Ror Reviews: PACIFIC RIM (IMAX 3D)

Ror Reviews: PACIFIC RIM (IMAX 3D)

The majority of critics seem to have loved Guillermo del Toro's hugely ambitions creature feature (it currently sits at an impressive 85% on RT for example) but a few highlights aside I'm sorry to report that I most definitely did not. Read on for my take..

I'm a big fan of Guillermo del Toro. I first caught The Devil's Backbone on tv many years ago and was blown away by how creepy and moving it was. I then tracked down his twisted vampire flick Cronos, and what followed were Mimic, Blade 2, the Hellboy movies and -- what I believe to be his masterpiece -- Pan's Labyrinth. I love all of the above films, although some certainly have their share of problems. I believe Del Toro falls down in some areas as a director, but his endless originality and imagination; as well as his ability to merge drama, comedy and horror so seamlessly more than make up for it

So you can imagine how much I wanted to love Pacific Rim, and how crushingly disappointed I was that I not only didn't, but actually kinda hated it.



Okay, hated elements of it (and believe me had I written up this review last night after seeing the movie it would have been much harsher) is more accurate, as there is plenty to enjoy here. Not surprisingly the Kaiju/Jaeger scraps are pretty damn incredible to behold. You've seen quite a bit in the trailers already, but they definitely save some jaw dropping stuff for the movie, and when these brilliantly realized behemoths are battling Pacific Rim is a joy -- but when they're not?

The human characters in this movie annoyed me to the point that I was actually rooting for the Kaiju. To call them one dimensional doesn't even begin to describe it -- these are cardboard cutouts plain and simple. Add to that some of the ropyest dialogue you'll have heard since Battleship and performances that range from passable to wretched (with the exception of Idris Elba), and ...well you get the idea. From the limping, stuffy Brit scientist to the arrogant young pilot you just know is gonna come good in the end, these walking cliches are a blight on this film. I have read all manner of excuses for this horseshit from critics and bloggers but the bottom line is this: Regardless of genre, director, writer -- you either care about things like acting and characterization or you don't. Just because this is a movie about giants hacking lumps out of each other it makes them no less important, in fact I'd argue it makes them more so.

I just couldn't get behind these guys, because I didn't BELIEVE them.

I have never been a Charlie Hunnam fan and this just clinches it -- the guy is simply not leading man material, and I'm sorry but if you STILL can't muster a convincing American accent after all these years it's time to stop trying (don't even get me started on the attempts at Aussie ones in this movie). As I mentioned, Idris Elba is great ..even with some dodgy lines he manages to make Stacker Pentecost someone we can root for, and are interested in knowing more about. Rinko Kukuchi also does the best with what she has at her disposal, and a flashback for her character while she is mentally connected to Hunnam's is a rare moment of human emotion that actually works, while also featuring an incredible Kaiju chase. Ron Pearlman makes a welcome cameo but there's no getting around the fact that his character is almost completely pointless. There are also two scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman who are supposed to serve as comic relief, and some seem to have found them endearing -- I thought they were shrieking bastards from the pit of Hades and I was hoping they'd be eaten.

Kids will love Pacific Rim I'm sure, and my inner child loved the monster mash -- but even he gave the side-eye to the rest. If you literally only care about the visual spectacle then I would recommend this movie, but if like me you want more than a block of wood to root for then I'd pass. Part of me really hopes that Pacific Rim does well so that we can get more from Del Toro and studios might take chances on films that aren't reboots, sequels or adapted from comics or books. But then another part of me knows the horrible truth: It just wasn't bloody good enough.



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