will be served with Dreamworks' Turbo and Disney's Planes.
For the grown-ups, though, they also have a great selection: The Way Way Back, from the guys who wrote The Descendants; Fruitvale Station, a look at the Oscar Grant tragedy that swept Sundance; and The To-Do List, about a nerd-ish Aubrey Plaza determined to have sex before college.

Despite our two-cents about why this movie works or that one didn't, we'll likely spend sometime in the dark to see cool special effects, or just stay cool at all

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