9.7.13

Early Review: Pacific Rim ¦ Is This The End of Guillermo del Toro's Reign?


I didn’t walk into Pacific Rim expecting much. Nor should you. If you can reduce your brain activity to the point of clinically disabled then I recommend you do so as this film can't even hang on to a thread of basic logic. So much so that any breaching of the 4th wall or moment of taking you out of the explosion-forced-immersion and you'll find yourself building with rage.

If you think 'hey, I enjoyed Transformers, maybe I'll like this', the same way I did, prepare to be amazed and learn a vital lesson in how not to make an action-packed blockbuster.

Generally a story needs some sort of basic logic just to keep it convincing to the viewers right? Well the once famed director and writer Guillermo del Toro known for 'Pan's Labyrinth' and 'Blade II' seems to have completely lost the minor rationality of your typical mythical/sci-fi story and has traded it in for less complications when it comes to the explosion-per-minute ratio and it's blatantly obvious.

Now del Toro needs urgency in his film, he needs a 'last resort' dynamic to make it feel in any way emotional. He does this by having the united governments of the world, who are funding the Jaegers (the big robots (no not the drink)), discontinue their funding in replace for giant walls along the coast proposed to cut off the Kaiju (giant monsters). The walls ultimately fail early on into the film and the Jaegers kill some Kaijus and prove their worth once again. Instead of funding the Jaegers again, which would be the logical result, del Toro pulls out this '1%' card claiming that all the governments and rich people are just emigrating and keeping their money leaving the rest of the world to die. As relevant as he may try to be in this era of anti-1% protests, this major illogical plot hole drags any emotional depth into the bottom of the pacific ocean for the second half of the film.

A blockbuster like this following the success of recent alien invasion flicks, and with del Toro at the helm, very rarely lack a big brand name to throw on the posters. A Pitt, a Smith, a Cruise? It's clear from lines like 'don't get cocky kid' and 'a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do'; that they didn’t even finish reading the script because that's only in the first 10 minutes of the film.

Instead, the cast is brimming with handsome ex-soap opera stars and stereotypes. Expect:
THE NERD who speaks quickly and loudly and mentions his mother within the first few lines of him being introduced.
THE POSH ENGLISH MAN who's your mathematical prodigy and has an expected ongoing and cliché dynamic with the nerd.
THE SILENT TOUGH GERMANS.
THE ASSHOLE WHO'S AN ASSHOLE FOR NO REASON, who eventually shows his kind side.
THE ASAIN CHICK THATS GOOD AT MARTIAL ARTS BUT CAN'T PRONOUNCE HER 'R's
THE BLACK GUY

Ultimately del Toro is up to his neck in clichés and a 'how can we make this blow up' mindset, instead of any sort of solid entertainment value. His quest for action-figure sales is bitterly evident and anybody beyond the age of 12 will find themselves sighing at cringe-inducing one liners. I thought lowering my standards to a Transformers-esque level would get me through it but I needed to go much, much lower. 'Pacific Rim' comfortably marks the end of Guillermo del Toro's position as one of the greatest film-makers of our time.

In cinemas July 12th.