A friend of mine said that she’s been pretty disappointed with the summer movies so far. Until this weekend, I agreed with her since Man of Steel was overall a big disappointment. I do think there are still some fun and actually good movies still left to see before we all go back to the daily grind, Wolverine, Elysium, and The Butler just to name a few.
I’ll start by saying that neither of the films I saw this past weekend were ground-breaking, revolutionary, mind-changing, or really, actually, good. Also, seeing them once is probably enough for me, and a litmus test for a film really ought to be that you want to see it again. So, if you’re looking for a great film that’s really worth the time and money, you can go ahead and skip these two.
That being said, I enjoyed both of the movies this weekend, and I especially liked seeing them at great theaters with comfy seats and good sound systems.
I’ll start with Pacific Rim since it’s the easier to review. Guillermo del Toro is one of my favorite directors because he’s so willing to just completely indulge his imagination. In this film, it’s almost as though he said, I really wish that I could see a giant robot fight Godzilla and from that, he made a movie. It was fun, and the highlights of the film were the giant robots and monsters. The main characters were almost indistinguishable — literally, for ten minutes I couldn’t tell the difference between two blond guys even though one was supposed to be the protagonist and one the antagonist. Still, the point of this film wasn’t plot or character, it was spectacle and what a spectacle it was. It made me wish I were 10 years old again so I could pick my favorite giant and have imaginary fights with the monsters.
Now, World War Z was quite different than PR. The spectacle was actually distracting from the story in this film — the racing zombies were just a mass of indistinguishable danger and when they weren’t racing, they were funny even though I”m not so sure they were meant to be. What I liked about this film is the serious way in which the question was answered about what would happen to the world — not just a single place like London or Atlanta — if there were a zombie like virus released. Beyond that, it showed what would happen to family and how families would change and adapt in this situation. Brad Pitt played Gerry Lane who was just a realistic good person with military type experience instead of some ridiculous over-the-top superhero. His family and their plight was just as interesting as Gerry’s. I especially enjoyed the roles of Karin (Mirielle Enos) and Segen (Danielle Kertesz) who were shown to be just as heroic in their roles as Gerry was in his. It was a refreshing approach to the summer blockbuster, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. The two distracting parts of the film were minor: the zombies sounded like pterodactyls and clicked their teeth when in hibernation mode which was funny rather than eerie; and then there was music that sounded distractedly close to the 28 Days Later movie soundtrack which may have been homage but maybe not.
Overall, it was a great way to spend a few hours this weekend.