The Blog

Pacific Rim Review

Cancel the apocalypse, put your brain in neutral and enjoy one of the silliest, yet most engaging films of 2013.

Cancel the apocalypse, put your brain in neutral and enjoy one of the silliest, yet most engaging films of 2013.

See giant robots tackle huge monsters; witness Idris Elba swaggering around huge sets (he has as much dramatic heft as any of the mighty beasts, metal or flesh), and get the feeling you're watching a mash-up of Independence Day; Transformers; Iron Man; Akira and Godzilla.

Director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro and his army of effects experts deliver a knockout slice of escapism which may exploit familiar tropes, but is never dull.

Okay, Burn Gorman's scientist may deserve a Razzie for most annoying screen character of the year, but when you're dealing with a comic book-style movie this epic, you can almost forgive him for the OTT eccentricity.

Another key problem was I had such a hard time understanding what anyone was saying, I wondered if my hearing was going.

Sample dialogue: "Mumble, mumble, Jaeger, mumble Kaiju, mumble Stacker Pentecost, mumble..."

You get the picture.

Like Man of Steel, lots of buildings get destroyed in a series of outrageous set pieces.

However, there's a joy to the mostly bloodless carnage, and as with MOS, we see little collateral damage, but a gag with an executive toy helps lend things a sense of cause and effect realism. It's a light, engaging touch that generated at least one giggle from me in an almost empty cinema.

(This was plain old 2D flavour. No D-box, Imax, 3D and it was still good fun.)

Yes, the characters were very basic, but the ever-reliable Ron Perlman lent colour to proceedings as Hannibal, a black market monster parts trader.

Nice to see Guillermo's obsession with 'things in jars' is still present and correct, and like the sublime Hellboy, this works like a charm on its own terms.

I would have liked more moving sucker punch moments, such as the flashback scene where a key protagonist rises from his giant robot, and we feel a swell of pride. Well, I did anyway.

Actress Rinko Kikuchi also deserved more; she spent much of the third act barely saying a word. Admittedly she is co-piloting a skyscraper-sized automaton against lethal alien reptiles, so I doubt I'd be spouting much memorable dialogue under similar circumstances.

However, there is a feeling she's mirroring Return of the Jedi'sBilly Dee Williams and The Matrix Revolutions' Laurence Fishburne as 'the pilot in the third act starved of memorable, if any dialogue'.

It's almost like the writers built up such a head of steam juggling all the other characters, they couldn't be bothered with her by this point. A shame, especially with such a likeable backstory.

Will there be sequels? Possibly, if it can gain enough traction in North America and the rest of the world's lucrative key markets.

As the UK is around eight per cent of the world box office, I doubt its backers are too concerned with whether Blighty cinemagoers flock to their local multiplexes during one of the hottest weekends of the year. It should make enough money on Blu-Ray and DVD when it's released in the run-up to Christmas. It certainly needs to; around 450m dollars to break even - two-and-a-half times its alleged production budget.

Budget aside, GDT has done a great job of setting up his colourful universe, and while I'm not bothered if Charlie Hunnam's likeable but generic hero character returns, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the giant Gipsy Danger stride across my cine screen again in the near future.