To my surprise, Fun Dip still exists. Before right now, I can't remember the last time I ate or even thought about Fun Dip. Without getting too specific about the ingredients of Fun Dip, it was basically a pouch of colored sugar that was consumed by licking a candy stick and dipping that stick into the pouch. The colored sugar would cling to the stick, but, eventually, this process would become tiresome and it would always end with me dumping a bag of pure sugar into my mouth -- causing an immediate rush, then crash. I only mention this because, for better or for worse, this is what it's like to watch Pacific Rim.
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, a movie about giant robots that fight giant monsters, is a little over two hours of pure sugar. If you are in the mood to eat pure sugar, you will most likely enjoy Pacific Rim. I am not saying this to be flippant, as in "only a bad person would enjoy sugar." Everyone likes sugar. But not everyone is in the mood for sugar. And a lot of sugar can make you sick. If you are in the mood for something that's a little more substantial than a Pixy Stick, you might not like Pacific Rim.
After a prologue that fills us in on the events of the last few years -- basically that giant ocean monsters called Kaiju are attacking coastal cities and that the world has united to stop them with giant, human-piloted robots called Jaegers -- we are dumped into the ocean for our first of many robot-versus-monster fights. Again, if you want to see giant robots fight giant monsters, Pacific Rim doesn't disappoint -- there are a lot of these fights. A lot. (Unfortunately, they are all either at night or in the rain. Or both. Or at night and underwater. If there is a sequel, I would like to see one battle happen during a mild sunny afternoon.)
If Pacific Rim does include with it a healthy piece of fresh fruit (albeit a chocolate-covered piece of fruit) it would be the interesting (but sadly not long enough) subplot that involves a character named Dr. Newton Geizler (Charlie Day) attempting to purchase Kaiju body parts off the black market from a man named Hannibal Chau (Ron Pearlman). During this subplot, we learn that the Kaiju have a devoted fanbase and that this devoted fanbase have given names to the individual Kaiju. This is interesting because this would probably happen in real life. We live in a world in which the Boston Marathon bomber has a fan club, so the idea of fan clubs for non-sentient killers seems like something that would happen.
What I don't understand is why the movie takes such steps to differentiate the Kaiju in this subplot, but, when they attack, they all look the same. (Though, sometimes the different Kaiju do have different abilities.) Regardless, this subplot takes up a very small percentage of the film and after it was over, it's all I could really remember about it.
Unfortunately, most of the non-robot-versus-monster screen time is devoted to the Jaeger pilots. We are told that the pilots have become worldwide celebrities, though when Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) quits to, instead, help build a wall in Alaska, no one seems to recognize him. Later, of course, he returns. Training montages are involved. Idris Elba's Stacker Pentecost barks some orders. It doesn't really matter.
(I do want to point out that this may be the greatest summer movie season of all time in regards to cool-sounding but ultimately ridiculous names. This summer has given us Stacker Pentecost, Hannibal Chau, Hercules Hansen, Cypher Raige and the World Engine.)
I've never seen anything quite like Pacific Rim as far as its relentlessness. I honestly felt tired after watching an afternoon screening. I don't necessarily mean that as a compliment, but I do think it's remarkable. Remarkable in that it's eerily similar to how I used to feel after downing a packet of Fun Dip at the neighborhood pool. I enjoyed eating the Fun Dip (just as I at times legitimately enjoyed watching Pacific Rim), but the Fun Dip certainly didn't make me a better person. The sugar rush is fun, but, eventually, it just made me tired. And it's hard to recommend Fun Dip to another person -- unless you just really like sugar.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
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