Pacific Rim Review

Don’t be fooled into thinking Pacific Rim is another Transformers. The central premise may be giant monsters battling 25-storey high robots, but this is a mesmerising, deafening work of art that should be seen on the biggest screen you can find. Rather than aliens on spaceships, the future is threatened by Kaijus – massive creatures that emerge from the ocean. To combat them, humans develop enormous machines called Jaegers, which are operated inside by two pilots. Eventually, the Kaijus become adept to handling these mechanisms, and only two pilots can save the world: a has-been (Charlie Hunnam) and an emotional rookie (Rinko Kinkuchi). Guillermo del Toro’s love of the Kaiju are fingerprinted in each rendered shot, aiming for beauty over expensive destruction. It is made clear in the first few minutes that Jaeger pilots are celebrities who appear on talk shows. In other words, you’re not following a robot without personality, but a larger representation of Hunnam and Kinkuchi. At the same time, it’s impossible to hate the monsters. They appear in different forms, and each is stunning in movement. The battle scenes are breathtaking – I wouldn’t go as far as using the word “poetry”, but it’s briefly that great fighting can be a dialogue. The opening image inverts stars to the ocean, making clear that the action will take place over the clouds and deep under the water – so that’s above, below, and in your face (if in 3D). And yes, it’s spectacular.

I don’t doubt del Toro’s claim he was allowed complete creative control. It’s a luxury that this kind of blockbuster can exist without dumbed down elements like racial stereotypes or unwarranted adult jokes. The supporting cast are universally excellent. In particular, Charlie Day is a masterstroke as an inquisitive scientist who brings charm and humour – essential in pacing the battle sequences. Idris Elba carries a senior role with typical gravitas, and Burn Gorman throws out hilariously over-the-top lines like, “Numbers are as close as we get to the handwriting of God.” And I can’t miss out Ron Perlman in a scene-stealing role as a criminal mastermind who sells Kaiju body parts on the black market. Pacific Rim sets a new standard for summer blockbusters, much in the way Nolan revitalised the superhero genre. Snyder and Bay could certainly learn a few lessons. It’s definitely worth a trip to the cinema – and if you see something else, you’ll probably hear it through the walls anyway. In other words, it’s a great way to cancel the apocalypse.




out of 10

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