Monday, 5 August 2013

Pacific Rim (2013) - Dir. Guillermo del Toro

It's Monsters vs Machines in Guillermo del Toro's delightful big screen spectacle

We're over half way through the relentless onslaught of the summer blockbuster season. So far, Hollywood's multi-billion dollar bag o' tricks has produced one worthy conqueror (Iron Man 3), one crushing disappointment (Star Trek Into Darkness) and a mix of the usual mediocre franchises that are populating cinema screens year after year. The cinema screens need a saviour, someone or something to remind us how the term "blockbuster" was created. Wholeheartedly embracing that challenge are Guillermo del Toro and the giant humanoid machines of Pacific Rim.

Planet Earth is being terrorized by extra-dimensional monsters known as Kaiju who emerge from a portal at the bottom of the ocean. Faced with this unfathomable threat, humans build hulking humanoid machines known as Jaegers to battle the Kaiju. When it appears that the Kaiju have been temporarily defeated, the Jaeger program is abandonned in favour of constructing a giant wall to keep the Kaiju at bay. However when the Kaiju return stronger and bigger, and demolish the protecting wall, the world turns to the ageing Jaeger program to defeat the Kaiju once and for all.

Whilst that may sound like a lot to take in, del Toro deals with this background information in a swift opening sequence which neatly establishes Pacific Rim's own vision of the future. A more traditional route would start the film with the first Kaiju invasion and follow on from there. Pacific Rim isn't interested in beginnings; it politely doffs its cap to the necessary setup as it marches straight towards the last stand, the final boss level. Pacific Rim knows exactly what it has to deliver (giant monsters and machines knocking seven bells out of each other) and Guillermo del Toro delivers this in spades whilst also managing to introduce and give satisfying story arcs to the characters on screen.

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