It seems rather pointless bringing up anything remotely negative about Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic love-letter to geeks of all ages. The fact that it has some of the most banal dialogue seen since George Lucas reached for his typewriter to pound out those prequels seems almost besides the point. Pacific Rim doesn’t care about corny dialogue or average acting; its all about the enormous action set-pieces, the huge explosions, the frankly colossal mechs/robots and the bigger-than-skyscrapers monsters. Its utterly bonkers, a pure comic-book movie in its bold colours, its simple plot, its one-dimensional characters… to moan about all that seems to be missing the point. You are not meant to study the scripts for films such as this; Guillermo wasn’t trying to create art here (although many of the images are breathtaking). He was making a movie for the geeks, aimed straight at their King Kong-loving, Godzilla-loving hearts.
Its also likely the nearest thing we’ll ever see to a Neon Genesis Evangelion live-action movie. Some of the shots of the mechs look like they are straight out of that anime- I’m sure much of it is intentional. Indeed geeks everywhere can no doubt play a game naming references/nods to all manner of genre material. Commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is so much like Akira‘s Colonel Shikishima in dress, mannerisms etc its like he’s stepped out of a live-action Akira movie by mistake, as if he turned left instead of right on leaving his dressing-room and blundered onto the wrong set. There are the obvious homages to Godzilla sprinkled throughout the movie, so many we surely don’t need another ‘genuine’ Godzilla movie.
It is a great fun movie, and I’d love to see where a sequel might go. If you can switch off your brain and relax, let its dumbness wash over you and succumb to the hypnotic jaw-dropping visuals you are in for a treat. Its certainly superior to any of the Transformers movies. My only reservation, is how many times can we see cities being demolished in huge cgi-action spectacles (Avengers, Transformers 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel…) before we are so jaded by it that it becomes, dare I say it, boring? Because in all of these movies, while the destruction is vast, the dramatic, emphatic involvement in what we are seeing is pretty much zero as it is. Man of Steel‘s Metropolis is pretty much wiped off the map with thousands maimed, crushed, burnt, killed, and yet its all a cartoon, not mattering a jot. Much the same can be said of the citizens of Sydney and Hong Kong and other decimated locations glimpsed in news reports during Pacific Rim. I know I’m missing the point. This isn’t that kind of movie. But with all this mad destruction in these movies aren’t we in danger of becoming so inured to the depiction of such violence and destruction that it doesn’t matter? Is all this comicbook nonsense reaching such a saturation point that it damages any impact of realistic/down-to-earth violence in movies? How much bigger/louder can Hollywood go with these comicbook movies anyway? After destroying cities becomes the norm, what next?