Release Date: July 12, 2013
Running Time: 132 minutes
In one corner stand the Kaiju, fearsome giant alien creatures that rise from the ocean to terrorize humanity. In the other corner stand the Jaegers, pilot-controlled robots built to tear the Kaiju into tiny pieces of sushi. The fate of the world naturally hangs in the balance in Pacific Rim, director Guillermo del Toro’s loving homage to Japanese monster movies. There are times, though, that Del Toro’s monster mash unfavorably recalls Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise and Roland Emmerich’s misguided Americanization of Godzilla. Not that Bay and Emmerich could never possess del Toro’s genuine affection for the skyscraper-tall flesh and metal behemoths that duke it out on land and in the water. Del Toro’s fascination with the mechanics of the Jaeger and the beautiful destructive nature of the Kaiju is infectious. The last hour of Pacific Rim is breathtaking to behold as the Jaeger attempt to stop the Kaiju from invading Earth through a fissure in the Pacific Ocean. The clash of these titans almost equals anything to be found in Bay’s three business-mindedTransformers epics. Like Godzilla, much of the action occurs at night, in the rain or in murky waters, so there are times when it’s hard to make out every punch and blow. Unfortunately, with the exception of a pre-credits throwdown that sets up what’s to come, Pacific Rim’s first hour plods by like a Jaeger running on empty. Del Toro’s takes too long introducing and psychoanalyzing stock characters who have less personality that the creatures they fight. There’s Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kituchi’s emotionally wounded Jaeger pilots, Idris Elba’s gruff but fair-minded commanding officer, and Charlie Day and Burn Gorman’s bickering scientists. Everyone seems to trying to top Transformers’ John Turturro when it comes to overacting with the exception of Hunnam, the Sons of Anarchy star who looks like he’s quite content to sleepwalk through the apocalypse that Elba wants to cancel. Screenwriter Travis Beacham does a lousy job with the dialogue, although some of the jargon used in Pacific Rim is pretty cool. The only person to shine in Pacific Rim is Hellboy himself, del Toro regular Ron Perlman. As the black marketer trading in Kaiju organs, Perlman manages to find the humor in a dire situation while maintaining legitimate fear of what lies ahead. It’s a shame the first half of Pacific Rim is marred by such problems, but it’s worth struggling through just to witness the Jaegers and the Kaiju rumble. In the end, though, Pacific Rim doesn’t find del Toro topping what Bay and Emmerich did before him. By failing to address Pacific Rim’s many flaws, del Toro lowers himself to Bay and Emmerich’s level. That’s not what we hoped or expected from one cinema’s true visionaries.
Aired: July 11, 2013
Web site: http://www.pacificrimmovie.com/