I remember reading about Pacific Rim in Empire Magazine over 6 months ago and since then being anxious to see it. Mainly because the visuals look spectacular and this was proven when the trailer eventually came out. Plus Pans Labyrinth is one of my faves and I was interested to see the transition between that beautiful piece of fantasy to a blockbuster action sci-fi from Guillermo Del Toro (baring in mind I am not a Hell Boy fan!)
The story is summed up nicely in the beginning with a montage of scenes and a narrative from main character Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) – explaining that aliens broke through to our world in the Atlantic ocean which forced humanity to build gigantic robots in order to defend our selves. These robots are driven by a team of 2 people who’s minds meld together and connect to the robot to make it move. Let the carnage commence!
But not so fast… there is a LOT of emotional baggage and general character background to sift through in between the awesome fight scenes. Some of which was wholly unnecessary and only served to further stereotype every one of the characters. Pacific Rim couldn’t decide whether to be a comedy or a serious piece of drama. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman provide comic relief with their double act scientist gag but Gorman’s outlandishly uptight eccentric character got tedious half way through – Day on the other hand I could never tire of!
As well as the mad scientists, other obvious roles included the hard faced, self sacrificing captain (Idris Elba) – the shy yet feisty love interest and Captain’s prodigy (Rinko Kikuchi) – the hero’s rival who comes round in the end (Robert Kazinsky) and said rival’s father (Max Martini) who ‘just doesn’t know what to do with him’. All of whom’s story lines and dialogue were ultimately cheesy and predictable.
Not to mention the main character Raleigh, who has zero personality and almost no distinguishing factors. Who cast that guy?? I literally cannot even remember what he looked like.
Fair do’s though to these guys making the most of the script they were given. Elba is strong and powerful and a great fit for this role. I am glad to see Kazinsky getting into Hollywood despite his dyer Ozzy accent – I am loving him in True Blood atm!! Plus Martini (awesome name) playing his father, is quite a hotty!! I enjoyed Kikichi’s character when she got to kick some butt, but other than that a pretty disappointing female lead.
Yes it makes a change to be able to talk about the characters in this kind of blockbuster sci-fi action epic – BUT the selling points for this film are the visuals. The sheer size and design of the aliens themselves is something worth seeing, and the florescent colours contrasting with the otherwise dark and dismal setting is fantastic. I also enjoyed the attention to detail in China Town and the way the community took advantage of the dead aliens! The robots are also pretty overwhelming to look at, and the connection between the drivers is an interesting concept in the story. The fight scenes are truly EPIC, I just wanted to see more of them.
Apart from the characters and general story line being predictable, there were quite a few moments in the film where Tom and I looked at each other with a raised eyebrow and mouthed “Really?!” **SPOILERS** ie. the swinging ball (Newton’s Cradle), why didn’t they use the sword at the start of the fight, did they really survive that crushing fall, why did the fish fall to the sea bed after that explosion, why did it take so long for the aliens to invade when 1 at a time clearly wasn’t doing it, and how lucky was it that the escape pods floated perfectly through the vortex and through the barrier that apparently stops things going through unless they are alien… Hmm well I will have to suspend my disbelief a stretch further than usual for this one.
Over all the visuals, CGI and action scenes really are fantastic… that is all.