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I can’t remember when I loved as many movies in a single year as I have in 2013. Seriously, Star Trek: Into Darkness (flawed but still so good); Man of Steel – great; Iron Man III – wonderful; White House Down – excellent.

But I would trade them all for PACIFIC RIM. Not because it’s better, but because I love mechs; I love sexy heroes; I love plot twists; and did I mention I love mechs?  I actually wrote a mech story of my own, with a female pilot. And while that book didn’t take the world by storm, it’s still one of my favorites.

Okay, back to PACIFIC RIM. Let’s start with the basics, i.e. what I loved and what I didn’t love.

What I loved – everything.

What I didn’t love – nothing.

For a mech movie, this is the gold standard. Forget silly Transformers and such, this is what mechs are supposed to be – giant machines power by human/sentient beings, bigger than life, awe-inspiring, and just plain exciting.

Oh, and just to prove I can still do a modicum of analysis:
  • Mechs: the future :: the lone champion : the ancient world.

There, I said it. Or at least, I :::’d it.

Every culture, every time period, every pivotal moment in history, has its lone warrior. Its gunslinger. Its David vs. Goliath.  There’s that one warrior – male or female – who represents us all in the ultimate showdown with evil. If the warrior wins, we win. More importantly, our civilization wins.

In the future, the mech pilot is our champion.

This is why I despise war movies. Battalions battling battalions – ugh. What a waste of life. And for what? It leads to nuclear war, devastation.  So much better to have a single champion, or a small squad of champions, stepping into the breach.

So don’t give me D-Day. Give me a mech battle.

Meanwhile, some other reasons you should see this movie:

Charlie Hunnan – we all knew he could be a charming psychopath-in-training, but here he is being charming, valiant, noble, and decent. He’s amazing in this movie. Oh, and yowza on the hotnicity.

Idris Elba – seriously, he may be my favorite actor in the world, at least at the moment. And for two solid reasons – he gives a powerful performance and he’s gorgeous. I would definitely follow him anywhere.

All the other characters – just spot on. You will love them. I don't usually like the corny absent-minded proferssor much less slapstick stuff, but this movie won me over even when it veered into that territory.

The plot? Perfection. Classic mech stuff, and no frills. No padding. Just awesome, non stop fun; unpredictability; and a depth of character that really shouldn’t be there given how little time is spent – seemingly – on characterization. Pure genius.

Going in to this film, I was worried about two potential problems: (1) cheesy special effects and (2) the bizarre idea that each mech is powered by two humans who are psychically linked. 

Trust me, the special effects have just the right amount of cheese and they t make your jaw drop exactly as far as it should.

And the two pilots? Well, there’s a history in mech lore about the lone champion(s) forced to work in pairs or a small squad. So I was willing to be convinced, and this movie really sold it. The writers/director always left the door open for the heroism of the single mech pilot, but showed how the pairing of two is almost necessary, and certainly optimal, when the mech is as ginormous as these mechs are.

And trust me, these mechs are huge. I stared at that screen as though in a trance.

You need to see this in the theater. A small screen at home, or even a bit ole 60” screen, won’t cut it. You need to see this as God intended – so big it makes you feel insignificant.

And hurry, because there are so many great movies this year, I’m worried Pacific Rim will get edged out before its time.

p.s. When my husband and I walked out of this show, I looked into his eyes and said, "Wow, right?" And he said, "It was pretty good. I liked it."  So reasonable minds can differ on how great it is, but I'm pretty sure it's awesome beyond belief.


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