Monsters! Monsters from the deep! Robots! Giant robots! The giant robots are humanities only hope against the kaiju monsters emerging from a dimensional rift on the ocean’s floor. However, there are only a few of these Jaeger robots left and the monster attacks are becoming more frequent. Its a pretty sweet set up for a movie, and even sweeter when an accomplished director like Del Toro is at the helm.
Pacific Rim is pretty awesome. The concept is of course a big part of that, but the concept would be nothing without the right execution. First, the design is great. These monsters and robots look pretty kick ass. The robots feel like they actually exist as pieces of machinery and aren’t just a mumbled pile of metal shards like the Michael Bay’s Transformers. I also love how each robot has its own unique design. And the monsters too, for that matter. I especially liked the lobster claw kaiju.
Del Toro does a great job of making us feel the size and scope of these colossal showdowns. There is a scene on an Alaskan beach which looks fantastic and shows this very well. Even the grandeur of the giant wall construction process was impressive. I was actually even somewhat impressed with the 3D, despite it being post-converted and despite me being a big detractor of 3D technology.
Alright, but while Pacific Rim works on many levels, it doesn’t quite reach blockbuster greatness. However, the potential was there. So now I am going to point out where this movie could have been improved and reached that greatness, at least for myself:
- Del Toro added some really great moments into his fights which make them more than just monsters and robots clashing, such as using an ocean liner as a bat. However, I felt we could have used even more of these small moments to really give us something to latch on to in these big set pieces. Also, having more of these fights set during the day, or at least in decent weather, would have helped.
- Perhaps a little more charisma in the leads? I felt like the main character didn’t stand out much, apart from the fact that he has a really odd voice. I don’t think they were bad performances per se, I think just a little more relatability was needed.
- We needed to see the scale of these attacks on a more global level other than a few TV broadcasts now and again. I think it would have helped if we really felt the world’s need for these robots and also that they really were the desperate last hope. I think we needed more build up to the wall being destroyed and the world moving past the Jaeger program. That would have helped this film tremendously.
- The goofier characters needed to be scaled back a bit. Charlie Day was alright, but they other scientist was far too much of a caricature, as was the silly bow-tie guy in the control room. I’m not saying they can’t have a sense of fun with these characters, but dial it back a bit.
- No ‘cancellin’ the apocalypse’ line.
So there you have it. The movie was a blast, but for myself it had the opportunity to be a great modern blockbuster to hold in high esteem. It didn’t quite meet that level I was hoping it would. But its still worth checking out on the big screen.