Guillermo del Toro’s newest summer blockbuster, Pacific Rim, delivers exactly what it advertises, but not much more. This film is a roller coaster of action as building-sized monsters (a mix between Godzilla and dinosaurs) battle it out with giant, transformers-style robotic machines piloted by humans. Pacific Rim is entertaining with spectacular special effects and techniques but features stock, cliché characters, a mediocre plot, and feels extremely small scale compared to the large size of action and devastation presented.
When monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, begin to rise from a portal to another dimension deep in the ocean, a war breaks out, consuming millions of lives, humanity’s resources, and causing the destruction of multiple major cities. To stop these monsters, the nations of the world come together to create unique weapons called Jaegers, which are gigantic robots controlled by two pilots whose minds are connected to each other and the robot through a “neural bridge” that allows the robot to mimic the pilots’ movements. Whilst nearing defeat and with no other options, the militaries resort to seeking assistance from a burnt-out ex-pilot, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), and a mysterious, inexperienced rookie, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), to pilot a famed Jaeger. With help from another Jaeger, these heroes do their best to put an end to the Kaiju and seal the connection between the two dimensions.
Pacific Rim will most likely satisfy fans of the sci-fi, action adventure genre or those who appreciate the work of director Guillermo del Toro, but anyone looking for a deeper story or strong characters will be disappointed. There’s no denying that the special effects and action sequences are amazing to look at, and the gadgets, technology, and science are very cool. At times, the movie is actually quite funny, with credit due to Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, and Ron Perlman. It’s also nice see a somewhat original large-scale, science fiction blockbuster. Beyond these elements, it seems as if the filmmakers spent so much time on eye candy and fighting scenes, that they let other components of the film fall short. As exciting as this film is to watch, it doesn’t always make up for a painfully dull script and dry characters with no depth or background, which is complimented by poor acting. It appears as if this film simply does less with more.
Pacific Rim has a few moments when audiences may get flashbacks of the “Transformers” films, but del Toro makes this film his own by using the darker touch he is known for and creating something slightly different than previous alien invasion or monster films. It is very predictable at times and is filled with dramatic, “to-the-rescue” type of music. I am also bothered by what seems to be a small number of humans fighting back without any backup, and at times the execution of the logic or science of everything doesn’t always add up. Often, it is difficult to make sense of what is happening as the action is shot up close, and the editing is very tight with quick transitions to the next shot. My last complaint is that the film begins with a rather long video sequence and narration, where a good amount of story has already taken place off screen, and although it throws the audience into one of the better opening scenes in an action movie of this scale in a while, I would have like to have seen more background.
Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky, Clifton Collins Jr., and Ron Perlman. This film is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language. Running time is 2 hours and 11 minutes. Rated 3 out of 5 stars.
By: Hayden Pittman
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