Guys: imagine the movie you always wanted to make as a kid with your action figures. Ladies: imagine the movie you’ll have to watch with your boyfriend to make up for all those Twilight forced viewings. Pacific Rim is one of those movies that scan only come from boyhood fantasies- and director Guillermo del Toro has admitted as much in interviews. Basically, the kaiju (Godzilla’s extended family) start attacking periodically from a rift in the Pacific Ocean, so humanity constructs Jaegers (Transformers on steroids) to take them out, because reasons. Look, I’m not going to pretend this is Shakespeare.
To nobody’s surprise, Pacific Rim doesn’t have the most original story. The plot really doesn’t have any twists to spoil- this is a straight-up giant-robots-vs.-giant-monsters action fest, and the film never plays it any other way (although seeing its take on culture’s reactions to real monsters was interesting). Some movies are just made for spectacle, not substance. And that’s a good thing. The special effects are great; the 3D actually helps, and to be honest an overly complicated plot or deep message would just get in the way of the film’s purpose (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence). I remember getting happy chills in the crazy opening shot of an outrageously massive creature looming over the San Francisco bridge.
What is hard to swallow, however, are some of the overused character tropes and the shoehorned romance subplot. Take a look at the picture below. Do I even have to tell you they’re going to become some type of couple? That maybe they have to get over their differences first and “prove their worth?” If this spoiled the surprise for you, you just failed Common Movie Themes 101. Withdrawal forms are available in the back of the classroom. To be honest, Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi weren’t annoying as, say, other action movie main characters, nor were they bad actors. They just didn’t have much to work with. Basically, when the characters’ little subplots were happening, all I could think about were when the epic monster-robot fights in the ocean and cities would come back. Some side trails were just a little too long (random scientists, I’m looking at you guys). Idris Elba‘s character Pentecost would be the one exception for me personally- I enjoyed every scene he appeared in (not to mention he delivered every quotable line in the film).
To conclude, Guillermo del Toro has out-Michael-Bay’d Michael Bay. This is more extravagant, impressive, and dare I say grown up than Transformers (not that that’s hard to do). What do I mean by that? Well, there are no Shia Lebeouf’s, Megan Fox’s, racist robots, peeing robots, robot privates, awkward moments, and did I mention Shia Lebeouf isn’t in this film? Okay, maybe I just don’t like Shia Lebeouf (or any other actor in those travesties). In short, this movie knows what it wants to be and sticks to it. Get the guys together, see it in 3D, and high-five repeatedly- the kid in you will be grateful.