Putting the terrible jokes aside about the movie’s title, Pacific Rim was everything it said on it’s Jaeger tin.
It was loud, it had some heart and soul and it had Idris Elba. I wasn’t going in expecting this epic movie from director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labryinth, Hellboy) and writer Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans), it was ultimately a nerd’s wet dream of being able to pit massive alien monsters (Kaiju) against massive man-made metal monsters (Jaegers).
Pacific Rim has had a very mixed bag of reviews from critics alike, Daily Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collins calls it “miraculous entertainment”, Anthony Lane from the New Yorker on Rotten Tomatoes says it’s “long, loud, dark, and very wet. You might as well watch the birth of an elephant”, and Total Film manage to compare it to *whispers* Transformers: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is a warmer Transformers… It shares a key niggle with Michael Bay’s metal-on-metal orgies: some of the scraps, you just don’t have the foggiest what you’re looking at”, and worst of all comes from Josh Wilding at ComicBookMovie.com: “It is without a doubt one of the worst movies I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through”. Ouch.
The movie is set in 2020, and opens with a sequence about the alien monsters known as Kaiju that started to rise from the sea after a breach appears. The humans fight against the sea monsters by building huge metal robots known as Jaegers that require two pilots to simultaneously work them and for a while it seems like it’s working. But then disaster strikes Charlie Hunnam‘s (Sons of Anarchy) character Raleigh Becket and he retires from the pilot regime.
Only Idris Elba (Luther, Thor, The Wire) can bring Becket back to the fold to fight in the remaining Jaeger’s before they are decommissioned. I think maybe at this point it does fall into whimsical storyline territory, retired hero returns to become a hero once more, throw in Rinko Kukuchi‘s Mako Mori as potential love interest that doesn’t really have the chance to develop, and you’re looking at every other action flick with a dash of female.
The CGI fights sequences are pretty amazing though, and you can see del Toro’s imagination come to life in the forms the Kaiju take (especially the one that has wings) and the Hong Kong backdrop they fight through, and yeah I guess you could say the Jaeger’s look a little like Transformers but the pilots fighting whilst neurally connected give it a fresh and personal spin.
I think at just over two hours Pacific Rim was a little long, and although Charlie Day is sometimes funny his shouty scientist received too much screen time and the unnecessary side adventure to retrieve a Kaiju brain definitely could have been done off screen even if it did involve an extended cameo from Ron Perlman.
The idea that the world was existing much the same as it is today but fighting the giant monsters from the deep was a great story, but the pay off at the end was way to easy. And the creepy non-sexual hug at the end between Becket and Mako was plain weird, if del Toro was going along the lines of hero gets the girl, why don’t they kiss?