Movie Review #774: Guillermo del Toro successfully brings out the kid in anyone who loved watching mechas and monsters on Saturday morning.
By Red Stewart
|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|
|Rated PG-13 (contains sci-fi violence, profanity)|
I remember growing up with such TV shows as Transformers: Armada, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and The Big O, as well as many of Toho’s Godzilla movies. As such, I was both excited and skeptical about Guillermo del Toro’s self-proclaimed “love letter” to both mechas and monsters, especially given the poor precedent set by Michael Bay’s “Transformers” films.
Being a huge fan of del Toro’s, however, I almost feel guilty for even doubting him. “Pacific Rim” is an excellent film, filled with fantastic imagery, epic battles, and most importantly a heart. I’ve always found that directors who have a strong love for the source material tend to pour those feelings into the final product, as shown by Kenneth Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” films. The same goes easily for del Toro, who takes the “Independence Day” concept of humanity being pushed to its edge by foreign invaders, and crafts a purely fun spectacle aimed to bring out the kid in all of us.
I feel this is what Joss Whedon tried to do with “The Avengers”, but the effort fell flat due to the juvenile dialogue. “Pacific Rim”’s writing is by no means Oscar-caliber either, but it maintains a correct atmosphere where necessary and gives the characters enough of a background so that they don’t come off as flat. Aside from Idris Elba, I did find most of the cast not taking their roles as seriously as they should have, but it’s a small gripe in the scheme of things, especially given that many of us paid to see some kick-ass action, and boy does the film deliver. Del Toro once again surprises me by his handling of all the CGI displays due to his past movies mostly relying on practical effects. Unfortunately, I did have a small problem with the battles, and that was that most of them took place in the rain/oceans. It’s not that it makes them difficult to see, but all the water can take away from the immersion factor.
“Pacific Rim” is really targeted towards audience members with fond memories of mechas and kaiju, but even those moviegoers who are expecting dumb fun will be surprised by the genuine adoration present in it. ✴