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.
Massive monster Vs Massive robots
Looks pretty awesome
Massive budget B-Movie fun
The characters are one dimensional
The writing is repetitive
Massive budget B-Movie dumb
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.
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.