Pacific Rim appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie looked great.
At all times, sharpness appeared positive. I thought the image seemed accurate and well-defined from start to finish, with virtually no signs of softness on display. I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws.
Like most other modern action flicks, Rim favored stylized colors, and as usual, those colors tended toward teal and orange. Actually, the palette broadened as the film progressed, so while it stayed heavily stylized, at least more red, blues and greens emerged. Given the visual restrictions, the hues looked positive.
Blacks were always deep and tight, and I saw good contrast as well. Shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. The Blu-ray became a strong reproduction of the film.
I felt just as pleased with the impressive DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Rim. A movie packed with mayhem and action, the mix used all the channels in a lively, involving manner. Vehicles, weapon-fire, monsters, robots and similar elements popped up from all around the room and delivered a smooth, engrossing soundscape.
This meant nearly constant material from the surrounds. The back speakers delivered a high level of information and created a great sense of place in that domain. All of this melded together in a vivid, satisfying manner.
Audio quality was also strong. Music seemed full and bold, while speech was consistently natural and crisp. Effects became the most prominent component, of course, and packed a solid punch, with positive clarity and range. People invest major bucks in home theaters for flicks like this, and Rim delivered the goods.
The package includes both the film’s 2D and 3D versions. The comments above addressed the 2D edition, so how did the 3D image compare?
Visuals seemed virtually identical. Given all the dark scenes in the film, I worried the 3D edition would look murky and muddy, but that never happened – it boasted stellar picture quality.
In addition, the movie’s stereo imagery dazzled. Sometimes when I watch a 3D movie, it comes with such mild stereo presence that I forget it’s 3D, but that was never a concern here.
Instead, the Blu-ray offered consistently broad and engaging stereo material. This made the movie much more immersive and vivid, as the visuals opened up and swallowed the viewer.
Honestly, the 3D worked so well that it made me like the movie more. It’s still not a great film, but the 3D imaging added a lot and turned it into a more enjoyable adventure.
The Blu-ray comes packed with extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Guillermo del Toro. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, themes and tone, influences and inspirations, costume and creature design, various effects, cast and performances, music and audio, cinematography, and other areas.
If I’ve ever heard a bad/boring commentary from del Toro, I can’t recall it. Instead, I find him to be one of the best filmmakers to discuss his work – heck, he might be the best director out there when it comes to chats like this. Del Toro fills his commentary with useful information and insights and does so with charm and wit. He makes the track a delight.
Also on Disc One, 13 Focus Points fill a total of one hour, two minutes and 26 seconds. In these, we hear from del Toro, producers Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Jon Jashni, conceptual designer Tyruben Ellingson, production designer Andrew Neskoromny, visual effects supervisor Jaime Price, ILM modeling and texturing supervisor Dave Fogler, ILM VFX art director Alex Jaeger, ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel, effects supervisor Shane Mahan, writer Travis Beacham, makeup department head Jordan Samuel, executive producer Callum Greene, supervising art director Elinor Rose Galbraith, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, special effects coordinator Laird McMurray, composer Ramin Djawadi, and actors Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Heather Doerksen, Robert Maillet, and Diego Klattenhoff.
The “Points” look at del Toro’s impact on the production, Kaiju and Jaeger design and bringing them to life via effects, story/character topics, cast and performances, sets and various visual design elements and music. Overall, the “Points” deliver a decent look at the film. They tend to be somewhat fluffy and superficial, so they definitely don’t compare with the depth and meaning found in del Toro’s commentary. Still, we learn a fair amount from them, and the addition of behind the scenes footage bolsters them.
The 2D movie disc opens with an ad for Seventh Son. No trailer for Rim appears here.
When we head to Disc Two, we find The Director’s Notebook. This interactive feature consists of video pods, concept art and text translated from del Toro’s actual journal related to the film. We find five screens of text, six pods, and three collections of art.
All are good, but the pods fare the best. They tend to focus on minutiae, and that makes them fascinating, as they reveal layers to the film’s design that otherwise might go unnoticed. I don’t much care for the awkward interface of the “Notebook”, but it delivers good content.
A few featurettes follow. Drift Space goes for five minutes, 24 seconds and offers a closer look at the film’s characters. It gives us text details about Raleigh, Newt, Mako, and Herman. This becomes a fun little addition that fleshes out the roles in a nice manner.
Under The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim, we get a 17-minute, 10-second piece with del Toro, Jaeger, Fogler, Hickel, ILM visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Eddie Pasquarello, and ILM digital modeling supervisor Paul Giacoppo. “Artistry” looks at the film’s visual effects with an emphasis on how del Toro interacted with the process. That gives the featurette a different feel and makes it more interesting – and less technical – than most of its ilk.
An archive called The Shatterdome breaks into two areas. “Animatics” covers five sequences, while “Concept” gives us art for a mix of Kaiju, Jaegers, costumes and environments. The animatics fill a total of nine minutes, 56 seconds and show those scenes via drawings. The 29 concept art areas present a total of 251 frames and let us see the notions in various stages. All are valuable to observe.
Four Deleted Scenes go for a total of three minutes, 45 seconds. We find “The Wall of Life/Rations” (0:46), “Excuse Me” (1:01), “Theft” (0:28) and “’Catch You In the Drift, Dad’” (1:29). “Rations” shows the food allotted to workers on the wall, while “Excuse Me” lets us see a little disagreement between Raleigh and Newt. “Theft” shows pilfering Newt does to aid his quest, and “Drift” depicts a spat between the Hansens. All are watchable, but only “Drift” would’ve added any substance to the final film.
Finally, a Blooper Reel lasts three minutes, 52 seconds. As expected, it provides the standard assortment of goods and giggles. It’s nothing memorable, but at least it’s reasonably short and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Charlie Day also throws out a few funny improv bits, so those add value.
Going into Pacific Rim, I hoped I’d get the best action film of the summer. Instead, I found an often dull, always predictable flick. While it occasionally showed some life, its many flaws meant it never became better than average. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio along with a solid collection of supplements as well as a terrific 3D presentation. This never becomes a very good movie, but I admit the 3D version adds a lot of life to it.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of PACIFIC RIM