Pacific Rim (2013) Review

Pacific Rim UK posterDirector: Guillermo Del Toro

Writers: Travis Beacham and Guillermo Del Toro

Certificate: 12A    Running Time: 2hr 11 Mins

Cast: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day



side effects rating

Plot: Mankind is invaded by giant monsters from the sea (Kaiju). Giant war robots (Jaegers) are build to defend Earth. As humanity begins losing the battle, an unlikely pair are drafted in to overcome the impending apocalypse.

The return of legendary Spanish filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro is an event in itself, the creator of iconic pictures ‘Pan’s Labrynth’ and ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ is back with a summer blockbuster of momentous proportions. The closest entry in Del Toro’s back catalogue is Hellboy, Pacific Rim eclipses and ominously brushes aside all that has preceded it. Openly stating his intention to create a family film, he certainly delivers on that promise in what is a high octane feast for the senses. The IMAX 3D print is breath-taking in every frame and is a testament to the value of the much maligned format. The masterful Del Toro, influenced heavily by the late Japanese pioneer Ishiro Honda, pays homage to the iconic Japanese monsters of the 1950s such as Gojira (Godzilla) and Radon (Rodan) in the form of the ‘Kaiju’. Mankind’s creation of the colossal robotic war machines, the ‘Jaegers’ (German for hunter) is another nod to Japanese anime’s mecha genre. This has truly global appeal and will undoubtedly strike a chord with one’s inner child.

The ferocious encounters between the Jaegers and Kaiju are depicted with guile and commanding assurance. The imagery on show is remarkably vivid, the conflict spans between the remarkable illustration of space to the streets of Kabul, Pacific Rim is the most expensive action film of the year. However, the feature undoubtedly suffers from frustratingly superficial drama between the two protagonists. A pair of damaged souls seeking retribution and redemption for contrasting reasons, the neural bridge scenes offer rare moments of poignancy as we learn of the characters tragic back stories. Damaged spirits harbour the most powerful human emotions, the loss of a loved one forms the underlying thematic device upon which Del Toro weaves his artistry. Albeit in all too fleeting moments of heartfelt resonance.

The element of trust required to operate a Jaeger relies on trust, the unconditional willingness to comprehend and meet your partner half way to achieve equilibrium. Del Toro presents all the ingredients needed for a prosperous relationship without ever retreating into a tale of romance. The dialogue feels markedly outdated and overwhelmingly pretentious, the imperious Idris Elba deserves credit for commanding the screen despite having very little to play with. The talented Rinko Kukuchi is the clear standout performer and her mere presence is enough to distract from the poorly casted, impetuous scientists.

Those seeking to be blown away by Pacific Rim’s sensory experience will not be disappointed. Del Toro has actualised a wondrous sphere of existence, overflowing with the effervescence of a child’s boundless imagination. The visual impact is clearly where the efforts have been concentrated resulting in a diluted, fervid concoction of emotional fare. Die-hard Del Toro fans may have been hoping for a more elaborate subversive plot, this is Del Toro enjoying himself and whisking his audience away in the process.