Pacific Rim (2013) Directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman and Ron Perlman.
I’ve read that the best way to prepare yourself for Pacific Rim, is to adopt the mindset of a twelve-year old anime enthusiast, and that not doing so will hinder your full appreciation of the layers upon which this tent-pole, summer blockbuster has been carefully crafted. The truth is, the best films don’t require us to adjust our mindset. The best films always work on their own terms, properly engaging us where it really counts.
Disappointingly, Guillermo del Toro’s film shares far too much DNA with Michael Bay’s head-bangingly awful Transformers franchise. In fairness, it doesn’t treat its female characters with the same leery contempt as Transformers, however, on nearly every other level, it is exactly the same experience.
One dimensional characters, embarrassingly awful dialogue, overemotional musical score, telegraphed plot points, cack-handed attempts at humour – a few sins that initially spring to mind. There’s nary a moment that isn’t utterly trite. The central hero of the piece is Charlie Hunnam’s cardboard cut-out of a character (Raleigh) – the kind who struts around with an unearned swagger, speaking in gravelly tones, all of which is done with about 0.00 amount of actual ‘cool’.
It’s surprising to see a talented film maker like del Toro, taking such a huge backwards step. With Pans Labyrinth, he proved what an exciting visual artist he is. With Pacific Rim, it feels like he’s completely lost the plot. Speaking of plot, well…its probably best if we don’t bother. The shortened version; Big angry, Godzilla inspired monsters Vs human beings controlling big Optimus Prime looking, giant robot suits. Chaos.
Yes, its pure B-movie territory, but nowadays, B-movies have to be smart to earn their reputation. The kids will most likely love it , but this is yet another example of a film attempting to bludgeon us into submission with big, overloaded special effects sequences. Devotees of the film might insist we’ve all missed the point, somewhere, and anyone who enjoyed Pans Labyrinth might be forgiven for trying a little harder to understand what del Toro was trying to accomplish here. I’m one of those people, I’m still trying to figure it out. 2/5