Pacific Rim - Online Review

'Travis Beacham and del Toro's script feels like it was written solely with the purpose of giving very one-dimensional characters lots of exposition to spout, over the course of two hours or so.'

There's something tragically wrong with your massive monster movie when even the massive monster fights prove to be unengaging. Such is the case with Guillermo del Toro's deeply flawed Pacific Rim, the monster fights in which frequently take place behind buildings, in the rain or, worse, underwater. Perhaps that was to be expected, given the title, but the marketing conditioned me to expect land-based flights of clarity, not underwater skirmishes through a film of fog. There wasn't a single battle in Pacific Rim which excited me, made me say 'wow' or dragged me further into the film. The design is good, the execution - even the CGI sometimes - is not.

What then, in a film built around massive monsters, does this leave you with? Not a great deal. The more established problems of the genre - formulaic story, wonky script - are here and here in abundance. Travis Beacham and del Toro's script feels like it was written solely with the purpose of giving very one-dimensional characters lots of exposition to spout, over the course of two hours or so. There's no departure, plot wise, that gives any respite from this, the writers funnelling hero Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) into a typical arc involving protégés, mentors and grand acts of sacrifice.

For that reason, perhaps Hunnam can be forgiven this performance of the Taylor Kitsch-like variety until the next time we see him. None of the regular cast stand out particularly, though the positive word occasionally forwarded in the direction of Charlie Day can be understood, if only because he's the only character not treating all the mumbo-jumbo with po-faced acceptance.

Eventually he is joined by Ron Perlman, who looks like he's come from an entirely different world and finally allows you to lay a finger on just what is wrong with Pacific Rim. del Toro is at his best when world building (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy), but here he allows himself very little of it. Despite the big inventive characters, we are still recognisably on Earth and del Toro has allowed himself merely to draw monster models. The glimpse into Hannibal Chau's (Perlman) world - one of gold multi-lock doors and fantastic footwear - is a glimpse into what del Toro is best at. This is a thin imitation of that sort of thing; the characters are here, but the plot, the world and the invention is sadly lacking.




Pacific Rim was playing on BlinkBox.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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