Directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is a science-fiction monster film set in a dystopian future when legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, rise from the sea from an inter-dimensional portal on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. On the brink of a war that would take millions of lives and consume all of humanity’s resources, a special type of weapon is devised to combat the giant Kaiju: massive robots called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. On the verge of defeat, commanding officer Stacker Pentecos (Idris Elba) turns to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) – who, together, stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
Visually mind-blowing, full of exhilarating battles and impressive CGI, this monster sci-fi wasn’t quite the summer blockbuster I was hoping for it to be.
With the adrenaline peaking and falling rapidly throughout, Pacific Rim felt like it was a rollercoaster of a film by hitting and missing its biggest qualities on and off. Whilst exciting and enjoyable in parts, the main reason for this “hit and miss” effect, for me, was that the characters, cast and their performances all seemed a little muddled. Leads Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba give good performances, but their hard faces contrast painfully with more comical characters played by the likes of Charlie Day and Burn Gorman as the two scientists and the Kaiju organ dealer played by Ron Perlman. Two different tones were set very early on with these conflicting performances, and it was hard to know where to stand in the middle of it all. This was further reflected in the robots themselves, as the supposedly undefeatable and colossal machines were easily knocked down and torn to pieces. The whole film just felt as if anything intended to be epic was never allowed to make its point, never quite reaching the potential such a big budgeted sci-fi blockbuster could and should.
Del Toro’s influence was obvious throughout, however, but whilst the monsters were very derivative of his style, I don’t think he took the chance to fully express his brilliantly expanding imagination, only seeming to bring to life the smallest ideas he had going on his creative mind. In the end, it all came down to this recurring thought of missed potential.
Pacific Rim is set to be released on DVD on 11th November.