Thursday, July 11, 2013

First to Review: Pacific Rim and The Lone Ranger

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Being on my birthday it's always fortunate, for there are plenty of Hollywood blockbuster movies showing in the cinemas. There is no room for boredom, and plenty of visual excitement at the theatres. I select Pacific Rim, because it opens on my birthday today! (11 July) This is a $190 million movie, and you can expect there to be plenty of action. I'm also a fan of director Guillermo Del Toro, watching his last big-budget movie being Hellboy 2. Pacific Rim receives much hype due to its extraordinary giant robots, called Jaeger (German word for hunter) fighting those humongous alien monsters called Kaiju (Japanese word literally means "strange beast).

The preview before the movie opens was really eye-popping - seeing a huge robot, that resembles almost like Transformers fighting those Kaijus. The difference between this Jaeger is that it cannot transforms itself into a car or a flying airplane. It also needs to be airlifted and carried by helicopters, which leaves me wondering these helicopters must be really powerful to carry these Jaegers. Where do human actors play a part in this big-budget science fiction movie? Thankfully, Jaegers need humans to operate them.

The actors in the movie are not big names, like say Johnny Depp. Of course, the human story and dialogue is not the main attraction of a movie like this scale, the Jaegers and Kaijus are. The human story arc is pretty basic: adopted Japanese daughter (Rinko Kikuchi) with his African-British father hero played by Idris Elba), father and son, then twin brothers connection and the death of the other half. The story about various types of relationships are there, but not delved in too deeply. Then there were the usual tech nerds and story of world apocalypse....

The main selling point of this movie is the fantastic special effects. Take note of the Kaiju's blood being fluroscent blue and the array of colourful lights in the city of Hong Kong where a majority of the battles took place. In comparison with the other big-budget movie The Lone Ranger - the colours are mostly monotonous black or white. It's a Western, therefore a tough sell to the audiences. But I truly enjoy the special effects too, being it's not as explicit as Pacific Rim, but more "hidden", like the railway train sequences.

The opening of The Lone Ranger is very well-written, for I can see how the script dictates the opening. Unfortunately the end left much to be desired. Being a western genre, I have to express my favourite being the railway train action sequences, if nothing else. Of course Johnny Depp's Tonto character is a scream, with his costume and make-up such an inspiration for any actor to have. But this movie first reminds me of Zorro when the Lone Ranger character wears a mask. From there, I began to see a lot of similarities.

Like the desert, the Zorro movie too is set in a dry and hot weather. Then there's the train sequence and chase for minerals like gold and silver. The villains Butch Cavendish stood out here because he eats human parts. Both the Lone Ranger and Zorro lost their brothers in a fight, and both seeks revenge. So you can see the formula working here again for this movie. But there's a few great extras like Tonto. The beginning action sequence feels very much like Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones, with shadows and moments of surprise of the hero catching the villain and vice versa.

Both of these movies are best watch in cinemas with the big screens and all. If you love colours, giant robots and aliens, choose Pacific Rim. If you love the country, comedy and some cool railway action sequences, then choose The Lone Ranger. Both movies are meant to entertain, and they do!