Pacific Rim (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

It’s Top Gun meets Godzilla as filtered through the imagination of visionary director Guillermo del Toro in, Pacific Rim. This is a technically striking film, but a soul-less wonder. The marvelous visual effects and rousing score are under-served by the lead-footed story that starts out predictable and hits every genre hallmark on the way to its conclusion.

A breach in the tectonic plates on the Ocean floor serves as a doorway to our world for crustaceans like monster who wreak havoc. The leaders of the world have joined forced to create the Jager, a skyscraper sized robotic suit that is controlled by two telekinetically linked pilots inside the structure. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) was an ace Jager pilot until he lost his brother in a defeat at the hands of a monstrous Kaiju, the adopted term for the alien invaders.

Five years later the world is safe and in a state of rebuilding its infrastructure. The Jager program has been de-funded and the threat from the Kaiju is virtually non-existent. Raleigh is working construction gigs for food rations when Marshall Pentecost (Idris Elba) approaches him about getting back into the Jager suit one last time. A kaiju loving scientist (Charlie Day) and his mathematician colleague predict that the creatures will return at a rate that could cause total human annihilation. Luckily, the remaining Jager pilots under Pentecost’s command are ready to take on the threat.

Shades of Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Sky Captain, and virtually half of a dozen other sci-fi films are referenced either visually or through the narrative itself. There are a few dazzling moments interspersed throughout the picture. The look of the fighting robots is heavily inspired by 1950’s sci-fi, and the east vs west vibe of machine vs. monsters is neatly modernized. But the movie slowly crawls through it’s preordained scenes with little inventiveness in the staging or writing. The film is a big machine designed to thrill, but comes up short when the humans are on-screen.

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day

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