Title: Pacific Rim
Genre: Science Fiction / Comic
Watched: October 15, 2013
Summary: A little underwhelmed
I’m a major Guillermo Del Toro fan — Pan’s Labyrinth being one of my favorite films in recent memory. And despite the wonky concept, Hellboy was pretty damn great. So I was fairly excited to check out Pacific Rim, even if giant mechs slugging it out with monsters Godzilla-style is a tad overdone.
Having watched, I’m just not sure what to make of the film. Visually, it’s gorgeous. The fights are good. But the style feels a bit all over the place. The depth of character usually present in Guillermo movies has taken back stage to speeches and impressive cinematography (always in his oeuvre, but not usually so dominant). The whole thing feels like style over substance.
Although the style is pretty satisfying. The film looks and sounds great. There’s a very deliberate red/blue palette and a lot of grand (if implausible) shots. Giant robot heads descend down mile high elevator shafts to land on 70 story bodies. Robots are helicopter lifted only to drop (dramatically) into the ocean. Combatants leap nearly out of the atmosphere. And most importantly, a full sized ship is used as a baseball bat.
Charlie Hunnam, who is generally excellent in Sons of Anarchy, is fine here. He has an inherent like-ability and a manly man style that doesn’t grate. But most of the remaining cast felt like caricatures. The tough black military leader. The obnoxious fellow solider (can we say Top Gun). The geeky science guys. Oh, and we shouldn’t forget Guillermo regular Ron Perlman hamming it up as an alien black market kingpin. This last is actually great fun to watch, but has a camp level in excess of the rest of the film.
I had suspension of disbelief problems with the tech. The whole “need two pilots so we can use half their brains” premise just never made sense. No metal exists strong enough to stand up to the punishment the mechs endure — not to mention the G-forces involved as your giant metal monster falls out of the sky and crashes into the earth (can we say pilot-jelly?). And why do they even have to be INSIDE the mech? Why can’t it be remote control? None of that stuff really matters. After all, it’s a monster vs robot movie, but it bugged me.
Fundamentally, I think the film’s biggest problem is cookie-cutter speech-spouting nature of the dialog. The people didn’t feel real. We know the monsters are fake, that’s not a problem, but the people ought to act like people. It’s an enjoyable film. A decent film even, but it falls considerably short of great.