“Haven’t you heard Mr. Beckett? The world is coming to an end.”
Trying to find a lovable and spectacular monster-robot movie amidst the wooden dialogue and tired cliches is the challenge when watching Guillermo del Toro’s summer blockbuster Pacific Rim. Most will find this an easy task after feeling the post-Transformers pessimism of the trailers replaced by a jaw dropping sequence of Jaeger versus Kaijuas battles. There are some however, myself included, who are perfectly willing to see past a lack of story and character as long as the action emanates a brutal charm in the ilk of Manga or Harryhausen. Instead, as impressive and entertaining as some of the film is, it is not enough to prevent an overall viewing experience that leaves me feeling slightly short-changed.
There is not even time to reach down for your popcorn before the viewer is catapulted through an unbelievably long introduction that explains the origin of both the enemy Kaiju and our heroes, the Jaegers. The cast become instant puppets in the plot’s development into a last-stand scenario that pits a group of pilots and their Jaegers, against an upcoming influx of enemy monsters. These monsters are busting through a dimensional tear in the Pacific ocean floor and although the human race has kept them at bay, the frequency is becoming too much for the Jaeger resistance to bear. Enter the heroic band of humans, led by Stacker Pentecos, a Jaeger veteran with a preference for saving young Asian girls, who make a stand against the wave of monsters.
The Kaiju themselves, although all with different names and categories in a nicely archaic Godzilla type fashion, start to look all too similar by the end and it becomes difficult to establish true threats from cannon fodder. This is probably the movie’s biggest mistake in allowing backdrops to repeat and the action becomes desperate in its need for originality. But even a cynic can see the ambition and idealism in Del Toro’s monster flick as we are taken from the depths of the ocean to the edge of our atmosphere in epic style. Therefore, if what you are expecting , or perhaps desire, is to be wowed by true nuclear adventurism the likes of which we have not seen in some years, then Pacific Rim will keep you entertained and perhaps even astounded. For others wanting a bit more meat on their bones, I would only recommend it for the visual experience alone.
Shapstik Verdict: Although Del Toro directing giant robots and even bigger alien monsters sounds like the perfect blockbuster to sink your teeth into, the film would have benefited from a darker, satirical edge to the plot and dialogue, which would have at least gone some way to fill in the emptiness left in between battle sequences. 6/10