Seen any good films lately?

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Lancebloke on Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:26 am

Don't spoil it. Probably going to see it this week.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:31 am

Eldorion wrote:Pacific Rim.

Pacific Motherfucking Rim.

Oh God Yes.

Straight into my veins.

 So it was good?
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:54 pm

Norc wrote:So it was good?

It was magnificent. Anyone who has ever loved a giant robot or a giant monster needs to see this movie. Mecha action never looked this good.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:34 pm

Very slightly spoilery review/impressions (Lance might want to skip this post anyway):

I haven't come out of a film feeling this pumped up in a while, and I'm not sure if I've ever felt this giddy and excited and like my ten-year-old self since, well ... since I was ten.  I was nervous going in because I'd read a lot of mixed or negative reviews from serious film critics (many of whom I respect), but I'd also heard a lot of extremely excited sounds from nerdy people.  I basically felt like this was going to be either the best or the worst movie of the summer.

I am pleased to report that this is my favorite movie so far this year and quite possibly the best blockbuster I have seen so far this decade.  It grabbed me less than five minutes in and I was hooked.

Let's get some of the criticisms of the movie out of the way first.  There's a crapload of exposition right off the bat.  The characters are almost entirely one-dimensional.  There's very little in the way of plot, and what's there is often cliched and predictable.  There's no thought-provoking explanation of sci-fi themes.  So what's left? you may ask.

Elbow rocket! Boat sword!  And more stuff that wasn't featured as prominently in the trailers that I don't want to ruin for anyone.

I realize that I run the risk of sounding like a Transformers apologist at this point, but it's a risk worth taking because Pacific Rim completely overcomes its flaws and absolutely deserves to be seen by anyone with a passion for giant robots or giant monsters.  This is an action movie in the most fundamental meaning of the term: a movie about action.  Specifically, it's a movie about giant robot action.  Giant robots have traditionally been the province of animation, which offers a lot of freedom to artists, but lacks the physicality and presence of top-tier CGI effects mixed with live-action.  You can draw a robot the size of a planet (and in fact this has been done plenty of times), but you cannot convey the feeling of thousands of tons of metal stomping towards you in animation.  As much as I love the medium, it's an inherent limitation.  And it's one that I'm willing to live with if I'm enjoying the story.

Pacific Rim is the exact opposite.  It's all about the action, and the story is intentionally secondary.  Why did mankind build giant bipedal robots to fight inter-dimensional invaders instead of focusing on refining the weapons we already have?  You could try to come up with an in-universe explanation, but it would be stupid and unsatisfying because there's no remotely plausible scenario where giant robots would be superior to planes and tanks.*  The real reason is that giant robots are fucking awesome and it's about time we get to see them on the big screen in all their glory.

Sure, there are giant robots in the Transformers movies, but the Transformers films aren't about giant robots.  They're about Shia Lebouf, the main character, and his love interests, with giant robots merely a part of the story.  Pacific Rim has no love stories, and its main characters are, basically, the giant robots themselves.  Okay, so the pilots are the ones that you'd assume are the main characters, but the pilots are (1) intimately tied to the giant robots, and (2) not what the movie focuses on for the most part.  It's a giant robot movie, full stop.  Giant robots have personalities, to an extent, but they don't have complicated psychologies or relationships.*

(* Either one of the asterisked statements could probably be rebutted simply by saying "but Evangelion".  That's fine, but there's no possible way to come close to developing a world or characters as fleshed out as Evangelion's in a two-hour movie, and Pacific Rim wisely decided to stay far away from even trying that.)

Because of when I was born, I didn't start watching movies until after CGI was already an established thing.  I never had a Star Wars or Jurassic Park moment where my jaw dropped and I wondered how something that just appeared on screen was possible.  Sure, I can marvel at extraordinarily good effects, but not even Avatar (which, whatever else you think about it, still features some of the best effects ever) didn't make me question how it was possible.  It's just the natural consequence of technology advancing.  Sometimes it's pushed along faster than expected, but it's pretty well-established by now that any visual spectacle is possible with modern technology.

Pacific Rim made me question how it was possible in a different way.  The effects were extremely good (mostly CGI but with a few similarly excellent physical effects), but I was shocked that a movie like this was made, and more importantly was made so good.  I got an inkling of this after seeing the trailers, but I was still caught off-guard by the full film.  Somehow, Guillermo del Toro convinced a movie studio to give him $200 million and then make a giant robot movie with absolutely no pandering or fucking around.  I still don't know how he did it.  It doesn't try to hit multiple demographics and doesn't have any elements clearly forced in by a worried marketing department.  It is giant robots distilled to their essence and then lovingly refined and perfected.

Watching Pacific Rim was the first time my jaw has ever actually dropped while watching a movie.  There were several moments in this film where I saw the giant robots doing their roboty thing and all I could think was "how is it even possible that a movie like this was allowed to be made and is this good?"  Then, after a second, my only thought was: "HELL FUCKING YES!".

Even in my wildest dreams I was not expecting a movie made with so much passion for the material, not when the material was giant robots.  Pacific Rim feels genuine and honest.  It simply does not fuck around at all.  It delivers exactly what it promised, which is the chance to see the most magnificent giant robots you have ever seen.  The action is top-fucking-tier throughout.  There is one battle shortly after the halfway point of the film which immediately became one of my favorite action scenes ever.  It is complimented by kick-ass music and not a whiff of toning down or scaling back to meet the expectations of audiences who aren't as interested in giant robots.

I've been going on about the action for way longer than I meant to, so I should at least acknowledge some of the other parts of the film.  As mentioned before, the soundtrack went along perfectly with the events on screen and upped the hot-blooded factor even more.  The film was very well-shot, as expected from del Toro.  The dialogue was uniformly cheesy and often atrocious, but it largely added to the charm for me.  The characters were paper-thin, so naturally the actors were at their best when they played fully to the silliness of the film and went completely over the top.  (By that standard, Ron Perlman gave the best performance in the film.)  I am pleased to report that the film does not take itself too seriously.  Normally I might want a movie to treat its geeky source material seriously, but in this case such an approach would have just bogged the film down with uninteresting crap that did nothing to further the ridiculous premise.

If you want to see a serious take on giant robots, there are plenty of TV shows that take advantage of their longer running times to try to make sense of a robot world, but that wouldn't work in a film of this length.  Pacific Rim is in the tradition of crazy, over-the-top, hot-blooded mecha action shows.  It's about saving the world from an alien menace when the best solution is shoot them until you run out of ammo and then punch the motherfuckers until they die.  If you've never seen a show where something like this happens, and if that statement does not sound interesting to you, then Pacific Rim is not a movie that was made with you in mind.  You will probably hate it.  But if you have ever cheered at a giant robot punching its giant enemies, then Pacific Rim will rock your fucking world.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Orwell on Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:16 am

I saw 'Brave'. Had a neat idea or two but, overall, phizzled a bit, sadly... Shame really... no Leading Man! Interesting... but failing in the end... Sad 

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:57 am

shoot them until you run out of ammo and then punch the motherfuckers until they die- Eldo

A bigger appeal to American sensibilities is hard to imagine. I fear this film might not be for me!

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:17 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:shoot them until you run out of ammo and then punch the motherfuckers until they die- Eldo

A bigger appeal to American sensibilities is hard to imagine. I fear this film might not be for me!

Pacific Rim owes a lot more to Japanese film and animation than to American pop culture (though of course anime has plenty of American influences itself).  These are explosions and battles crafted by an incredibly talented director, though.  Watch Pan's Labyrinth if you're interested in del Toro's artshouse cred. Wink
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:47 am

I enjoyed Pan Labyrinth and its companion piece whose name eludes me- a ghost story set in an orphanage.
But they were very much mood and character driven pieces.
This sounds a lot like Transformers to me still- big robots endlessly fighting until the credits roll.
But I will give it a go just in case he's pulled off the impossible and made that concept seem interesting to me!

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:56 am

I don't think Pacific Rim is really the movie to convert anyone to the giant robot genre.  It's largely a love letter to the genre but it doesn't contain much that would hook in people who don't already find robots interesting.  And the story is really bare-bones, though honestly I think that was for the best with this film since they didn't have the same amount of time as a TV series (which a lot of giant robot stories traditionally have been).

It's been years since I saw Transformers so I can't comment on the comparison in much detail, but Pacific Rim felt pretty different to me.  In Transformers the robots were there to fight and provide action but they didn't do a whole lot else.  In Pacific Rim, the robots are piloted by humans (which is a big difference in and of itself) and most of the non-action scenes (of which there are quite a few) revolve around the human characters' attempts to understand and interact with both the robots and the invading monsters.

Pacific Rim is fortunately free of shoehorned love stories, directorial pandering, product placement, and US military cameos as well.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:18 am

maybe it'ss worth a shot.. although. i won't pay a full price ticket to go see it..
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:38 am

Will you bring a fake ID showing a more recent date of birth so that you can get the child price or something?
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Lancebloke on Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:42 am

Yes... a U.S. military cameo tends to ruin things. Think that is mainly because they dont like to get their arses kicked. They always have to 'find a way' to win even when they really shouldn't.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:19 pm

I think this film is probably for the boyz, I am not sure its for me, if there are no castles and flowy frocks its not going to do it for me. No it does sound exciting tho.

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by azriel on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Ill go see it ! I enjoy anything weird, fantasy or Sci-Fi. And I do like the films ive seen of Guillermo Del Toro.
"Real Steel" was a robot Rock em & sock em type film, but it was aimed more at families, apart from the cheesey stuff the Robots were good fun once they started fighting, (& ofcourse there was Hugh Jackman to provide the oooh factor!)

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:49 am

I watched Despicable Me 2 with my brother tonight.  While I wouldn't say it was better than the first, we both agreed that it compared favorably to the first one, which is about all I can ask of a sequel like this.  I had a number of worries about the film going in, but none of them occurred and it was still a lot of fun, very funny, and quite sweet. Smile Pharrell definitely delivered on the soundtrack again, along with some hilariously chosen older songs.

Also, we went on the Despicable Me ride at Universal earlier in the day and that was pretty fun too.  I got a minion t-shirt as well; I'll post a picture of it later. Nod
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:18 am

Eldorion wrote:Will you bring a fake ID showing a more recent date of birth so that you can get the child price or something?

hey! i don't look like a child, it's not that easy! (the limit is like 11) also after six (in the evening) they only sell adult prized tickets if it isn't a childrens movie.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Lancebloke on Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:29 am

Eldo... did you dance with the minions when you came off of the ride too?
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:52 pm

no.. he did... erm... other stuff.
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:08 pm

Suspect 

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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:23 pm

Lancebloke wrote:Eldo... did you dance with the minions when you came off of the ride too?

Yes, I did. Very Happy {{{Very briefly.}}}
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:24 pm

Norc wrote:no.. he did... erm... other stuff.

Some of us are able to enjoy a fun children's movie without having to read anything more into it than that. Mad
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:31 pm

what.. i wasn't implying anything *twists thumbs*
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Norc on Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Lancebloke wrote:Eldo... did you dance with the minions when you came off of the ride too?

Yes, I did. Very Happy{{{Very briefly.}}}

yeah... danced.




and briefly Twisted Evil
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:45 am

No, seriously, when you get off the ride there's a bunch of people dressed as minions in a room where they're playing the song from the boogie robot scene, which is also playing on the walls. Everyone dances around as they pass through the room. It's awesome. Very Happy
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Re: Seen any good films lately?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:46 am

Also, while I really liked the rap theme from the first movie ("I'm having a bad bad day"), I love this song from Despicable Me 2. cheers

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