Pacific Rim

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When he chopped approximately an hour of the final film to try and get it ready for release, Pacific Rim’s director Guillermo del Toro was quoted as saying, ‘we cannot pretend this is Ibsen with monsters and giant robots. I cannot pretend I’m doing a profound reflection on mankind.’

Pacific Rim certainly isn’t ‘Ibsen with monsters and robots,’ but with a reported budget of $190 million, you would have thought the results could have produced something more valuable and entertaining, even if there were no intention to produce an artistic masterpiece.

Of course, your idea of entertainment could be watching bloated giant robots battering lumps out of hideous monsters for little apparent reason. And if the only reason is to save the human race then, on the basis of this film, perhaps the human race isn’t really worth saving.

Pacific Rim is a bloated shambles of a movie that even the combination of Guillermo del Toro and Rinko Kikuchi could not save.

It’s a film without much nuance, or real dramatic content to engage with. It’s a blockbuster driven by visual effects with a lacklustre and banal script that gets lost in the overblown action and overlong battles between robots and giants.

If the story arcs and back-stories of the central characters were largely left on the cutting room floor to make more room for the effects, it’s those very visual effects that among are the most disappointing elements. They’re average at best and for the most part poorly rendered. One reason for the failure in visual quality could be the decision to retrofit the film in 3D, a decision one imagines the director had forced upon him.

As the director of Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro once had a reputation as an artistic and discerning filmmaker, so you wonder if it’s simply the deadening processes of the Hollywood film machine that’s blunted the filmmaker’s critical faculties. Have big budgets neutered the Mexican director’s originality and creativity?

In Pan’s Labyrinth he got great performances from Maribel Verdú and Sergi López in particular, but here even the usually mesmerizing Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi is largely wasted. For this we probably have to blame the lack of depth or empathy in the script, which seems to have been founded on the meagre proposition that it would be really cool to see a giant robot and a giant monster fighting to the death in the fog.

Pacific Rim is a bloated shambles of a movie that even the combination of Guillermo del Toro and Rinko Kikuchi could not save.


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