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During the summer months, we get a new $200 million special effects movie every week. No wonder we've become jaded. It's rare something comes along that truly impresses us. "Pacific Rim" reminds us movies can still do that. It's visually stunning to the point of nearly being overwhelming. It's a movie that wraps around you and pulls you in tight to its world.
In the not-too-distant future, Earth is infested with monsters called Kaijus. Humans have developed giant robots called Jaegers to fight them. But the Jaegers have to be controlled by pilots who must connect mentally and use their memories in a process that's never explained very well.
No one can be blamed for writing it off as a "Transformers" wanna-be. After all, this is a movie about robots fighting. But director Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" feels like pulse-pounding warfare, rather than plastic toys fighting controlled by a child with a limited attention span.
That's not to say "Pacific Rim" is perfect. For all its innovation visually, it's equally unoriginal in its plotting and characters. It's painfully predictable and it pounds us with cliches like a Jaeger bashing in the head of a Kaiju. Characters who will die basically have a giant "X" on their foreheads, and you'll notice the influence of everything from "Independence Day" to "Top Gun."
Despite these quibbles, del Toro's movie deserves to stand with movies that are setting a new standard for technical excellence. Sit back, and be stunned.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2
Out of five stars