Aliens don’t come from space, instead massive bloody monsters, or “Kaiju”, invade through a dimensional rift deep in the Pacific. In response we build massive bloody robots, or “Jaeger”, to beat up the Kaiju, and defend the planet. Throw in a few paper thin characters, plus a hint of plot, and you have Pacific Rim.

SUMMARY

Pros
Massive monster Vs Massive robots
Looks pretty awesome
Massive budget B-Movie fun

Cons

The characters are one dimensional
The writing is repetitive
Poor performances
Massive budget B-Movie dumb

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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Pacific Rim animPACIFIC RIM
Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Travis Beacham

Charlie Hunnam- Raleigh Becket
Idris Elba – Stacker Pentecost
Rinko Kikuchi- Mako Mori
Ron Perlman- Hannibal Chau

The movie starts off quickly, getting stuck right in to the world: here is the history; here is the technology; this is how it works; here’s some character stuff; here’s the first of several massive scale punch-ups; here’s the title screen. It doesn’t hang around, and you think you’re going to be in for a fun ride.

There are two sides to this movie: The look, and action; then there’s the writing, and performances. The first side is pretty cool; the second is really quite terrible, and takes from whatever successes the visuals bring to the table.

MASSIVE ROBOTS VS MASSIVE-ER MONSTERS

If you’re going to see this movie, you’re going for the spectacle, and there is ample spectacle to behold. The world looks cool. The technology, while clearly being ridiculous, is made somehow believable, and looks incredibly cool. Then when the Jaegers take on the Kaiju, it all looks wicked awesome. Gipsy Danger’s first fight rocks quite a bit, and each subsequent fight incorporates something new. Guillermo del Toro does something unusual, in that his camera doesn’t swirl, wobble and zoom around the action. As a result, you can actually see most of what’s going on. It’s a crazy notion, let’s hope it catches on.

The Kaiju designs are pretty kick ass, with each one seemingly based on a different movie monster, such as: Jaws-zilla; Kong-zilla; Super8-zilla; Dragon-zilla, etc. A lot of the movie seems designed simply to show these monsters off, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does present several daft story moments. The Jaegers are pretty bad ass too, even if there are serious logistical issues with their designs.

There are some human hand-to-hand fights too, and they’re alright. The stick fight wants to be a cool scene with some deep character stuff in it. Alas, it falls short of those lofty aspirations. It is well enough choreographed, but ultimately it is just a bit dumb. The hallway punch-up is pretty cool though.

MASSIVELY FLAWED

Unfortunately, they are pretty much all the good aspects of the movie, as everything else is really rather poor. It starts with the writing, from Travis Beacham and Del Toro. While the concept is pretty neat, everything around that is cased in crap. The characters are paper-thin, at best. Their relationships with each other are molded out of cliches. The dialogue they’re given is dreadful, is mostly exposition, and is repeated way too much. For a movie that is a dumb as it is, it still seems to talk down to the audience, which is more than a little annoying at times. There is also a distinct lack of humor, and what comedy there is, is pretty unsuccessful. Newton’s Cradle…WTF?

Then there are the performances. Right from the opening voice-over you know what you’re in for. Charlie Hunnam‘s voice is incredibly mono-toned, and fails to get you excited, or even involved. He doesn’t get any better, which is problematic as he is the lead. Idris Elba tries, but not even Stringer Bell can rise above the risible writing. Rinko Kikuchi does okay, but doesn’t really have much to do. Then there are the two “hilariously” nerdy scientist types, who are supposedly there for comic relief. This is where writing and performance merge into two deeply annoying characters. Is it the fault of Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, or the writers? Either way, it is bad. In fact, the best performance is the young Asian girl. Her terror is the only believable performance in the whole movie.

The movie is, ultimately, a series of cool looking huge fights, with some other neat looking visuals, strung together with an unfortunate mix of cheesy dialogue, and bad performances. No matter how cool it all looks, it still falls down on the human side. However, it can be enjoyed. This is a terrible B-movie, with a massive A-movie budget. If you like Sharknado, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, or any of those manner of movie, then you could enjoy this.

BOTTOM LINE: MASSIVELY DISAPPOINTING, BUT STILL ENJOYABLE

So… This could’ve been Transformers Vs Godzilla, but ends up being Transformers 3 Vs a Sharktopus style monster. It is a terrible B movie, with a massive budget, and it can definitely be enjoyed for that, but just don’t expect a good movie. This is, undoubtedly, Del Toro’s worst movie to date.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Author

Cathal Ó Míocháin

Cathal Ó Míocháin

What to say...born in the last year of the seventies, the decade of the best music and movies, Cathal's earliest memories are of movies and comics. Star Wars, Batman, Superman and Indiana Jones filled his childhood, and not a whole lot has changed. He lives in Dublin, with his supremely understanding wife. Cathal voice his opinions across the various corners of The IntarWebs: @CatHaloMovies on The Twitter; Cat Halo Movies on The FaceSpace; and on the Major Spoilers Forum, where all manner of opinions are aired by all manner of folk on a wide variety of topics.

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17 Comments

  1. July 15, 2013 at 8:49 am — Reply

    So what you’re saying is… I should watch Sharknado when it re-airs this week… lol

  2. Kirby
    July 15, 2013 at 9:34 am — Reply

    I’m going to respectfully disagree. First are the characters fairly stock? Yes, but I wouldn’t say one-dimensional, you get a feel for who they are & why they act the way they do. The Australian son was a little Ice Man, but when they set up that being a rock star pilot has happened before it makes sense. In all of the kaiju movies I’ve watched, the humans have about as much personality as they do here. There were no real characters that made me want to punch the screen as soon as they opened their mouths; which is something I can’t say for a lot of other summer block busters *cough* Transformers, Superman *cough*

    The exposition felt quick in that we got enough set up, and then moved on, we weren’t subject to ‘and here’s how we went into building the jaegers.’ The dialogue as a whole wasn’t perfect, but it did work, and I don’t really see the talking down to the audience.

    While not all the comedy worked, the Newton’s Cradle, what was there worked for me, and didn’t feel out of place. This is opposed to say the Transformers 3 where it was just groan after groan. Day’s performance felt like a nice blend of his usual shtick with a bit of Hooper from Jaws.

    I thought this was one of the best summer blockbusters I’ve seen in some time, and I will gleefully watch it again and again.

    • July 15, 2013 at 10:14 am — Reply

      I completely agree! If they ever reboot the Transformers franchise, they should take some lessons from this movie.

  3. July 15, 2013 at 10:12 am — Reply

    This movie is exactly what they said it to be: giant robots fighting giant alien dinosaurs. If you expect a deep plot filled with drama, this is not the movie for you.

    I went to watch it expecting cool fighting scenes between the robots and the monsters and I got plenty of that. And if you enjoy anime as I do, you’re gonna love this movie. This is your standard Mazinger Z or Ultraman or Power Rangers episode in a live action format. And it’s a pretty good one.

    • July 15, 2013 at 11:22 am — Reply

      Ultraman and Power Rangers ARE live action, though…

      But I do agree that there may be too much expecting this movie to be something that it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a giant monster vs giant robot movie not unlike a vast number of Japanese tokusatsu films and series, or a live-action giant robot anime, and I think it delivered that pretty well.

  4. July 15, 2013 at 11:22 am — Reply

    I’ll agree that the characters weren’t deep, but I think what I saw was simple, clean characters that didn’t drag the pacing, and still managed to eek out some nice little sparks. It was the same thing I liked about the Wachoski’s SPEED RACER movie; it was just so damn earnest, that I could believe the broad strokes of how the characters were portrayed. After the emotional soup of MAN OF STEEL, I really needed a solid rah-rah adventure film, and this one gave it to me.

    Sure, I wish there were some more introspective character moments in the film, but I’m actually MORE impressed that they didn’t just have Raliegh and Mako fall into each other’s arms immediately. The little forehead bump at the end said plenty, and was amazingly subtle. I actually saw it more as two people who connected and I found it quite sweet.

  5. elinex
    July 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    the critic dont know what he is talking about the movie is awesome see it for yourself! I dont need acting and plot I CAN MAKE A PEN AND PAPER RPG CAMPAIGN IF I wanted acting and a plot.
    I just wanted to be entertained and be immersed in nostalgia.
    this is the movie for you.

  6. elinex
    July 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    sorry for my grammatical chopped up writing, i was in a rush.

  7. July 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm — Reply

    Spoilerites! Ignore this review. Pacific Rim is amazing, and you need to go see it, not only because the movie is fantastic, but because we need to support original scifi/fantasy concepts. Hollywood is taking a gamble on this, and the better it does, the more likely we are to see new concepts rolling onto the big screen.

    Also, I disagree almost entirely with the points made in that review. What movie did he see?

    • Andrew
      July 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm — Reply

      Makes me wonder as well. Saw it twice in IMAX 3D over the weekend.

  8. Cat Halo
    July 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm — Reply

    So…I was hoping for more than just simply Monsters Vs Robots, that Del Toro could bring some of his wit, heart and intelligence to the movie. He didn’t. Instead we have the standard massive scale action and destruction. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Pacific Rim does massive action incredibly well, but I’ve grown weary of vacuous tales, with generic characters, and pointless explosions.
    This is a fair movie. It is okay, but falls short of it’s potential. I enjoyed the spectacle, but it lacked the spark that made Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness particularly good fun Summer movies. But a movie doesn’t necessarily have to be good to be enjoyable. I did enjoy this movie, for what it is, but is it really too much to ask for a little more from our Summer popcorn films?

  9. elinex
    July 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm — Reply

    Exactly Mr. DelToro mentioned in one of his interviews that he is basically paying homage to the Japanese Superrobot Mecha and their Kaiju counterpart franchise that we have grown and loved since childhood. If you see any of these vintage classics their acting is horrible. However, we are still immersed in its entertainment and their all out heroic battles that are still embedded in our hearts. Go see the movie and relive those memories. You definetly will not be dissapointed.

  10. Willard
    July 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    this is a pretty crap review
    i loved the movie.
    and if you’re going into it expecting The Godfather of Robot vs Monster movies….really? reallllyyyy?
    really?
    I didnt think I would like it as much as I would. De Toro came hard and he left me wanting more.

  11. Matthew Peterson
    July 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm — Reply

    Mileage, as always, may vary.

    Let’s not make them mistake of assuming that a viewpoint counter to our own is wrong and keep it civil, thank you.

    • July 16, 2013 at 3:50 am — Reply

      I apologize if my comment sounded in any way aggressive.

      Agree or disagree, I do enjoy reading cathalo’s thoughts on a movie (or the occasional discussion about it on the forums), and I’m really sad that a few folks got a bit aggressive because he didn’t give an “OMGHOWAWESUM” review.

      I still stand by my thought that it was judged as something it wasn’t meant to be, but that is simply my opinion.

      • July 16, 2013 at 10:21 am — Reply

        No apology necessary, just restating policy.

        Discussion is encouraged, disagreement expected. But simply not agreeing with Cat’s review doesn’t mean that he needs to be attacked and/or vilified. Mileage varies, life goes on. :)

  12. b003
    July 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm — Reply

    Con all the action was filmed in BATMAN Dark.

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