2 hrs 11 min
Staff Writer: Nathaniel Brayton
Giant robots and monsters as tall as skyscrapers tearing each other apart while leaving a mass of destruction in their wake, what’s not to love? Fortunately for Pacific Rim, its cheesy monster movie homage masks its lack of story and weak character interactions.
By comparison Pacific Rim is this year’s Avatar, flashy and stunning to look at, but it lacks the substance that would make it a great film. From the beginning, the audience is thrust into this reality where Kaijus, giant alien monsters, are a regular appearance. It’s like the classic game Rampage; they come and kick in a few buildings before the Jaegers, man-made robot mechs, send them packing. Over time, the Jaeger program is shut down because the forces that be believe an enormous wall will keep the monsters at bay. When the impenetrable wall is destroyed (Titanic anyone?), the Jaeger program must start up again, but with only a handfull of mechs.
The cool thing about the Jaegers is that it takes two people to control them. Using only one pilot usually ends up in brain stew. These pilots must be great fighters, but more importantly they must share a deep connection with one another. Together, when they enter the Jaeger, their minds meld into one, sharing all of their thoughts and feelings with each other.
Pacific Rim is a huge waste of talent. Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman could have done better with a script that gave depth and meaning to each of their characters. Instead, each played a caricature of the classic roles in a monster movie (e.g., the mad scientist, the strong military personality, and the reluctant hero). The writers have done a huge injustice to the actors and to the movie. It’s obvious that the actors were cast for their big names and not for their talent.
Of course the battles were spectacular and grand, but they consumed the majority of the movie. At least 1 hr 45 mins of the film is pure action. And don’t get me wrong, these visuals are the best I’ve ever seen and second to none, but that does not make a great movie. I found that the most interesting parts were the politics and consequences behind the Jaegers. The movie briefly mentions how the pilots of the Jaegers become enormous superstars. Furthermore, I wanted know the reasons why they thought a wall would stop the monsters and what they would do with them even if it did stop them; are they just going let them chill in the ocean? And instead of telling the audience that all the nations of the world came together, it would have been more effective to show it.
Even with all of my complaints, Pacific Rim is an eye-popping thrill ride that anyone with a love of old monster movies will enjoy.
If you really want to understand the movie, picture a young boy playing monsters and robots with his toys, take his imagination, put it on screen, and you have Pacific Rim in a nutshell.
out of 10
“Today we are canceling the Apocalypse!”