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PACIFIC RIM

Pacific Rim: in 2013 the earth starts getting periodically attacked by huge monsters (Kauji – a term for Japanese monster movies), so humanity pulls together and builds equally massive robots (Jaegers) to fight back. This is a big, loud blockbuster in every sense: characters, sets, costumes, fights, monsters, robots, and plot are all turned up to 11 for the full +2 hours. Unfortunately, because the fights are so big and mostly at sea / underwater or at night, it’s pretty hard to know what one big thing is doing to the other big thing. As a lazy comparison, think Real Steel Vs Godzilla as a 3D computer game. Other than the dizzying fight-scenes, everything else looks fantastic, and there’s enough strands running alongside the generic monster-movie plot to keep you occupied. Not a bad film, but it definitely aims more at the eyes than the brain: a monster/mech movie made by a monster/mech fanboy.

Score: 6/10

Homeland: eight years after going MIA a U.S. marine is rescued and taken home, but a C.I.A. agent suspects he may be a terrorist. Overall the scope of the plot feels like it would be a side-story in 24, maybe spanning 6 episodes – Homeland is stretched over 12 full episodes ‘beefed up’ with small, pointless stories – some of which aren’t resolved, or even mentioned again (internal investigation / Saul’s potential involvement / Saul’s wife). My biggest problem was the very slow-moving is he / isn’t he story, it gets quite monotonous after several episodes, and once you know what side he’s on, it kills the show flat. Both central characters are extremely complex – Danes struggles to convince with some horrific eye-bulding and body/movement over acting. Lewis is good, but doesn’t quite have the full chops to convey the inner conflicts and troubles of the character. The daughter (Saylor) and Saul (Patinkin) were the two best actors. In the end, I cared just enough to watch the finalé, which was undoubtedly the best and most fresh / original part of the series, 60 minutes of killer, 30 more minutes of wrap-up ‘meh’. I can appreciate how this would go down more favourably in the USA (it’s current, it’s political, it hits a lot of nerves) but for me, Homeland feels like it’s just filling a ‘post-24 American domestic terrorist drama’ gap, and not much more.

Score: 5.5/10