Starring: Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Hunnam
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Running Time: 132 mins
Pacific Rim is an American film about a near future where a war between humans and giant sea monsters named kaiju rages, and the relationship of a former pilot and a young trainee who are paired up to control the giant robots invented by the humans to defeat the kaiju.
This is another future dystopian concept that has some promise, but is overcome by excessive special effects and poor storytelling. The problem here is that it’s a slow-paced, explosion-filled action story that never really instils any excitement, but it also doesn’t manage to create any emotion when so much of the plot depends on it.
Let’s start with what was one of the worst failings of this film: the characters and the emotion. From the start, I didn’t care one bit about the welfare of any of the main characters, despite the film having introduced all these emotional back stories, because they were all so plain. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the majority of the performances were quite poor, however the film’s inability to create any emotion through its characterisation means that, come the action sequences, there’s little sense of peril to get you really excited.
Along with that, the pacing of this film just awful. For a big-budget action blockbuster, you expect to see a lot of giant robots fighting huge sea monsters, but that doesn’t really happen until you’re over an hour into the film (apart from a quick glimpse early on). So, that period of the film is painfully dull because it’s based on a character-driven story that doesn’t work, and has no action to really thrill you.
When the action does come along about over an hour into the story, it proceeds into an overlong and repetitive action sequence for around half an hour (split with a ten-minute gap in the middle), and due to the lack of fear for the characters, these fight sequences couldn’t have felt any longer to sit through.
The way that this film deals with its premise was also disappointing. I found myself comparing it to Edge Of Tomorrow as it went on, and I realised that this film starts off on a high note by introducing the political situation at the time, but then descend solely into an action movie crossed with a story about two or three individuals, and that was really disappointing for me because you don’t get the sense of a wider context that would have made this film so much more believable like Edge Of Tomorrow managed to do.
There are some positives here, however. The visual effects are incredible, and although they’re a little over-the-top, they’re impressive nonetheless. As well as that, the writers were intelligent enough to continue the story beyond a suspected finishing point about 90 minutes in, and managed to improve on what was a very poor film after just half an hour.
Overall, though, this gets a 5.7 from me, due to the fact that it’s not full of exciting action, the premise is dealt with poorly, so it’s not cool or interesting to follow, and the characters are so dull that all sense of peril is pretty much lost as you watch.