Director Guillermo Del Toro can do no wrong in my book, so when he decides to make a two hour giant robot movie, I have very little to gripe about!
Set in the near future, Earth is persistently attacked by giant alien creatures known only to us as Kaiju. They wreck havoc and destroy major cities for decades, and the frequency of attacks (and size of the monsters) is only increasing. The countries of the world unite to forge the Jaeger program; giant, skyscraper sized super machines to fight back against the invaders.
The film is Del Toro’s biggest, brassiest and most deliberate “blockbuster” yet; it is simplistic in formula, full of archetypical characters (and stereotypes), driven only to give us action on a staggering scale.
Some people will see nothing but cliche and lack of “seriousness”, and certainly, Pacific Rim is first and foremost an entertaining romp and little else. While there isn’t that much to the characters, there is enough to give a weighty (and awesome!) finale. It isn’t weighed down with emotional baggage either; this film isn’t trying to have “a message” or “subtext”, its about good old fashioned action.
I am grateful someone like Del Toro took up this project. Despite its simplicity, the man’s creative vision and tact provides the film with awesome spectacle. Action sequences are graciously slow; none of the frenetic chaos Michael Bay gave Transformers, no, Pacific Rim‘s action is on such a scale that movements are so huge they have to be given proper treatment.
What is greater still about Pacific Rim is that, despite outward appearances from critical opinions, it is an original film: this isn’t based off a comic, or a cartoon; it isn’t a remake, or a sequel or a prequel to anything. While watching you are reminded of those ballistic action films that existed before Hollywood got obsessed with remaking familiar properties. This is a great film for just this reason!
I’m singing its praises a lot aren’t I, especially how it should hopefully be a new benchmark for original material and the handling of spectacular action, so what can I possibly gripe about? I always find something, right?
While Idris Elba and Ron Perlman steal the show completely, other characters are pretty unimaginative. The two I had any misgivings for were the stereotypical “science nerds”, whose purpose may be valid in the story but their dialogue is deliberately ranting and raving to get important exposition out of the way as quickly as possible. This, however, isn’t film breaking (Mr Bay has made a lot worse (and less necessary) stereotypes than these)
Overall, if you like your Godzilla films (the originals, that is) and frankly any science fiction action ever made, Pacific Rim is definitely for you. I would go so far to say that if you have been drawn into comic book universes recently (yes, almost everyone) I’d recommend this for you too, if only for giant action being filmed correctly.