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PACIFIC RIM

Published August 01. 2013 4:00AM

H H 1/2

PG-13, 131 minutes. Lisbon, Westbrook.

Sheer madness. That's what this is, this movie that Guillermo del Toro just HAD to make, and for which he abandoned "The Hobbit." Dude wanted to make a "Godzilla" movie. Married to a "Tranformers" picture. With a little "Starship Troopers" and "Independence Day" and "Hellboy" mixed in. It's the future of cinema - or the present: a movie cunningly calculated to lure Hollywood's biggest growth market with just its title - "Pacific Rim." That's where this sci-fi war is fought and that's where the audience lies - American fanboys and Asian and Australian ones, too. In the very near future, enormous alien beasts are sneaking into the ocean through a dimensional crack in the ocean floor along the Pacific's "Ring of Fire." The Japanese named them "kaiju," because "Godzilla" already was taken. And after realizing battling these monsters is a toxic disaster, the world's governments teamed up to build gigantic, human-controlled robots called jaegers, after the German word for "hunter." The pairs of rangers who drive them wear armor that lets them maneuver them - one ranger controls the left side and left brain, the other the right side - through a neural mind-meld process called "drifting." In a prologue, we meet a pair of mind-melded brothers (Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff) who drive the jaeger Gipsy Danger into harm's way. But things go wrong and one sibling is killed. That heralds the end of this jaeger program. The world will wall off the coast along the Pacific Rim, with the rich and powerful getting the primo interior real estate and the rest of the populace stuck building the walls and living on the coasts.

- Roger Moore, McClatchy

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