I think it’s fair to say that my first impression of Pacific Rim was less than enthusiastic. I’m talking about teaser trailer first impression. Then as various NPR and Nerdist interviews began to surface, my curiosity grew – after all, this is modern auteur Guillermo Del Toro we’re talking about. I even did the whole 3D IMAX thing. Go big or go home.
I think going into this movie with classic kaiju films in mind definitely helps set the tone. Guillermo effortlessly flings us into a scifi adventure chocked full of excitement wrapped around this sort of intangible nostalgic core. Even though this is a movie about mechs and monsters, there’s a small but surprising amount of poignancy – just enough to remind us that the threat is very real.
At the same time, there are some very predictable elements going on. We’ve got the rebellious, scathed underdog, a rookie, a pair of wacky scientists, and no-nonsense military personnel with the quirky tech guy. We know these characters in and out. Perhaps it was the visual grandeur (the CGI is absolutely gorgeous), or maybe the heart and humor of a loved project, but I was still completely engaged.
It’s like classic Godzilla with modern conventions, as crafted by the fantasy master Guillermo Del Toro. Unfortunately, I think it lacks that truly dynamic oomph that we’ve come to expect. Still a great time, though – just keep your mind open for a complete suspension of disbelief (I mean, it is an aliens and robots movie), and ears peeled for a neat little GLaDOS cameo.
Final Grade: A-