Pacific Rim review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
When Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park come out in 1998 it was trendsetting cinema that showed that huge creatures and action on a giant scale could be captured on film, something that has affected a huge number of action films ever since and Pacific Rim is no different as it uses the same principles to create something grander and more visually stunning, but is still somehow let down by its story and characters.
Pacific Rim tells the story of Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and his return to a futuristic defense force tasked with protecting the world from massive creatures called Kaiju with equally gigantic robot fighters called Jaegers. As the Kaiju get stronger Raleigh and the people who operate the Jaegers prepare for one last ditch effort to finally rid the world of the threat these creatures pose.
Director and co writer Guillermo Del Toro brings his own signature flair to this world of monsters and mechs but his voice and vision seem to have been drowned out by a story that thinks its a lot more impressive than it actually is. Rim plays like a Godzilla rehash and while looking superb it never really feels like a serious film despite the characters insistence that the world they know is ending.
Unsure of what it really wants to be, Pacific Rim straddles the boundary between a B movie monster film and a big budget action film. Del Toro puts almost all his efforts into making every fight seamless while neglecting the many characters this story has to service. While Hunnam is the hero, most of the films time is spent with Stacker (Idris Elba), the leader of the Jaeger program and Raleigh’s superior officer.
Elba is excellent as always and ultimately he feels like the real main character with Raleigh feeling like a footnote in Stacker’s life story as he proves to be a much more interesting hero to follow as he acts the way a hero should instead of Raleigh who spends a large portion of the film acting like a self entitled jackass.
It’s unconventional in its commitment to a story taking place in a world where mankind are like pawns on a chess board but ultimately its just an action film, a good looking yet badly thought out story that can be breathtaking but never something you find yourself invested in