Pacific Rim (2013) [Blu-ray]

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Though we may never get to see director Guillermo Del Toro’s vision of “At the Mountains of Madness,” that doesn’t mean “Pacific Rim” isn’t without its Lovecraftian influences. There’s the deep sea monsters, the beings from another dimension, giant tentacled beings, and the implications of something bigger to come. “Pacific Rim” is set in a world where kaiju are a natural phenomenon and the world is built around the constant threat of attacks from giant beasts that didn’t come from the sky, but instead the bottom of the sea through an inter dimensional rift.

When a breach allows various gigantic monsters to rise from the waters and wreak havoc upon the land, the world decides to fight back and form its own army against the juggernauts. Creating the Jaeger program, the government fueled project produces various large robotic soldiers that battle the monsters and cease their havoc. Director Guillermo Del Toro has successfully managed to unfold a universe that is in the trenches fighting a war with a being that’s managed to, for better or worse, unite the world for one objective. Del Toro realizes his world that’s built around diverse warriors, all of whom have something to lose and have lost so much in their lives that soon enough fighting the kaiju has become a personal war. The kaijus themselves range from awe inspiring to horrifying, posing as somewhat demonic juggernauts that leave no stone unturned in their destruction, and are merciless in leaving the world in shambles.

Though the Jaegers have managed to sustain the world’s way of life, civilization lives and breathes on the potential of these interdimensional terrorists. Things become even worse when the kaijus seem to be emerging at a larger variety and in higher frequency, causing the now independent Jaeger program to figure out why kaijus are entering our world, and if they’re indeed blank killing machines, after all. Director Del Toro assembles a wonderful cast of character actors to portray the heroic Jaeger pilots, all of whom are complex and flawed heroes that have their own goals in this Kaiju war. Thankfully race never once becomes a plot point, as everyone has reached the brink of desperation to halt the kaiju siege that society has somehow overcome the notion of racial biases. Charlie Hunnam is fantastic as the heroic Raleigh, a retired Jaeger pilot who lost his brother in a Kaiju battle and was forced in to retirement.

When he’s brought back to work by Jaeger program director Stacker Pentecost, Raleigh has to regain his ability to battle again, and realizes the Jaeger program has changed. Thankfully director Del Toro never pits the pilots against a goofy one dimensional villain, but instead focuses on the social discord among the jaeger pilots, and how their hubris and tortured pasts often get in the way of their initiatives to stop the kaijus. Every single pilot and technician are traumatized victims of the Kaiju menace, and they often clash in compelling manners that show how far we’ve united and have the ability to split once more. Rinko Kikuchi is especially sympathetic as the enigmatic Mako, brought on board to recruit a new co-pilot for Raleigh and forms a bond with him that enables the pair to jump back in to combat and stop the potential kaiju apocalypse.

The special effects are on par with much of Guillermo Del Toro’s past films, offering a blockbuster mainstream sensibility with Del Toro’s own stamp of awe inspired tech and steam punk. Though the Jaegers are indeed advanced weaponry, there’s a unique glimpse in to their technology with looks at their gears and motors, as well as their often incredible tools used in battle that Del Toro builds up to and delivers with an immense explosion for audiences. Though “Pacific Rim” is very character based and develops in story and social themes, it also is heavy in battles between robots and giant monsters that will not fail to satisfy audiences with an appetite for this kind of science fiction. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s film is a blockbuster of substance and depth and one that hints at a massive mythology deserving of a series. It’s one of the highlights of 2013, for sure.

The combo pack comes with an Ultraviolet download, DVD, and two disc Blu-Ray. Disc one features an enthusiastic and heartfelt audio commentary from director Guillermo Del Toro who re-visits “Pacific Rim” with excitement and immense detail. You get a real sense of the man’s love for his project, and he delves in to how the film was constructed, and the intricacy of the technology. The Focus Point Features is a multi-part look at the film through various instances ranging over an hour. There are a slew of featurettes ranging from three to nine minutes, exploring the concept of the Kaijus and Jaegers, the robotic designs, the humongous sets, the baby Kaiju sets, and the score, just to name a few.

Disc Two features a look at the Pacific Rim notebook from Del Toro, offering an interactive look in to the pre-production, text translation from Spanish to English, and image galleries for concepts and designs. “The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim” is a seventeen minute exploration in to the visual effects of the film and the process ILM overtook to build Del Toro’s massive world. “The Shatterdome” ventures in to the film’s art design with still galleries, and the phases of concepts for the film. There are four minutes of deleted and extended scenes, as well as a four minute outtake reel. Finally, there’s a four minute look at the Drift sequences and their montage of memories.

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