Pacific Rim Review

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With record breaking box office sales in its first opening week and whispers of a sequel, Guillermo Del Torros Pacific Rim came crashing into our cinemas like a Kaiju looking for a fight with a Jaeger! If you haven’t already seen the ads or posters boasting city sized transformer type robots squaring off against Godzilla type monsters then the plot is simply that…city sized robots (known as Jaegers) engaged in what can only be described as WWF smack-down with an array of giant dinosaur looking monsters (knows as Kaiju) and this film sure does deliver the punches.

With a string of successful fantasy/horror films (such as Hellboy, Pans Labyrinth, and Mama), Del Torro is broadening his view and taking on the sci-fi genre. A wise choice taking the already well-established Godzilla B movie, blending it together with other sub genres, and adding his own over the top (almost iconic) style with hugely enjoyable results. It would be easy to dismiss this is just another 'big robots' action film, but if you are familiar with Torro's unique comic book style (look no further than Hellboy) then you know you are in for a treat.

Instead of the usual 'introduction' to a film where a city is suddenly taken over by a seemingly unstoppable force, Pacific Rim takes place in the future after the events of a major invasion. Following a voice over introduction by Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket), we are then thrown into the 'present' world war setup where the humans are on the losing side to the otherworldly creatures entering from the depths of the sea via an inter-dimensional portal called the rift. Immediately this film has set itself apart by creating a world where the influence of the Kaiju has changed everything. From a crumbling economy and lives of the working class who assist the war in working on defensive city walls, the 'armed forces' team up in pairs to mentally join together inside the giant machines to defend against the invading monsters. Visually this film does a great job of reflecting a ruined cityscape; everything has a used damaged and pieced together feel, with Japanese visuals saturating most of what’s left in a kind of east meets west future (reminded me of something out of Bladerunner or Serenity).

The designs of the creatures themselves are one of the main focuses of the film and they really are awe-inspiring and otherworldly (bioluminescent sea creatures crossed with dinosaurs comes to mind). As with the robots, each Kaiju has its own style and personality/behaviour. This helps to keep a lot of the action sequences fresh and exciting. Just when you think you are going to get bored of seeing entire streets of buildings demolished as metal clashes against lizard flesh, a new 'mechanism' of attack is unleashed. Whether it be a spray of luminous acidic spit, a bio-electric shockwave or a Jaeger spouting a huge samurai-type sword, you can’t help but feel like a wide eyed excitable teen ready to stand up, throw your popcorn and cheer at the fight!

This is a film you can just sit back and enjoy for what it is. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but knows exactly what it strengths are and shows them off to its fullest. Unlike some recent sci-fi trends, which attempt to be more slick, mature, and thought provoking but lose some of the charm, Pacific Rim is full to bursting with charm and humour in all the right places. All of the characters are complete over the top stereotypes and do not shy away from it. In fact they bask in it as though they are characters straight from an Anime comic. From the fearless (yet big softie at heart) commander Pentecost (Idris Elba), to the shy yet determined badass Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi). All of the characters have the spotlight and a backstory, and not just as a means to further the lead characters story arc. The Interplay between Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) is unbelievably tongue in cheek but you can’t help but laugh along and enjoy it.

Pacific Rim is an experience best had on the big screen. I suggest any hardened cynical film critic to leave their reservations at the door and enjoy what this film has to offer, clichés and all. Maybe not the complete film, but a bold, highly enjoyable blockbuster definitely.