Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Pearlman
Dir. Guillermo del Toro
Given the choice between a horrible death at the flippers of the Kaiju monsters and listening for more than a minute of Charlie Day’s vocal delivery, I’d choose death by Kaiju anytime. The world’s shortage of helium is caused right there, inside that man’s lungs, using up all the current supplies in an attempt to cause the mass evacuation of cinemas across the globe.
But Day’s ear shattering annoyance aside del Toro has pulled another rabbit out of a voluminous hat with Pacific Rim. Yes, there are a few cliches: the tough guys have an annoying sidekick, the main man has an equally musclebound nemesis, and the villains, in this case enormous Godzilla creatures lurking in a deep deep ocean chasm, are always one punch away from total victory. But del Toro is the arch storyteller and he gets away with it because he knows how to grab attention with structure, pacing and the arrangement of sequences. This film could be said to have two climaxes, if climactic scenes can be considered ‘climaxes.’
The film never relents from its mission to destroy everything in a way Gerry Anderson could only have dreamed of. Realistic CGI mixed with realistic rolling news production creates a vivid post apocalypse as the Kaiju monsters make easy pickings of the Transformer-like Jaegers built to fight them. Forget all the eyewash about mental connections and the undermining of consciousness and concentrate on the action. The premise of the film sounds simple, but del Toro weaves a surprisingly rich cloth out of the material.
I suppose this is what happens when you provide enough resources to a consumate storyteller and there’s probably only Christopher Nolan who can bring maturity to a potentially childish scenario. But where Nolan takes you to gloomy places, exploring the darker side of life, del Toro lays on a colourful banquet, even in a world teetering on destruction. You’ve gotta love the man for being able to create low budget horrors like Cronos and big budget spectacles like Hellboy and Pacific Rim.
Also in the mix is
Stringer Bell Idris Elba, rapidly becoming an English version of Samuel L Jackson, putting it about a bit and being all moody and coy. And big old Ron Perlman, a del Toro stalwart who is also good value for money even when his screentime, as here, is limited.
But even del Toro makes mistakes. If only Charlie Day had been eaten in the first scene Pacific Rim would have been even better.