Movie review: Pacific Rim - designed to destroy

Published: September 8, 2013
In an attempt to save humanity, Pacific Rim flirts with self-destruction.

In an attempt to save humanity, Pacific Rim flirts with self-destruction.

Pacific Rim plays like a live-action version of a Japanese anime. With epic battles between gigantic, alien monsters and equally imposing mecha operated by humans, director Guillermo del Toro manages to successfully create every guy’s childhood fantasy.

Written by del Toro and Travis Beacham, the movie stars Charlie Hunnam, popular for his role in Sons of Anarchy, as the narrator and lead protagonist, and alongside him is Japanese actress and Academy Award nominee, Rinko Kikuchi. Together, with a supporting cast that includes the likes of Idris Elba, the fearless leader of Jaeger pilots, Ron Perlman, a black market, ‘monster parts’ dealer, and Charlie Day, a wacky scientist, they strive to defend the world against CGI-animated, menacing aliens called the Kaiju, using enormous robots, called Jaegers. The robots are operated by two pilots working in tandem as the last line of defense for a desperate human race.

The breadth of del Toro’s imagination is best at work in the battle scene between the Jaegers and the Kaiju. Battles in the ocean, on the shore and in metropolitan cities are filmed and displayed with such cinematic perfection that they leave the audiences hypnotised. The only downside is the excessive rain that obscures what is perhaps the best part of the movie — the no-holds-barred fighting.

In order to justify the $190 million budget of the movie, and to appeal to a wider, non-anime or robot-loving audience, del Toro has tried to foray into the psyche of the protagonists to give them more flesh and blood. This is, however, where the movie flounders. It tends to drag at times, especially when the director tries to establish the relationship between Raliegh and Mako. The typical boy-meets-girl story seems forced and unnecessary and what’s worse, remains inconclusive as to whether they are merely friends or something more.

The attempt to inject mild humour into the movie, in the form of comic relief, also falls flat. Although well-intended, the dialogue and scenes come off as forced and trite. If nothing, it just makes del Toro appear a bit desperate. Also, some of the scenes in this sci-fi fantasy serve no real purpose other than padding out the length of a film, and could have easily been removed in editing. But if you are a fan of gigantic, metal giants, then the long, drawn-out action sequences are sure to keep you awake and attentive during the entire course of the movie.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • sick of this nonsense
    Sep 8, 2013 - 8:03PM

    the best movie for me this year along with world war z. superbly executed, giant robots, monsters, whats not to like?


  • Zed
    Sep 8, 2013 - 8:47PM

    I actually thought that leaving the boy meets girl story unanswered was a stroke of genius. It allowed the movie to be something other than just another love story set in a fast paced action packed world


  • Common Sense
    Sep 8, 2013 - 11:06PM

    The relationships between the characters as well as the humor was really not as terrible as you claim. In fact, Mako and Raleigh are portrayed in a uniquely platonic union, as opposed to the typical hollywood romance.

    The humor isn’t shoved in your face, and it plays itself humbly, without detracting dramatically from the film, either.

    Overall, this is a fun movie that can be watched again and again, with appeal for kids and adults.

    Now stop bashing this film and support Del Toro for a sequel.


  • JD
    Sep 9, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Its a pretty decent movie. Definitely not as bad as the author portrayed.


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