Pacific Rim is one of the coolest ideas to put on the big screen, or the small screen for that matter. Huge robots versus Godzilla style monsters is the spectacle that you want it to be and in the hands of a visual master such as Guillermo del Toro, the action sequences never disappoint. It’s just a shame that the story never lives up to the potential the initial idea has.
The main issue with the story is the cliché ridden plot. Each character has a crutch that they must overcome or work through, from dead relatives, “one-last mission” or phobias to battle. This would be fine but these clichés aren’t even presented in new or original ways. You can guess the plot points and how they will then transfer into the larger action spectacles, especially if you have seen any style of huge blockbuster movie from the past twenty years.
The dialogue isn’t much better. Throwaway one-liners and over-dramatic speeches punctuate the movie and stand-out as staged in a cringe-inducing way. It doesn’t help that they are mainly delivered by butch, gruff-voiced men who want to growl at each other rather than deliver any line naturally.
This isn’t down to the cast either. The cast is actually half-decent. Charlie Hunnan plays a lead role with plenty of potential but is lumbered with “dead-relative angst,” Charlie Day and British unknown Burn Gorman play the “comic relief” and most painfully, Idris Elba plays the hard-nosed leader attached to one of the crew. It’s all slightly too dramatic and screams of soap opera.
The saving grace is actually one of the only female characters in the whole movie, Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi. Her story is presented slightly less obviously and overtly dramatic and she gets some of the better moments in the movie. This doesn’t stop her story becoming predictable towards the end of the film though.
The complaints with the story, plots, dialogue and acting can be forgiven because the action sequences are very impressive and ultimately very cool. It’s great to see huge robots beat the living hell out of huge monsters. The designs of both are very imaginative, with the robots (or Jaeger as they are known in the movie), having distinctive designs that tell a story as well as offer a great spectacle.
The movie can suffer from dingy visuals, especially in the final act, with the robots and monsters being difficult to distinguish, but the first few battles make up for this and are worth sitting through the other negatives that the movie presents.
Overall, Pacific Rim is all about the spectacle and unfortunately sacrifices decent storytelling or dialogue to deliver this. The stories are clichéd, the characters are obvious and the resolution of the story is predictable but you will forget all of that the moment you see the first punch between a robot and a monster.
Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)