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Movie Review

Pacific Rim

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language.

Reviewed by: Jake Roberson

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Teens Adults
Sci-Fi War Action Adventure 3D
2 hr. 11 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 12, 2013 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: October 15, 2013
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

self-sacrifice, courage, bravery

alien invasion of Earth


Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life

death of a family member

orphans and adoption in the Bible


God (WebBible Encyclopedia)

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

What does God say? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Featuring: Charlie Hunnam … Raleigh Becket
Idris ElbaStacker Pentecost
Ron PerlmanHannibal Chau
Charlie Day … Dr. Newton Geiszler
Clifton Collins Jr. … Tendo Choi
Rinko Kikuchi … Mako Mori
Robert Maillet … Aleksis Kaidanovsky
Burn Gorman … Dr. Hermann Gottlieb
Max Martini … Herc Hansen
Diego Klattenhoff
Timothy Gibbs … Marine
Heather Doerksen … Sasha Kaidanovsky
Larry Joe Campbell … Tommy T
Robert Kazinsky … Chuck Hansen
more »
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer: Legendary Pictures
Callum Greene … executive producer
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“To fight monsters, we created monsters”

If you saw the trailers for “Pacific Rim” and dismissed it as mindless action movie schlock, well, you can be forgiven. Initial viewings of its promotional content had me skeptical. After all, how many times have we seen massive creatures and robots hash out their issues on the crowded streets of Mega City X, Y, and/or Z?

Too many times, that’s how many. But this particular film has a few tricks up its sleeve that actually succeed in keeping things interesting and (mostly) original.

A physically and emotionally battle-scarred ex-Jaeger (a.k.a. giant “hunter” robot) pilot is called back into action when the world’s hope has reached its last few strands. It’s up to him and a band of rogue heroes—led by the somewhat imposing, marginally mysterious Marshall Stacker Pentecost—to fend off an escalating global threat embodied in the form of massive Kaiju (a.k.a. “strange beasts”) that emerge from an extra-dimensional portal that mysteriously appeared years ago deep in the ocean.

The non-spoiler twist to the formula is the fact that two individuals are required to pilot the massive Jaegers, and the two pilots must be “drift-compatible” (e.g., they must have a natural flow and connection). This is necessary because “drifting” involves merging the pilots’ brains so that they can combine their brain processing power and run the Jaegers effectively (and without dying). So there’s also the matter of finding Raleigh Becket (our emotionally-scarred ex-Jaeger pilot hero) a suitable co-pilot—all while the attacking Kaiju continue to show up larger and more deadly by the week.

Violence: In regard to deadly alien monsters, the action we see onscreen holds no surprises. No nasty surprises, that is. The fact that nearly all the violence is of the Jaeger v. Kaiju variety is both fun and refreshing. It’s really quite nice to have a movie that doesn’t feature scads of human v. human violence. We do get to see gargantuan robots and aliens get pummeled, smashed, blasted, sliced, and stabbed, which, while enjoyable, can get quite intense at times. We see blueish goop fly when various Kaiju are on the receiving end of particularly powerful punches, or when they are sliced and stabbed and blasted with a plasma cannon, but otherwise the violence is relatively gore-free. There is one instance where two men get into a fight, but it is bloodless and quickly resolved.

Language is the most significant negative issue that audiences are faced with. There isn’t much cussing in the early goings, but, as the action ramps up, the language becomes a little more coarse. God’s name is abused the most frequently, as 13 of the curse words in the movie are abuses of His name in different forms, including a handful of times where Jesus’ name gets bandied about inappropriately, or “d*mn” is added as a suffix. No F-words infiltrate the dialog, but viewers will still encounter just under a dozen other harsh words (e.g., “sh*t,” “b*tch,” and “b*stard”) and a half-dozen “milder” curse words like “a**” or “h*ll.”

Sexual content is very minimal. We see one female character in a tight, low-cut, form-fitting tank top as she spars with Raleigh, and at one point she briefly ogles a shirtless Raleigh through a peephole. There is a crack about how Kaiju bone powder is used by some men as a way to increase their “potency,” and one joke makes light of one man’s (implied) sexual fling with another man’s girlfriend.

Spiritual Issues: What might be most problematic, at least for those looking to take their teenagers (and/or pre-teens), is the movie’s casual dismissal of the idea of God. The only references we get to God are passing remarks that dismiss the idea of His existence and/or mock individuals who still hold on to a belief in a higher power. This isn’t something the movie dwells on, but it is clear that Christianity (and other religions) don’t really have a place in the film’s fictional universe. Being aware of this can help lead to some really positive conversations about God and the Bible and the differences between a Christian worldview and worldviews held by others, but it might take a little initiative to start that conversation, rather than simply trying to ignore it and let it go unchallenged.

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

The good news is we see some great examples of selfless love and sacrifice throughout the movie. Different characters are presented with heavy circumstances that cause them to doubt their resolve, but, in each case, the individuals choose to sacrifice their own well-being—their very lives, in a few cases—in order to do what is best for their fellow Earthlings. It’s hard to think of a movie that features so many wonderful examples of John 15:13 and Mark 12:31.

“Pacific Rim” may want to dismiss God on some levels, but it does a good job of highlighting some character attributes that are critical for believers to grasp. Concepts like courage in the face of fear, pain, and adversity, hope in the face of despondent circumstances, and selfless sacrifice are all heavily reinforced by the actions of the heroes in the movie, and they make for several inspiring moments that will likely prove to be very encouraging for believers and non-believers alike. One man’s commitment to (and love for) his adopted daughter provides the most tender, intimate connection we see onscreen, and is a beautiful (though humanly flawed) illustration of God’s love and care for each of us.

In many ways, “Pacific Rim” is exactly what you might expect. It is aliens versus robots in multiple epic, cityscape-smashing battle royales (with cheese!) It can feel heavy-handed at times; the script isn’t the best you’ll see this year, and, in moments, a few actors seem to be trying just a wee bit too hard to sound dramatic.

However, the ride is exciting enough to keep you from noticing most of the shortcomings until you have had enough fun to forgive them. It’s likely that any faults won’t be fully recognized until you’ve left the theater and lain yourself in bed, and by that time they don’t seem to matter nearly as much. (Though they still might bug you for a few moments.)

The bottom line is that”Pacific Rim” feels just fresh enough to be worth your while. It would be great with popcorn or with Sour Patch Kids, and you won’t feel gross after watching it. (Unless you eat too much popcorn, that is.) The pacing feels good, which is quite a feat when you consider the fact that the movie’s run time breaches the two-hour mark. The action is fun and doesn’t feel tired. The CGI is impressive and fits seamlessly in the context of the movie without making things feel manufactured. On the acting front, Charlie Day keeps things light by making a killer turn as the comic relief, and Idris Elba gives us just enough gravitas to keep us in tune with the high stakes that are at play.

It may not be the best movie you have ever seen—or even the best this the summer. But it’s still a mighty fine ride. Although caution is recommended if considering taking young ones to soak in the intense, monster-mash action, the fairly minimal content issues (overall) make “Pacific Rim” a solid choice for a Saturday afternoon matinée.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—From the Christian perspective there’s not much you will find Christian here. God isn’t mentioned. There are some small things like sacrifice for others and so on. There’s always some sort of small features in movies you can find related to Christian beliefs. Aside from that perspective as a Christian I can tell you there’s not to much offensive stuff compared to most movies that are out. No swearing really. No gore aside from the monsters (kaiju) being shot by the robots (yaggers). No sex or anything much I can complain about.

There is violence since after all there are big monsters and robots fighting in cities. But you don’t see anyone actually die in these fight scenes. There is only one scene where the actually show a man being eaten by a monsters. There’s no blood but it might frighten kids. The monsters may scare kids too, since they are the size of buildings and pretty scary looking. The movie gives you what it promises. Action. Its the perfect summer flick that’s relatively clean. You could take teens to see it no problem I think. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Matt, age 31 (USA)
Positive—I disagree with the comments stating that this film denies the existence of God. In the opening narration, the protagonist Rayleigh Beckett (played by “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam) says “There are some things you cannot fight, like an act of God”. And later on, one of the scientists, Dr. Gottleib (Burn Gorman) says “Numbers never lie, politics, promises, etc. are all lies, but numbers are the closest you get to the handwriting of God”.

So whilst this may not be a Christian film, it certainly isn’t anti-Christian. Sexuality and language are virtually non-existent (apart from some taking the Lord’s name in vain) and violence is intense, but not gory or realistic.

This is the best film of the year so far, better than “Man of Steel,” “Iron Man 3” and even “Star Trek,” and cements Guillermo del Toro as an incredible director. It may be as cheesy as Papa John’s kitchen, but it is a jolly good time at the movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Strachan, age 25 (United Kingdom)
Neutral—The lack of the F-word is pleasant; however the director seems enchanted with the adjective GD. In his defense, many of the objects in question are truly God forsaken. Character development is above average for this type of movie, and there is some good comic relief; although neither is on a par with the original “Iron Man.”

My main complaint lies with the huge, computer-graphic fight scenes, which failed to hold my interest. They were usually dark and soft-focus (a CGI economy?) giving the movie a video game appearance. This disinterest was heightened by the hurried pace of the movie which didn’t allow for any description of the capabilities of the combatants (monster vs. Robot). As they each revealed some new weapon in rapid succession, the movie became less realistic and more like Calvin and Hobbs playing Calvinball.

The hurried pace of the film arises from condensing two movies into one. As the first movie would have been close to Godzilla, they chose to summarize it in the initial minute or two; but this forsook the delicious suspense of a monster-movie opening, and left little opportunity for setting the stage.

Nevertheless, a good movie for half-price Tuesday or a rainy day with the kids, maybe 8 years plus.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Brian Schacht, age 66 (Canada)
Negative—Filtering this movie through a Biblical worldview makes it easy to give these comments. The special effects are amazing. The storyline is imaginative. But the solution to the problem is godless and humanistic! You have to understand that this is not a Christian movie. There’s a big problem with really big monsters. According to this film, the solution is to rely on our science, knowledge, and humanistic determination, and we can save ourselves and all humanity (without turning to God). We can even “cancel the Apocalypse”.

But, as far as humanistic fantasy movies go, this one will give you your money’s worth if you’re looking for great special effects and action. If I had a 13-year-old son, I’d let him see it, but we would have a very, very long discussion afterward about what is spiritually wrong with this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Maggie, age 66 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—The absolutely incredible action sequences mostly make up for the lack of story and character development. Other than the violence, there isn't really anything offensive about this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—C, age 15 (USA)
Positive—My first thoughts when I saw this movie were that it would be a big remake of “Battleship,” a movie which reminded me of a child in a bath tub taking his Transformer, toy ship and action figures and playing with them. I imagined it would basically be a kid in a toy box smashing a robot and alien together and making “RAWR, RAWRRR CRUNCH” sounds, but dismissing my doubts because of the superb reviews this movie has been getting, I bought the $20 ticket to get the 3D IMAX experience. All I can say is… WOW. It was loud, impressive, intense, violent and everything the reviews made it out to be and more.

This movie could definitely be disturbing for children as there’s a LOT of violence, destruction, death and one very intense scene involving a child around 8-10 years old and a Kaiju in Hong Kong, and the profanity is on the heavy side, mostly G-Ds with a few others thrown in for “fun.” The lack of the F-word and sexual content made this a very refreshing movie. However, if you stick around and wait for the first credits to scroll through, you get a rather humorous scene (hopefully a hint at a sequel) and are slapped on the way out with a G-D. It’s literally the last word in the movie.

If you’re looking to take your family, friends or girlfriend out to a good summer movie, this is definitely the one to go see. I highly recommend it. 10/10 stars.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Fyzix, age 17 (USA)

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