Review: “Pacific Rim”

Review: “Pacific Rim”

Review: “Pacific Rim”
July 12
14:50 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Rating: 3/5

As children, we all carried a great sense of wonder with us. While it may be stored away now that we are older, it was a strong attribute when we were young and our imaginations ran wild. Writer-director Guillermo del Toro, who soared to imaginative heights when he directed 2006’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” brings back that childhood wonderment with his new and visually stimulating creature feature titled “Pacific Rim.”

In the film, audiences are thrown into a world where mankind regularly battles against giant beasts from another world that are capable of leveling cities. As the war rages on, former pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and trainee Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) pair up to operate a special weapon in a daring effort to save the world from extinction.

From a technical standpoint, there is a lot to admire in “Pacific Rim.” The fight sequences between the monsters, known as “Kaijus,” and human-piloted robots called “Jaegers” are riveting. The creature designs leave one in awe because of their sheer scale and destructive power. The special effects department and animators did a splendid job of making this world feel genuine and real.

Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam fight to save humanity in "Pacific Rim." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

However, that being said, everything else in the movie falls a bit flat due to a weak script from del Toro and Travis Beacham, who released the kraken in “Clash of the Titans” (2010). The uninspired dialogue and character traits are supposed to make us care, but are so over the top that the movie never truly connects on an emotional level. The mediocre acting, especially from Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), whose acting chops can only be compared to Keanu Reeves, doesn’t lend a hand in the movie’s strength. The only performances worthy of recognition are Idris Elba (“Prometheus,” 2012) and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Elba steals the spotlight as the leader of the Jaeger Program with his bellowed delivery, and as expected, Day provides some effective comedic relief as a quirky yet highly intelligent scientist.

As far as summer blockbusters go, “Pacific Rim” has a deliciously simple plot: giant monsters versus giant robots. How much you enjoy this popcorn piece depends on whether you expect more than that. If so, then you better takes your movie money elsewhere because you’re going to walk away disappointed by the simplicity of this apocalyptic spectacle. But this movie latches onto one unusual conceit and goes absolutely crazy with it. So if you’re willing to let the hackneyed dialogue and subpar acting slide, then “Pacific Rim” is good old-fashioned fun.

“Pacific Rim” opens today.

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