I generally have a difficult time making it out to the movies, but I recently decided that for a small list of directors, that effort is well worthwhile.
Guillermo del Toro is one of those directors, and so I figured I’d better get to the theater for Pacific Rim before it left.
I’ll be honest: I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I paid the matinee price to see it, but it didn’t leave me as giddy as I hoped.
As for production value, spectacle, and general “coolness,” del Toro always gets it right. I can’t think of a better director to helm a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. The most impressive thing is that it all looked real. The attention to detail in this film is staggering. I don’t know how much was digital and how much was models, but the artists did a fantastic job. The amazing robots actually looked like they’d battled giant monsters for a few years. The monsters actually looked like they had weight behind them. Every piece of machinery looked complicated and intricate. It’s really a beautiful movie when looked at from that perspective.
I didn’t need much from the story. After all, the film is about giant robots fighting giant monsters. I’m good; I’m on board with that. However, I was disappointed with the explanation for why the monsters were coming to Earth. It was a tired reason, and it’s been done time and time again. I really thought del Toro would shake it up a bit in that regard. Also, some of the names were just awkward. Hercules Hansen? Really? There were lots of overused phrases as well. If I heard “neural handshake” one more time …
Some of the acting was top-notch, and some of it was, well, not. Idris Elba blew me away. I believed he was Stacker Pentecost. That man owned the screen every time he appeared. The rest of the acting … not so great. But again, I don’t need too much, it’s a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. I’m good with that. Let’s do that.
But, there was one little thing that kept me from loving the movie … I didn’t care. I just really didn’t feel emotionally invested in any of the characters. I didn’t care which of them lived or died. I didn’t feel like cheering for some or crying for others. I just watched. There are some movies that move you to clap, or tear up, or even yell in delight, but Pacific Rim is not one of those movies even though it probably should have been. They tried. Oh, man, did they try. But, most of the actors trying to execute complex emotional scenes just didn’t have the oomph to get it done. I’ll give del Toro this, though, the man knows funny. Like with Hellboy, there were lots of really funny moments.
Do I think you should see it? Absolutely! After all, it’s del Toro doing a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters! Nobody could do it better than him, but just don’t expect to high five the person next to you at any point.