As I left my screening of Pacific Rim this past Friday I overheard a mother asking her son “What was your favourite part of the movie then?” His reply was simple “All of it!” he yelled whilst pretending to be a robot with his friend. This for me seemed the perfect anecdote for just why I loved Pacific Rim so much. Truth be told I wish that I could have been that young again; if this movie achieved anything, it reminded me exactly what it was like to be that child, living in awe of the spectacle of cinema and ultimately big robots and monsters punching the hell out of each other.
The plot of Pacific Rim is surprisingly simple: Huge monsters, known as Kaiju have risen from the bottom of the ocean with the sole intent of killing every inhabitant of the planet. The humans, soon realising the danger they are under develop their own monsters. Huge robots manned by humans known as the Jaegers. After years of fighting the Kaiju, the world’s leaders decide to shut down the Jaeger programme, leaving the Marshall of the programme no choice but to rally his troops for one final battle before it’s too late.
One thing that shines through with this movie is Guillermo Del Toro’s undeniable enthusiasm and love for cinema. It is quite clear that this is the movie Del Toro would have loved to have seen as a little boy.
What the film ultimately amounts to is a big dumb summer film. I’m not suggesting you have to take your brain with you to this film; as a matter of fact you can leave it at the door and just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
The dialogue very much has its tongue firmly in cheek and manages to supply us with a very funny and at times very human approach, one which has been clearly lacking from any sort of robot movie in recent years. Whilst the visuals are also incredible, Del Toro’s attention to detail and craftsmanship has always made movie geeks week at the knees and this is no exception. Everything in the movie looks absolutely phenomenal and the fact that most of the fights take place either at night or at sea adds an extra depth to this movie, one that even made it enjoyable in 3D!
Cheesy as hell and often hilarious to boot Pacific Rim provides the audience with just enough laughs to guide us through the less action packed segments of the movie. One criticism of the film is perhaps that for a good half an hour we are left waiting for more action whilst the plot does little to develop. The characters, as amusing as they are, are nothing more than a bunch of Top-Gun esque caricatures who when left to ‘develop’ do become a little sterile. The inclusion of a sub plot about two scientists trying to find a way of defeating the monsters wasn’t a good idea, the characters, intended to be funny turn out to be nothing short of frustrating and ultimately the sub plot amounts to what is a very predictable outcome though it does allow for the arrival of Ron Perlman who gives us perhaps the movies best comedic turn.
The inevitable comparisons between this and Michael Bay’s abysmal Transformers series have already begun and whilst it is true that Pacific Rim may owe a debt of gratitude to Transformers this film should definitely not be put in the same category. It’s seem so simple now it’s been done but the inclusion of humans into the robots instantly elevates it above Bay’s movies, this simple addition meant that we have something/someone to care about and thus elevates it to a much higher level. On a brief side note the sexual politics of the movie also push it way above Bay’s misogynistic trash; where Bay has close up shots of Megan Fox’s arse constantly GDT has given us a solid female character, one who at times is braver than the men and can certainly match them blow for blow, this alone is commendable.
Verdict: Guillermo Del Toro has hit all the right notes with this movie. Cheesy as hell, visually stunning and at times even hilarious this film is perfect for a warm summer’s afternoon. One of, if not the best blockbuster so far this year.