I watched the DVD of Pacific Rim with my eldest son last night and, at the end of the film, he turned to me and said “That was the worst film I’ve ever seen.”
“Really?” I asked. “The worst?”
He acknowledged, at this point, that I have made him watch worse films. His main objection to this one was that all of the battle scenes take place at night and in the rain, making it often difficult to see what exactly is going on. And for a film that is primarily — almost entirely — about the battle scenes, this is a bit of a problem.
I enjoyed it, though.
The film is Guillermo del Toro’s homage to the big Japanese monster movies of the past and involves a seemingly endless stream of monsters (Kaiju) coming through a rift in the ocean floor. Humanity responds by coming together to build ever more powerful Battle Mechs (Jaegers) to fight the Kaiju. These Jaegers are mind-controlled and too heavy a neural load for a single pilot, so a crew of two pilots must ‘drift’ of synchronise their minds with each other and the mech. This drives much of the human drama in the film.
In many ways, Pacific Rim is quite an old-fashioned film and this is a strength and a weakness. To those of us that grew up watching watching the likes of Godzilla stomping Tokyo, this film is a joyful reminder of the sheer fun you can have watching giant robots smashing into giant monsters. If, however, you don’t have the advantage of nostalgia, then it’s all a bit dark and a bit messy and you’re left wondering why your dad is having so much fun.
I still want to see the sequel, though