Any time Guillermo del Toro’s name is attached to project, you should take notice. This director has proven his visionary abilities time and again with wonderful creature designs and solid storytelling in works like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. Pacific Rim is just as ambitious, though it comes up shy of amazing.
Admittedly and unmistakably inspired by classic kaiju films and mecha anime, Pacific Rim is the story of humanity’s last stand against giant monsters from a different dimension. Humanity was caught off guard by the sudden arrival of the first monster – referred to as Kaiju in the film – and after several other sporadic attacks, humanity banned together to stand against the invasion. The result of this massive team-up is the creation of the first Jaegers, massive humanoid tanks piloted by teams of neurally synchronized soldiers. There is no denying that this is a great concept, and in action, the action is amazing. This is exactly what most little boys (and tomboys) dream about when it comes to giant monsters and robots. It’s the people stuff, the drama, that doesn’t quite work out.
I won’t get into the various subplots and what not, but the most important of those is a little will-or-won’t-Mako-be-a-pilot thing. It’s actually resolved withing the first 15-20 minutes of it lines introduction, but this thread (and most of the others) are dragged out over about an hour in the middle of the film, set between two incredible fights. This hour is boring. Really boring. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, the trailer spoils most of the drama that is supposed to be the focus of the portion of the movie, and none of it really matters. If about 30 minutes of this midsection had been trimmed out, i think the overall movie would have been better.
In the end, del Toro’s vision is still awesome in this outing. The fights are really exhilarating, even-though the action shots inside the cockpits are often too chaotic to make out. Idris Elba is the strongest cast member here, but no one really is tasked with doing a whole lot. If you want to good reason to throw back some expensive popcorn and forget to think for 2 hours, Pacific Rim is a blast.