Pacific Rim Screen 21 articles

Pacific Rim

2013

Pacific Rim Poster
  • There are times when ‘Pacific Rim’ could be the work of any jobbing Hollywood director – the warmth and idiosyncracy that characterises Del Toro’s finest work, from ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ to ‘Hellboy 2’, is absent. ‘The Avengers’ proved that a slightly left-of-centre director like Joss Whedon could find a home in the heart of Hollywood without losing the personal touch. With ‘Pacific Rim’, Del Toro doesn’t even seem to be trying.

  • ...Pacific Rim falters badly whenever it isn’t clobberin’ time. But oh, that clobberin’. The first such sequence expends too much energy making sure viewers comprehend how the Jaegers are operated, constantly cutting back and forth between the pilots performing movements in their goofy spacesuit-style getups, and the robot’s corresponding actions. Too much Wii, not enough “Whee!” Once that symbiosis can mostly be taken for granted, however, del Toro and the ILM crew go to town, so to speak.

  • In action, the film is breathtaking, but as a whole it suffers from a relative lack of ambition. The invaders’ motivation – and much else, including an inspirational speech delivered by a rasping Idris Elba (“Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”) – is tipped in fromIndependence Day (1996), and the human characters are either cardboard jocks or irritating science nerds.

  • Above all, the action scenes are pretty to look at. Not since the Shanghai fight in Skyfall has there been such visually-pleasing action – and for much the same reason, because director Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labyrinth fame) shoots at night with shards of neon light adorning the image, fluorescent pinks and blues and reds bouncing off the great hunks of metal (the climax takes place underwater, which is even more dreamlike).

  • This may be the year’s best example of strained seriousness flowering into its own form of bizarre plenitude, a movie about fighting robots, reptilian aliens hatched from the earth’s core, relationships forged and destroyed in the crucible of high-stakes mind-meld DDR matches, smattered with disparate colors and textures. I think classic Del Toro is still visible here, and if anything there’s too much of him in the fabric of the film...

  • In spite of its narrative richness and thoughtfulness, Pacific Rim lacks for poignancy. For all the attention paid to how soldiers puppet the jaegers in ostensibly empathetic lockstep, del Toro only skims the surface of his human relationships, asking audiences to only take them at face value.

  • I’ve never been totally sure about the expression "I’ll box your ears," but I’m pretty sure that’s what a Jaeger does to a kaiju here, using a couple of shipping containers. It’s so dumbly brilliant you can’t believe you’re seeing it.

  • If Pacific Rim handles elaborate fisticuffs with precision and patience, it fumbles multiple attempts to craft complex characterizations... Certain violent images take on a lyrical quality: Watching a Jaeger get hurled through the air in almost perfect quiet is one of the most striking cinematic moments of the year. It’s the perfect example of a filmmaker who understands how to capture the calm before the storm.

  • In theory, the ideal movie for del Toro is one where giant battle bots battle giant aliens. This is “Pacific Rim,” a noisy monstrosity that embraces the notion that its director can’t tell a story, can’t see through intriguing ideas but has a knack for filmmaking that’s by turns (and sometimes simultaneously) visceral and elegant.

  • ...I was having so much fun I lost track of where the line between good-stupid and bad-stupid might lie. Suffice it to say that if you were hoping for an allegorical and/or political fairy tale in the mode of del Toro’s 2006 masterpiece “Pan’s Labyrinth,” you won’t find it here. His first film as a director in five years finds del Toro in maximally geeked-out fanboy mode...

  • Call it an MMA (monster martial arts) film: in the big robots-vs.-monsters setpiece... the fighting is both clearly legible and prone to treating the entire city as a kind of construction site full of props to be picked up and used as weapons, only the tools of choice are super-sized... Martial arts cinema is often a quicker-than-the-eye kind of thing requiring total attention: having such big bodies in motion slows the pace... allowing you to follow the line of each super-sized move.

  • At its best moments, Pacific Rim summons up a kind of pummeling, headache-inducing rapture: metal fists tearing through steel like cotton candy; tiny humans staring down their own skyscraper-sized mechanical creations... [The film] wears its more formulaic elements with gusto, reverence and pride, and if its scenes of human interaction are necessarily clumsier than its scenes of mano-a-tentacle combat, well, yeah.

  • There's very little beauty outside the neon blues of the battle helmets, and I can't help but read the choice of villain as a betrayal after GDT's career-long fixation with ostracized monsters. Still, it's a fine light show, and there's an admirable attention to spatial coherence for this sort of epic smashing-time entertainment.

  • [...The] return to a resemblance-based world speaks to a powerful nostalgia in all of us, a yearning for a time when our eyes were all we needed, when all the information to be processed was visually accessible and demonstrable, the same as the evidence of our senses. There’s nothing especially new about Pacific Rim on that front. Still, there’s something distinctive about this movie, about its desire to meld everything, to wrest togetherness out of the deadly breaches in the world.

  • Easily the best big-budget film of the year so far, Pacific Rim is gloriously corny and entirely unashamed of it, and no small work of formal artistry. It suggests a joie de vivre in its own absurdity and cinematic nature as well as confidence in its cornball dramatics and audio-visual force that’s been frustratingly lacking from the endless series of reboots and franchise instalments of the past couple of years.

  • As you'd except from this literary fabulist and ardent cinephile, the design of the film is quite breathtaking, and the simplicity of the narrative feels like it could've been ripped from the classical era. On its most basic level, Pacific Rim operates as a literal and thematic paean to Ishirō Honda's 1954 original-and-best Godzilla...

  • The copious battle scenes are what many viewers will want to see, and they more than deliver in all their digitally augmented glory: Alien behemoths are hurled into buildings, an abandoned ship is used as an impromptu cudgel, and battles rage in both the skies above and the oceanic depths below. But though everything we see is pure, pleasurable comic-book absurdity, Del Toro somehow lends a plausible humanity to the proceedings, one lacking in most of this summer’s city-destroying blockbusters.

  • Nitpicks aside, the fights are astonishing. They split the difference between classical filmmaking and the blurrier, more chaotic modern style in a way that made me appreciate the virtues of both. Some of the whirling action has a geometric beauty that's faintly Cubist, and each fight contains surprises: a tactic you haven't seen yet, a power you didn't know about, a complication you didn't see coming.

  • Yes, it's true: "Pacific Rim" is every bit as big and loud and bombastic as movie observers predicted and early reviewers are reporting. But it's also a few other things, among them fun. And it's also among the few genuinely joyous sci-fi blockbusters I've seen in quite some time.

  • What separates del Toro from those other directors is the joy he imparts to you. It's the joy of a filmmaker who's never forgotten that movies can do everything. It can make a Stacker Pentecost pre-battle pep talk seem vaguely like Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech. It can keep you checking the skyline for imaginary dragons.

  • Pacific Rim is anything but particularly grim in tone, luxuriating in each of its thrilling, exquisitely paced action sequences and laced with notes of potent humor and sincere kinship. (That being said, Ron Perlman's welcome appearance as Hannibal Chau, a black-market dealer of kaiju entrails, would be worth the ticket price on its own.)

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