Pacific Rim (2013)

Rating: B

Dir: Guillermo Del Toro
Star: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day

You could perhaps consider Atlantic Rim as the origin story for Pacific, with clunky robots battling a small number of creatures from the ocean floor. For we join Pacific Rim with the war already well in progress. Raleigh Beckett (Hunnam) and his brother pilot a Jaeger that takes down the monsters coming out of a breach in the ocean floor, but after a mission goes wrong, he quits the job and goes to work in construction instead (the favoured occupation of those resisting alien attack, as anyone who knows They Live will be aware). His boss (Elba) lures him back, with the promise of a spot on a mission that has the hope of securing the breach, blowing it up with a nuclear weapon. However, they eventually realize that thing are not quite this simple, and also that if their mission doesn’t succeed, it could be the last hurrah for humanity, because the monsters are only the first wave, and what’s to follow will be much, much worse.

No doubt, the budget is all up there on the screen. We went to see this at the movies for a reason, and were not disappointed in the slightest: the action is massive, yet the level of detail you can pick out among the carnage and mayhem is staggering. That’s particularly the battle for Hong Kong, which for me was the highlight of the film: the final conflict takes place at the bottom of the ocean, where things are a good deal murkier – if understandable, it’s still something of a shame. The characters and performances are a bit of a mixed bag: mostly serviceable, but there’s not much to Raleigh, or indeed, anyone else in the movie that’s not more than a set of action-movie clich├ęs in a very large power-suit. Terminal disease, family loss: you know the kind of things. Still, I went in expecting a loud, spectacular cinematic experience, not a character study, and the film delivers on what the trailer promises. While clearly better than its mockbuster cousin, is it 190 times better, as the budget disparity would indicate? Probably not. But it’s still definitely worth your time and money.