Friday 12 July 2013

Review: Pacific Rim (2D)

World of Blackout Film Review

Pacific Rim Poster

Pacific Rim (2D)
Cert: 12A / 131 mins / Dir. Guillermo del Toro

When you've got a movie where 500-foot-tall mech-suits fight hand-to-hand with 500-foot-tall alien sea-lizards, you shouldn't find yourself bored at any point, should you? Don't get me wrong, Pacific Rim isn't a boring film, but it's sure as hell got boring stretches in it. When the Jaeger suits are mobile, this film is immense. Although that's largely due to the fact that the pair of pilots are mind-melded and don't need to speak; so there's none of that godawful script for them to read.

But it's not just the script, it's the entire screenplay. So much of the downtime is spent desperately trying to flesh out characters who are so archetypal that you really don't give a damn if they live or die. One by one, they're wheeled out with their regulation back-stories and neuroses, to the point where you begin to wonder if you're just watching an extended cut-scene from a second-rate FPS game. The whole thing just feels so… mechanical. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman have their own subplot as a couple of eccentric science nerds, and while lightening the mood, they do evoke the spirit of Jeff Goldblum in ID4; and that's not something you want to be reminded of in a cinema. For all the punching, angst, and glimpses of an alien dimension, there's never any real hook that makes you wonder how it's going to end. Although, even at its clunkiest, Pacific Rim is still like The Seventh Seal compared to Battleship.

On the plus side, this film looks pretty beautiful (if you consider giant robots beating the crap out of giant lizards beautiful. I do). The production design may not be fizzing with originality, but it's executed well and everything looks as dirty/rusty/slimy as it's supposed to. There's a genuine sense of heft when the Jaeger suits go lumbering into the sea, but you're definitely left wanting more. A surprisingly high percentage of Brits bolster the cast*1, and the presence of Sean from Eastenders, Mumbles from Rock'n'Rolla, and Gazza from Layer Cake gives the film a sort of 'Godzilla vs Eastenders' feel. That said, our main hero Becket is from Newcastle, so obviously he's the one they send in when the Cockneys can't get the job finished ;)

A typical Summer no-brainer, Pacific Rim isn't awful but it's a staggeringly missed opportunity to make something wonderful. For $180m and Guillermo del Toro, I expect more than to be beaten around the head with the Stupid-Stick for two hours…

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Well, the trailer's got all the coolest bits in…

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Kinda. Ish.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
For me, no. Your mileage will vary.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
If you're going to watch it, watch it BIG. Cinema; but y'know… Orange Wednesdays.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
In all honesty, I doubt it.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Not that I heard. I mean come on.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
If you've seen this film, and you enjoyed it more than I did, let me know why in the box below. I'm not being sarcastic, I genuinely want to know.

*1 Not all playing Brits, of course; one of them has to do the worst Aussie accent you've ever heard.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. It's a very dumb movie, but you can have fun with it at least. Just wish there was a bit more to these characters than expected.