Guillermo del Toro usually brings his own unique designs to blockbuster filmmaking; Pacific Rim, surprisingly, feels more like a pastiche. It’s visually a hodge-podge of Godzilla, Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Matrix sequels, and is filled with overt references – there’s a Star Wars quote, and GLaDOS from Portal voices the film’s computers.
The lack of originality doesn’t suggest a lack of imagination. Pacific Rim regularly taps into that inner ten-year-old giddiness with exhilarating action sequences. Decades into the CGI era, there’s still the requisite night-time rain, but the Hong Kong setting allows the film to embrace a neon-soaked cyberpunk aesthetic. The kaiju (sea monsters) and jaeger (robots) have real heft – they feel immense, without the unreal fluidity of the Transformers films.
The narrative is predictable but adequate, providing real stakes and an emotional finale (and, thankfully, no sequel scaffolding). The cast generally acquit themselves well: Charlie Hunnam is the stoic everyman hero while Charlie Day provides some welcome comic relief. The standout is Idris Elba, delivering an commanding performance: he fleshes out his gruff, imposing admiral role into a character warranting admiration and sympathy.
Pacific Rim may not be original, but it’s a damn fine execution of the blockbuster formula.
5 thoughts on “Pacific Rim (2013)”
So excited for this. I just want to see big things smacking each other and making loud noises and stuff.
It definitely has a lot of that! It’s not the wall-to-wall action spectacular I was expecting going in (and drags a little in the middle as Hunnam doesn’t have enough charisma to carry some predictable plotting), but the highlight is definitely when huge monsters wail on one another.
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