Guillermo Del Toro’ s Pacific Rim is exciting and fun entertainment, even if there are cliches I did not expect from a film directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I mean this is the guy who brought us no less than eight films; from Cronos, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade 2, Hellboy and Hellboy 2 (a third one is in the works with Del Toro directing) to Pan’s Labyrinth (one of his best) and now Pacific Rim. One thing can be said about his previous films was that they were interesting and were refreshingly inventive. Pacific Rim had been hailed as one of the year’s best films, and although it is a good film there are too many cliches for me to put it on the ten best.
Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh, a hotshot ‘pilot’ of the Jaegers. Jaegers are massive robots that are piloted by two people that are neurologically linked together in the same Jaeger. They are battling the Kaiju, gargantuan alien sea beasts that have come up from the sea floor through the tectonic plates as a result of a multidimensional portal. Huh? Yes, this is all explained in the first ten minutes of the film. Since I am recommending this film I won’t say much else. You will just have to see. Pacific Rim boasts some stunning visuals to enhance its story so fear not, you will understand the plot. Pacific Rim has a fair amount of standard plot devices, however, including the naive pilot who has emotional horrors in her past, the punk that does not get along with the hero, the CO that is stoic and runs a tight ship and the long shot duo that pits the hero with the untested and emotionally fragile trainee. I guess I was hoping NOT to see the usual plot devices that are used here and ones we have seen many, many times. When I first saw what Pacific Rim was about and saw the word Jaeger, I thought, “Wow. A film about giant bottles of liqueur duking it out with massive sea creatures?! NOW THAT is something fresh and exciting (referring to Jaegermeister) .” Of course, I am joking but there seems to be a reliance of the vivid, crisp visuals to propel the story rather than the characters and a freshly written story. Yes, the plot is fresh and inventive, but the characters seem to be stock characters from other films. Still, the acting is decent by Idris Elba as the no nonsense Commander Stacker Pentecost and Rinko Kikuchi as the emotionally tender recruit Mako. My problem was with Charlie Hunnam as the hero, Raleigh. His acting seems forced through most of the film. He does what he needs to do to sell the character but not much else. At the heart of this film are battle sequences which are fantastic and worth the price of admission alone. They are vividly shot, will get your blood pumping and are plentiful throughout the film. There is a lot to like about Pacific Rim including a great score by Ramin Djawadi (one worth buying) , but by the films end the all of the cliches will have been serviced. Does the hero show the punk how it’s done? Does the naive trainee show what she is really made of? Does the troubled commander show his soft side? Does the hero realize there is no ‘I’ in team? If you answered yes to all of these questions then you can sit back and enjoy the slug fest that is Pacific Rim. It is a good film, if not a great one.