[Film Review] Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim 2013

Title: Pacific Rim
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Language: English, Cantonese
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Travis Beacham
Guillermo del Toro
Music: Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Charlie Hunnam
Rinko Kikuchi
Idris Elba
Robert Kazinsky
Charlie Day
Burn Gorman
Max Martini
Clifton Collins Jr.
Ron Perlman
Mana Ashida
Diego Klattenhoff
Rating: 5.6/10

Del Toro’s latest tent-pole, watched in 3D format on IMAX screen, a substantial SFX Jarger Vs. Kaiju monolith which makes TRANSFORMER franchise pale in comparison. But the feeble story-line and unimaginative character-building drags the film into a scrape of torpor. especially after the seasonal actioners’ drum-fire (after WHITE HOUSE DOWN 2013, and FAST & FURIOUS 6 2013), PACIFIC RIM is the most costly one, and its red-hot accomplishment in the Chinese box office suggests a belated chance to break even its tepid reception in the North American domain, with its Japan opening this coming weekend, an approximate $400,000,000 worldwide turnover may green-light a sequel for its ardent followers.

The 3D effect surely doesn’t improve at all thanks to the murky palette of the raining night combat and underwater location, under the 3D monopoly (even more absurd there are 4D version available in theaters) at least in China, we have no access to the plain 2D type, which rumor says its rendition is much better in an IMAX screen. Dedicated to Japanese Tokusatsu films, del Toro and his crew’s reconstruction and invention of genre is groundbreaking, an eye-opener with excellent technical scrupulousness, the bombarding sound effects are overwhelming as well as its awe-inspiring and heroic battle scenes.

There are some hiccups keep bugging me, an obvious one is that why on earth there is no conventional weaponry assistance engaging in the doomsday battle, not even as the cannon fodder; another one is the last moment sword stunt, saving the best for the last may not work here, it is only for practicability, but an ill-considered one. Hunnam doesn’t possess enough charisma to carry on the film on his shoulder and his platonic relation with Kikuchi hasn’t been dug deep enough to steal the limelight. Other actors are standard equipment, Elba is the commander whose background story desperately needs a prequel. Day is the comic relief and Perlman is the egomaniac laughing-stock.

Del Toro’s Hollywood odyssey has been rougher than one had presumed, PACIFIC RIM is a qualified film in the sense of it is an updated product for the genre criterion (let’s wait and see how GODZILLA will handle the challenge next year), but it doesn’t live up to del Toro’s talent if one familiars with his earlier films, notably his homespun masterpiece PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006, 9/10), where mythology and reality have been miraculously criss-crossed and not only our eyes are being opened, our hearts are also being filled with passion and vibration.

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