Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy” flicks, “Pan’s Labyrinth”) is just a kid playing in a (expensive) sandbox with “Pacific Rim.”
Directing and co-writing the 131 minute sci-fi/action fantasy, his endless imagination may have crafted the ultimate creature flick. And though the movie won’t be up for any acting or writing awards by any means (nor should it be), the CGI achievement deserves some love.
Massive creatures (think modern-day Godzilla and/or Cloverfield design) are methodically invading through a portal deep in the Pacific Ocean floor over the last decade. And while they seem to be mindless destructive monsters at first glance, they actually enact some sort of strategy as they rip through major cities across the globe.
To counteract this unprecedented event, the world unites and constructs equally-sized robots (Transformer-like) which are helmed by two humans connected through some random mind linking technology. The only catch is that the two “rangers” have to be inside the physical robot. Headquartered at key stations all around the portal, the alien creatures begin to turn the tide on the advanced military operation. But a couple of nerdy and eager-to-please scientists (Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) along with a handful of the last remaining robot-believers (led by Idris Elba), attempt to make one last stand before they slightly intelligent behemoths fulfill their grand scheme.
Look, this is pure fun and sufficiently captured through the lens so one can take in all the awe-inspiring action. If you’re a dude, recall all the elaborate battles you enacted with say your He-Man action figure taking on Megatron. Non-stop fun, right? The giant robots vs. monster graphic engagements take place within skyscraper buildings in Hong Kong, to the hurricane-laced waters out in the middle of the ocean. Hell, there’s even a surprising aerial brawl that shows how ambitious and limitless the filmmakers were with this schoolboy fantasy. Yeah the dialogue and story development is eye-rolling and nothing out of the ordinary. But when the filmmakers wield the only attribute that matters (action), it’s simply breathtaking what they were able to execute.
Oh, and if you’re a chick – that gets mad when your significant other plays videogames – there’s a couple of featured mindless studs (Charlie Hunnam and Robert Kazinsky) that flash shit-grins and occasionally take their shirt off. Besides that, just take one for the team and remember how you dragged us fellas to a tortuous Nicholas Sparks cinematic adaptation.
Overall, “Pacific Rim” is armed with things that can only be appreciated on the big screen. And yes, that includes the 3D this time around. It – and by it, I’m referring to the cinematography – gives moviegoers exactly what they want in this film (i.e. seeing detailed battles between the larger-than-life characters without an annoying shaky camera). And though it rapid-fires plot details at you just to keep this humming along, and is equipped with sub-par acting (no, they are not trying to be that bad – they are), at least everything makes decent sense. And more importantly, makes you believe that Hollywood can rise above uninspired blockbuster efforts like last year’s “Battleship.”
Pacific Rim is rated PG-13 and opens in the Tampa Bay market on July 12th (special 10 p.m. screenings on the 11th).