We give you the lowdown on this epic robots vs monsters film.
Cast: Charlie Hunnam (Children of Men), Idris Elba (Thor), Rinko Kikuchi (It’s Getting Late – short), Charlie Day (Monsters University), Burn Gorman (The Dark Night Rises) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Run Time: 132
“When legions of monstrous alien creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are synched via a neural bridge, called “The Drift”. But as the enemy grows more powerful with each attack, even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju.”
First off, I liked the way this film started and got you into the action, there was no major origin story or anything like that going on here – a quick run through of news stories gets you up to speed and you realize you are in the middle of a war where we’re just about holding our own, however the Kaiju just keep on coming and are getting bigger, stronger and uglier.
The action starts straight away with a battle between a Kaiju and a state of the art Jaeger, which is piloted by Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and his brother Yancy. The Jaegers are cool, they are 25 story high robots that can clearly give it to the Kaiju but lets just say this fight doesn’t go exactly to plan.
From this point we jump forward a few years and see Raleigh who has retired as a pilot now working as a construction worker on a defensive wall to hold out the Kaiju and in turn is meant to make the Jaegers obsolete. Funnily enough this plan doesn’t work and Raleigh is persuaded to come out of retirement by his old commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) and take one of the pilots positions again. This is when we also meet Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) who is there to help Raleigh pick a new co-pilot but in turn we find out that she can really fight with the best of them when required. The war now is clearly going in the Kaiju’s favor and the ability to fight back is getting harder, Raleigh has been brought back to take part in a mission that is felt will turn the tide. This is where the real action and fighting starts, we now get to see multiple Jaegers and Kaiju fighting and things start to get really messy.
Guillermo del Toro has managed to bring an all new epic scale and feeling to the sci-fi monster movie genre. The portrayal of mankind’s struggle for survival against overwhelming odds draws you in right from the beginning and will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.
The casting hit nearly all the right notes with solid performances from all the main characters and most of the supporting ones. The effects were great with the monsters being huge, scary and conveying a real sense of impending doom. The 3D adds rather than distracts and is back up by a solid musical score that draws you into the film adding emotion and feeling when it’s needed.
If I was to be a little critical there were a couple of things that were a bit irritating. First of these is Dr Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) who was a rather annoying character. I’m not sure whether my dislike of the good doctor stemmed from the way the character was written or Gorman’s portrayal. I was also a little disappointed that they changed the computer voice used in the trailers which sounded exactly like GLaDOS in Portal.
On a positive note, as with a number of other blockbuster films this year there was an incredible amount of destruction going on, with swathes of buildings being destroyed. The way Pacific Rim differs from those films is that I actually felt more for the human cost as it seemed like there were consequences to their actions, rather than it just being glossed over or ignored (like in Man of Steel).
To me an action film is about being able to unplug your brain and enjoy the pleasures of the story the director is trying to tell you – if it’s well-directed and the story is reasonably believable then that’s what counts and del Toro pulls this off in style.
If you’re like me and enjoy being entertained by a film that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a couple of hours.
GS RATING: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5