Reviews

Pacific Rim

4

Aliens vs LED-ators

“The deeper you bond, the better you fight,” Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) tells two co-warriors. Syncing emotion with action with more action, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is a warmer Transformers – or Real Steel writ extra-large, complete with dad issues and hardware that’s a bit lumbering but gets the job done. Something that could be said of the movie itself.

It shares a key niggle with Michael Bay’s metal-on-metal orgies: some of the scraps, you just don’t have the foggiest what you’re looking at. Otherwise, though, we’re dealing with a different model of FX-engorged blockbusting. One that’s steeped in affection and sincerity and doesn’t go in for jarringly crass stereotypes, slapstick or sex gags.
 
The pre-title sequence nails a balance between exposition, character development and mass destruction, as Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Becket voiceovers the state of the play (invading aliens from an under-sea portal are combated by robots steered by two pilots sharing a mind-link called ‘The Drift’), before tragedy hits and he’s out of the game… Until, of course, soldier-boss Pentecost pulls him back in.
 
After the opening rumble, it’s a good hour before the Kaiju (them) and the Jaegars (us) have a rematch. No problem: GdT uses the downtime to get our heads around Drift-ing, which boils down to a not-too-mawkish metaphor for human connection.

Strutting and soulful, Hunnam is the hero, but the film’s heart belongs to Babel Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi, who overcomes plucky-rookie-battling-inner-demons clichés with unstudied sweetness. Plus a few cool moves in the training dojo.

Elba is suitably commanding (and gets a corny-but-rousing Independence Day moment), Ron Perlman shark-grins through an extended cameo and there are two highly-strung scientists (Charlie Day, Burn Gorman) you think are going to annoy but grow to tolerate. 
 
And this being GdT, the creatures are beautifully ugly creations: machete-faced, blue-acid-barfing, multi-tail-lashing… infused with less of Pan’s Labyrinth’s poetry perhaps, though there’s a Harryhausen-like pulp majesty to their stately wrestles with the Jaegars.

You just wish, goggling as they thrash across cities, seas, space and beyond, that your view wasn’t so clogged with embers, sparks, mist, neon and rain, rain, rain.

Still, such is the goodwill GdT marshals elsewhere – the little sight gags, the generosity towards all characters, good or douche-y, the sheer childlike delight in building a massive made-up world - you don’t really mind not knowing which robot the severed arm that just flew across the screen belongs to.

Verdict:

A huge, CGI-heavy popcorner that still feels personal. Come for the epic monster-on-mecha showdowns, stay for the likeable humans.

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Film Details

User Reviews

    • apo1978

      Jul 8th 2013, 12:14

      Wasn't convinced after the initial teaser, but each trailer has got better and better. Looking forward to this!

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    • Ali1748

      Jul 8th 2013, 13:43

      Looking forward to Pacific Rim, GDT usually delivers.

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    • TheShamrock

      Jul 10th 2013, 11:23

      I was always going to enjoy this film regardless of the review - monsters vs giant robots is a winning combo!But the human element in these big monster movies is always key to its success - so glad to read they've got that down. Plus I dont mind that the robots/monsters are a little hidden away, it lets your imagination run with it

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    • garyu2

      Jul 12th 2013, 8:52

      Acting looks dreadful. Who is this Elba dude and why is he getting work? He should be a Holby City extra!

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    • ManFromLaramee

      Jul 12th 2013, 10:03

      "...and doesn’t go in for jarringly crass stereotypes, slapstick or sex gags..." What, you mean there's not going to be any giant swaying steel robot balls in this one?

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    • joegilmartin

      Jul 12th 2013, 11:17

      garyu2 wow go see a hospital soon because I think you've been hit hard in the head, it can only explain your post of complete ignorance. Just in case your wondering Ignorance isn't bliss its just dumb. Watch Luthor and feel ready to change your mind. How can you say the acting looks bad in a 2 hr film from a 2 minute clip come on!?!? Judgement should be reserve for after the fact otherwise you end up looking stupid. But maybe your use to that if your regular entertainment is Holby City

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    • spid2411

      Jul 12th 2013, 16:35

      4

      Saw this - thought it was a blast and more than made up for the big summer disappointment that was Man of Steel (which was so disappointing) . It is proof that creative artists should be in charge of these kind of films (like Peter Jackson on LOTR or Chris Nolan on Batman) rather than a******ns like McG or Bay. Same one dimensional characters and thin plot but it is executed with such skill, love and reverence for the Kaiju that it blows away the usual dross studios churn out in the summer.

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    • Ali1748

      Jul 12th 2013, 18:25

      Man of Steel kicked a*s.

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    • spid2411

      Jul 13th 2013, 17:37

      Man of Steel was good for one hour then total s**te the minute Zod turned up on a wave of CGI chaos that never seemed to stop. Weird plot holes too - can't breathe properly on Zods ship as the Krypton atmosphere is thinner...but is perfectly fine breathing in outer space. Bollocks.

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    • Ali1748

      Jul 14th 2013, 17:52

      4

      Pacific Rim was a lot of fun.

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    • SiMan

      Jul 15th 2013, 13:28

      4

      Enjoyable, if forgettable film from someone who clearly enjoys creating weird and supernatural type stories. It was a little hard to see what was going on during some of the fights, but nothing too distracting. It was hard to read some of the translations in 3D though - something i've noticed in other 3D films. That made my eyes hurt a little. One thing about the polt though - **SPOILERS MAYBE** they're trying to close the 'bridge' with that massive bomb, but what's to stop another one just being opened up again later?

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    • dex2010

      Jul 15th 2013, 16:25

      3

      mindless fun! nothing special.

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    • batt101

      Jul 16th 2013, 10:21

      GdT on auto pilot here, however Im sure kids will love it. Add this one to the list of disappointing summer blockbusters, in fact has there been a decent one this year? If so Ive not seen it....

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    • jasonoconnor

      Jul 17th 2013, 14:39

      5

      is it just me or are film getting better each time

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    • apo1978

      Jul 18th 2013, 12:13

      3

      It’s awesome! No, it’s terrible! Oooh cheesy! Yikes, that’s some bad acting! Wow, those are annoying characters! Haha, that was fun! All these thoughts circled around my mind during Pacific Rim’s pure B-movie nonsense. However, upon further reflection, I was left a bit disappointed with this being a Del Toro film. I expected more from the man who gave us Hellboy 2 and the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth. Add it to the “slightly disappointed” pile along with Man Of Steel.

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    • Hadouken76

      Jul 19th 2013, 22:10

      3

      There were some good ideas in this movie, let down by some awful dialogue and corny moments. The two bickering scientists were good fun, with much needed humour. It wasn't as emotionally involving as your usual GDT fare, save for a flashback. But entertaining and at least its not a sequel or comicbook adapt.

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    • davidnelson

      Jul 21st 2013, 0:39

      4

      Good story and even better fight scenes. Warrants the four stars it's been given

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    • FBJBottomley

      Jul 30th 2013, 0:43

      5

      It’s been a good summer so far, not bad at all but distinctly lacking that one big 5 star experience. There have been ups (Man of Steel, Star Trek: Into Darkness), downs (Iron Man 3, After Earth) and shocks (World War Z). Yet that one big 5 star experience has been absent, until now. Guillermo del Toro’s monster movie is far more than big robots clobbering beasts, it is a lesson in how to do spectacle cinema. The effects are magnificent and the action is ferocious but what is more impressive is the heart. This has been made with a love and affection that is unprecedented for many films of this kind. The film is homage to creature features and Japanese manga and the actors are all involved. If you are quick to pick apart performances and dialogue here, frankly you have missed the point of this decade’s best monster movie. See it in brilliant 3D and stay after the initial credits.

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    • clintmagnum

      Aug 18th 2013, 12:53

      3

      Much better than I was expecting. Guillermo Del Torro usually delivers soemthing above average. I hate the Transformers style fluff but this offered a bit more depth and was acted with conviciton (apart from the woeful ecentric english scientisit character!).

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    • matthewbrady

      Sep 11th 2013, 21:37

      5

      best action movie of the year

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