“Pacific Rim” is going to be a hit with fanboys all over the planet. It’s the type of movie that they feel obligated to love because of what it’s about and who made it. In this case we have a movie about alien dinosaurs (Kaijus) fighting giant robots (Jaegers) directed by Guillermo del Toro (filmmaker who most Comi-Con attendees think can do no wrong). Sounds like it should work on every level doesn’t it? Yeah, well it doesn’t!
Alien monsters named Kaijus come up through a rift in the Pacific Ocean (Get it, “PACIFIC Rim”). Giant robots steered by military officers are used to battle these ferocious extraterrestrials. Our military must join forces with the world’s most annoying scientists to find a way to seal off the portal between our world and the dimension they come from.
Let’s start out my review on a positive note. The CGI in “Pacific Rim” looks great. The aliens and robots blend very well with all their surroundings.
And that’s the only thing I can come up with positive about “Pacific Rim.” As a whole, the movie is absolutely unbearable to sit through. It escapes me how sequences of robots and aliens fighting each other could be so uninspiring that I literally dozed off at points.
The design of the Kaijus are completely unoriginal and nothing we haven’t seen before in a dozen other sci-fi movies. The Jaegers are basically souped-up giant robots that resemble what we’ve seen in “Power Rangers” dressed in “Halo” armor. Booooring.
Now we move into character development. The entire middle of the movie is one big, long, drawn-out attempt at developing characters we will feel emotionally tied to. I completely understand the writer’s motivation for doing this.
The problem is that every character in “Pacific Rim” is so annoying you actually want them to die or exit the screen as quickly as possible. Add to this the fact that not a single one of the actors seem to give a crap about their stereotypical role in the film and you have a serious problem. In a nutshell, the acting is absolutely horrid.
“Pacific Rim” is a tired conglomeration of clichés we’ve already seen in way better movies in the past. There are so many recycled ideas mashed up in it that you could almost put them down on a call sheet as bullet points. Character who lost his brother in a past battle and retired? Check. He’s being called back into duty by his old military leader? Check. Military leader gets a chance to be the hero and sacrifice himself in one last battle? Check. Military leader gets to give long rousing inspirational speech just like the one the President gives in “Independence Day?” Check. They’re all here for your predictable enjoyment.
Let’s just call “Pacific Rim” what it really is. It’s Guillermo del Toro’s failed attempt at making what he wished was his essential “Ultraman vs. Godzilla” homage. As I was running out of words to use in place of “unoriginal,” I came across several synonyms that describe this movie to a tee: dull, unoriginal, corny, heavy-handed, humdrum, ordinary, phoned in, stale, uncreative, unexciting, unimaginative, unimpressive, uninspiring, uninteresting, and uninventive.
I’m giving parents a warning in closing. There’s no way any child under the age of 12 will sit through “Pacific Rim.” Absolutely nothing exciting happens for 45 minutes in the middle, at which time they will get uncontrollably antsy and beg you to leave. This won’t bother you because you’ll be ready to run out of the theater screaming by then anyway.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Movie Review: “The Lone Ranger”
Blu-ray Review: “6 Souls”
Blu-ray Review: “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” / “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” 2 Movie Collection 3-Disc Special Edition