With the obvious nod to anime, the plot is simple. Kaiju (monsters) from another dimension break through to ours and wage war on the planet and us humans must do what we can to stop them. So we build giant machines called Jaegers. General audiences are doing the worst thing by comparing this to Transformers or Battleship simply because of some simple image traits. Well I’m here to tell you that you’re way off and also working comparisons in the wrong league. Del Toro has crafted an insane amalgamation of Sci-Fi, old-school thrills, special effects and brilliantly entertaining set pieces that all meld together in beautiful harmony, with just enough satisfying human moments and arcs that carry a nice balance of emotion and camp. It all blends well with the loopiness of it all. Its Guillermo Del Toro’s trademarks turned up to 11, all while going nuts and having fun with his toys. There’s just so much to love, that not even some minor pacing problems or a couple of sub-par performances can destroy the experience. Mainly its in the lesser background characters, but for me I’d say that Charlie Hunnam doesn’t quite shine in the lead. He’s certainly more than commendable, but he just doesn’t break out here. Idris Elba steals the spotlight with a look and a bellowed delivery and its amusing to watch and Rinko Kikuchi has such an incredible skill with her mannerism and in her eyes, that’s its a shock that she isn’t in more films. Ron Perlman comes and goes and works his usual incredible moments.
However, if I can backtrack and talk about Rinko some more, The lead female character is Mako Mori, an aspiring Jaeger fighter, with a painful past. She is portrayed by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, who we should remember was nominated for Best Supporting Actress back in 2006 for her role in “Babel”. Here, she appeared to be confused on how to properly portray her role, so she did not come across too strongly as her character should have been. The films successes go beyond its imagery and continued invention within battle scenes as the script is very economical when it comes to pacing. The films battle scenes are so engaging and exciting due to clearly established stakes present which left me devoid of the “action fatigue” transformers loves to throw my way. And although the Kaiju battles seem to never be in short supply, the film essentially follows the rule of three when it comes to battle sequences and left me oh so satisfied.
Kaiju designs are of course not childish (comparing to Godzilla movies from Japan), as it is more chilling and frightening, since Del Toro’s experience in making “monsters” is beyond perfection. Also the destruction caused by the monsters are illustrated nicely, as we are shown how the earth, cities, and its people are transformed, years after the attack. As for the Jaeger, they have a very excellent design, with various forms, and human pilots (remind us of the mobile suit in Gundam series, or the robot in the movie Robot Jox in the late 80’s), a very unique concept which make a good response for the Kaiju attack in an intense, life risking fight. Like last years Les Miserables, Rim makes the unfortunate error of trying to fit in 3-4 hours worth of storytelling into just over two. Which is unfortunate considering Pacific Rim’s all round story is it’s strongest element. Though taken from many sources, (and by no means, anything that original) it shapes a very well-throughout premise with detail and conviction.
Legendary Pictures have outdone themselves and produced an original film outside of their usual comfort zone i.e. superhero films. We can look forward to Legendary building on their giant monster film experience with “Godzilla” set to release in 2014 through Warner Bros. Entertainment, after which Legendary are rumored to be signing a new contract with Universal Pictures – with the expiration of their Warner Bros. contract at the end of 2014. Pacific Rim is triumphant above the rest of the blockbuster herd. It knows what is missing from the norm and just goes crazy with it. Its a big, giant load of awesome fun. Prepare your jaw muscles, because you’ll be smiling throughout.