Movie Review: PACIFIC RIM

PrintE-mail Written by Katherine McLaughlin

Pacific Rim Review

Review: Pacific Rim / Cert: 12A / Director: Guillermo del Toro / Screenplay: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro / Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Dieg Klattenhoff, Charlie Day / Release Date: July 12th

For his latest blockbuster movie, Guillermo del Toro has turned for inspiration to Japanese Kaiju movies like Godzilla and filmmakers such as Mamoru Oshii to fashion an almost insanely ambitious tale of giant robots taking on mythical sea creatures. It's an exquisite and intricate mix of his own creations and those that pay homage to sci-fi and monster movie history. The focus is firmly on fun and furious, magnificent battle sequences which start in the depths of the ocean and reach all the way into space. As far as massive scale action and immersive worlds go del Toro achieves an astonishing feat visually.

There are, though, problems with del Toro’s decision in not casting a big name in the lead role, as unfortunately Charlie Hunnam, who plays Raleigh, co-pilot of Gipsy Danger, the oldest functioning Jaeger Mark-3, is not up to the job and is instead out-acted by the supporting thesps. Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi all make a much better fist of getting their jowls round the hammy dialogue. Del Toro has a thing for stiff-upper-lipped British scientists and casts Burn Gorman in this role in a double-act with the maverick American scientist played by Day. It’s very silly, but Day is on form as a super fan of Kaiju - and you can certainly feel del Toro’s passion through this character.

The designs are stunning, but the movie is so large in scale that occasionally it ends up drowning in its own excesses. Nor do the attempts to supply the characters with the usual Screenwriting 101 father/son/daughter issues help, as so many threads are crammed in it’s hard to invest in any in particular. Some of the comical one-liners are pretty cheesy too, but thanks to Charlie Day and Ron Perlman these become something to look forward to in between the booming battle sequences.

The best of del Toro’s previous films had a knack of tapping into history to become something more than spectacle. It's perhaps unfair to expect Pacific Rim to do the same. Instead, del Toro achieves what he’s set out to do, bringing his inventions to life with all the gusto of a mad scientist. There’s originality here and no end of eye candy. Nonetheless, it's hard to escape the feeling that del Toro should be doing something more demanding with his gargantuan talent.

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating:

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0 #5 John SciFi Geek 2013-07-18 20:37

I would argue that the film works to build a story to deal with our current fears in the same way as HG Wells War of the Worlds deals with the fear of invasion, The Original Godzilla gives voice to the fear of radiation and even Shellys Ozimandias which voices the fear of a civilizations death. In this way is Del Toro dealing with today and not the civil wars of yester year.

I think the film also contained a rare economy of story. Every relationship introduced a character, every character presented and articulated a definite point of view of the crisis.

The film paints a multi-polar world, incapable of making sound decisions to save itself. A real world, our world but with a problem that looks good on the screen.
0 #4 John SciFi Geek 2013-07-18 20:36
This was an excellent film. Its premise was simple and over blown, Giant Robots hacking away at Giant Aliens. And with that straight forward metaphor Del Toro took us through a deceptively simple story. A mysterious problem, the aliens, appear and destroys every thing in there path. They are defeated, only to reappear and cause more devastation. Over years the problem grows, sane voices counseling a solution are side lined, Billions and billions are poured in to solutions that will not work, all over the place people lose faith and become desperate.

As the reviewer says, Del Toro does not place this movie in an historical context like Pan's Labyrinth. Instead he is prepared to work within the confines of the present day and our current seemly unstoppable financial crisis.
0 #3 Elisabeth Neveux 2013-07-17 20:25
I have seen the first godzilla movie (in black and white), not so long ago, and this movie had a real character's depht, I even cried in the end...Sometimes I was bored.Here I left with no particular emotion, expected for a scene: the one where you can see Mako as a child, alone in a big city devastated by a kaiju, crying with her red shoe in her hand. I wish the rest of teh movie had teh intensity of that scene!

expected 10/10
Actual 4/10 big big disappointment!
0 #2 Elisabeth Neveux 2013-07-17 20:25
Soo, I saw Pacific Rim with Dwankie Dave few days ago.
I had high expectations for the movies, because the trailer made my eyes sparkle, it was pure eyecandy.
But my first complaint is I felt no attachment to any character. They were flat and lacking life. I don't even remember the protagonist's name (nor his face). Not his fault, it is due to teh lack of character developement. Even Rinko Kikuchi is playing an archeitypical japanese girl (kick ass in Martial arts, but hiding behing a door when she sees a barechest man).
THe monsters were all looking the same.
And the plot was well, dead simple.
0 #1 Dwankie Dave 2013-07-17 20:16
It seems to me that people like Guillermo del Toro so much, and want to like this movie so much that they are blinding themselves to the fact that it is a big disappointment.
The main characters are weak, whiney and cliched. The monsters have none of the originality seen in previous del Toro movies and the robots were nothing we haven't seen before. Oh, and don't get me started on the "comic relief" crazy scientists!!!
I'd have loved to have spent the movie following the Russian or Chinese crews becasue they looked like a lot of fun. Instead we get a drab love story between two wet blankets set amongst a series of fights in the dark which were cut too rapidly for my thirtysomething brain to keep up with.
To me it could have been a Micheal Bay movie.... and had been the director of this everyone would have sharped their knives and hated it, but it seems the charamatic Guillermo del Toro can do no wrong.
Expected 9/10
Actual 4/10

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