When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.
Guillermo del Toro is a filmmaker who appears to be attached to a number of projects at any one time, while it’s been five years since his last directorial work on the film ‘Hellboy 2: The Golden Army’, he’s been a busy man in a producing role not to mention of course his early involvement on the Hobbit.
‘Pacific Rim’ drops audiences into the middle of a war, and makes no apologies for it. A brief narrative on the recent history of mankind brings everyone up to speed on the essentials and from there it wastes no time in getting to the point. The intended balance between exposition, character development, and action sequences becomes almost instantly obvious as even before the title sequences begins the film reveals a visceral action sequence setting the tone for the next 130 minutes.
With a reported production budget of $180 million it’s clear where the bulk of this funding was spent, as ‘Pacific Rim’ unleashes some excellently thought out, and well articulated fight scenes between mankinds hulking Jaeger’s and the invading Kaiju. Based on sheer entertainment factor alone ‘Pacific Rim’ is hard not to recommend, the visual effects eye candy simply looks brilliant, and not only in terms of the creatures and mechs trading blows but the environments, the weather effects, and the ravaged urban landscapes are all gorgeous to look at.
From a design point of view, and as you might expect from del Toro’s previous efforts, the creatures are designed in an outlandish, ugly, and terrifically interesting fashion, and are visually very engaging. Mankinds mechs are far more subdued and functional, lacking any real flair next to their creature counterparts and these two styles play off quite effectively.
Putting those elements aside the film starts to become far more mediocre, ultimately the plot is largely unoriginal but serviceable in fuelling the main highlights of the film. Much of the dialogue is clunky and unnatural and the film is packed with story elements lacking any logical sense but at the same time is adept at keeping things moving to avoid the audience dwelling on anything for more than a few moments.
The cast of characters are very much one note, though each of them has at least has one decent character angle to play on. While this isn’t necessarily the kind of characterisation to aspire to have in a film, a good cast can help mask these sorts of short comings and ‘Pacific Rim’ proves to be largely hit and miss with its cast.
Idris Elba, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman all turn in solid performances with little scope for much diversity in their characters, and both Max Martini and Robert Kazinsky are solid also. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi however struggle to find much sense of on screen chemistry and consequently aren’t able to deliver any real sense of drama between their respective characters. Charlie Hunnam however appears the less compelling of the two, delivering some very flat dialogue at times, though is effective in bringing physicality to the role which works well.
There’s no denying that ‘Pacific Rim’ will dazzle and entertain audience, it is without a doubt a lot of fun to watch and is certainly better off for the involvement of Guillermo del Toro who’s artistic influence is obvious from the level of detail and care taken with not just the creature elements but all design aspects in the film. I’m giving it six out of ten stars, and it’s in cinemas around Australia from Thursday 11th July 2013.