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Blu-ray Review: Pacific Rim

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pacific rimIt’s hard to not like a movie featuring the classic BRM–Big Rubbery Monster–taking on giant robots. Warner Brothers likely was well aware of this in making “Pacific Rim“, a copy of which it sent out for review, and with a winning formula like that, it’s hard to imagine this ever failing to please. It won’t hit stores–in your choice of Blu-ray combo pack, straight DVD, or HD digital download–until October 15, but when it does, it’s going to hit like a ton of bricks.

“Pacific Rim” takes us to a future nearer than anyone expected, sufficiently so that we’re capable as a people of building giant robots. It’s a good thing we can do just that, meanwhile, because equally giant monsters are pouring out of the seas and looking to wreak havoc upon the land. But, as history shows again and again, nature points out the folly of man as the giant robots–known as Jaegers–prove less than effective against the hordes of rampaging monsters known as Kaiju. But a handful of unlikely heroes may have hit on just the tool that mankind needs to take back the planet in the form of one particular Jaeger, which everyone thought to be obsolete.

Those who are reminded of “Real Steel” right now–in which an “obsolete” sparring robot took to the top ranks of the robot fighting circuit on little more than pluck and nerve, as well as a reinforced superstructure that let it better take blows–are likely already nodding their collective head at the sheer familiarity of the idea. But there’s plenty more to this than familiar themes.

What’s really exciting about “Pacific Rim” is that everything that was fun about “Real Steel” is not only present in “Pacific Rim”–the underdogs taking on the biggest boys around–but it’s present on a scale that’s even bigger than “Real Steel” did it. But then, it goes beyond that. The voice of the computer systems–perhaps the greatest “hey, that’s!” moment in a long time, and I’ll not spoiler it for those not already familiar–is just one treat among so many that it feels like I’m neck deep in a cinematic candy shop. The effects are beyond belief, and director Guillermo Del Toro has gone all out to present a smoothly flowing, eye-popping river of excitement.

Sure, it’s not perfect. The science here is preposterous, the time line ludicrous. Half of the critical points are predictable as predictable gets, but there’s still no denying that this is fun on a level we don’t ordinarily get. Sure, the ending was pretty much clear from the beginning, but the ride getting there was such an unalloyed joy that it can be forgiven handily.

Special features here include no less than 14 separate featurettes, involving various parts of the film from the making of the Kaiju to the making of the Jaegers to the making of the movie itself. There’s an audio commentary track in here, a set of deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and your choice of English, French, Latin Spanish or Portuguese subtitles and the same in audio. There’s a whole disc’s worth of special features here, and most anything you ever wanted to know about the “Pacific Rim” universe’s construction will be right here in dazzling detail. There is also a trailer for “Seventh Son.”

“Pacific Rim” is a delight of science fiction monster-bashing and sheer craziness worthwhile for any monster movie buff, science fiction maven, action fan, or anyone who just wants a good old fashioned bolt of fun at the movies. Grab some popcorn, crank your best speakers and enjoy a magnificent ride.

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