Pacific Rim Review

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Pacific Rim 3D – Cert 12

Reviewed by Simon Hooper

Warner Bros’ recent release, Man of Steel, saw an apocalyptic fight to the death between Superduperman and General (What a) Zod, where they laid waste to an entire city. Some anorak calculated that the cost of repairing the destruction would be around $700 billion (although a Barry the Bodge my local builder said he’d do it for £300 cash in hand, no VAT). Warner now release Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. This is yet another exercise in grand scale construction carnage as Del Toro’s monsters from the deep battle giant robots  and flatten major cities with their fisticuffs. I can only conclude that the company must be major shareholders in building companies. But if they must do this then I wish they were a little more selective. Laying waste to Leicester, for instance, would cause millions of pounds worth of improvements.

And that ultimately is the plot. Opening with a husky voiceover to explain what’s going on – which can be boiled down to, ‘Arrrggghhhh monsters!!!!’ the world pulls together to build a defence mechanism called Jaegers, more commonly known as giant bloody robots. Let the chaos  commence! And it does in spectacular style with monsters ripping robots apart and robots punching monsters in the face with 50 ton metal fists. And that really is it. Because it goes on and on like this more or less for the next 2 hours. There is some back story about the robots having to be operated by 2 pilots who have to meld their minds with the robot and each other which in turn lays bare their personal memories, but this takes a backseat to the big screen bedlam. And it’s the big screen that this is really suited to, because the impact will be greatly reduced in your living room even if you do watch it in 3D!

Dialogue is riddled with cliché, ‘You disobeyed a direct order’, ‘Don’t ever touch me again!’ and utter tosh such as, ‘Today we cancel the Apocalypse!’ with Idris Elba giving Bill Paxton’s Independence Day President  a run for his money in spouting patriotic cobblers. Elba is a fine actor but why he took this guff is beyond comprehension, although his performance  stands out from  the rest of the cast – all blond interchangeable hunks mumbling macho clichés at each other.  Other cast members include two stereotypical squabbling professors arguing over how the monsters can be defeated and a Japanese pilot traumatised by a childhood memory. There’s also a role for the director’s favourite actor, Ron Perlman.

This is the first film Del Toro has directed since 2008’s Hellboy II, another big budget demolition fest. His lower budgeted but infinitely better scare stories seem a lifetime away.  For this movie he seems to have had – literally – a crash course at the Michael Bay school of filmmaking, because Pacific Rim is nothing more than Transformers vs Godzilla. He clearly loves his monsters, which are exquisitely created and lovingly rendered, a fan boy dream.  The film has some nice detail amongst the broad brushstrokes and it makes a change for the climactic scene not to be set in a city, but ultimately this is a big video game writ large.

If you enjoyed playing Rock-em, Sock-em Robots then this is the film for you, if not, stick to Del Toro’s  superior foreign language ghost stories – Can we have another Pan’s Labyrinth please, Guillermo?

Now, must ring a stockbroker and get some shares in Wimpey Construction.

PACIFIC RIM 3D is released 12th July 2013