'Pacific' a silly, if action-filled, rimshot
Sheer madness. That's what this is, this movie that Guillermo del Toro just had to make, and for which he abandoned “The Hobbit.” Dude wanted to make a “Godzilla” movie. Married to a “Tranformers” picture. With a little “Starship Troopers” and “Independence Day” and “Hellboy” mixed in.
It's the future of cinema — or the present: a movie cunningly calculated to lure Hollywood's biggest growth market with just its title — “Pacific Rim.”
In the very near future, enormous alien beasts are sneaking into the ocean through a dimensional crack in the ocean floor along the Pacific's “Ring of Fire.” The Japanese named them “kaiju,” because “Godzilla” already was taken. And after realizing battling these monsters is a toxic disaster, the world's governments teamed up to build gigantic, human-controlled robots called jaegers, after the German word for “hunter.” The pairs of rangers who drive them wear armor that lets them maneuver them — one ranger controls the left side and left brain, the other the right side — through a neural mind-meld process called “drifting.”
In a prologue, we meet a pair of mind-melded brothers (Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff) who drive the jaeger Gipsy Danger into harm's way. But things go wrong and one sibling is killed. That heralds the end of this jaeger program. The world will wall off the coast along the Pacific Rim, with the rich and powerful getting the primo interior real estate and the rest of the populace stuck building the walls and living on the coasts.
Cut to years later and the jaeger program is winding down; the wall is being completed but “our best scientists” (shrieking Charlie Day of “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” daft-Brit Burn Gorman of “Game of Thrones”) don't think the wall will work. The monsters keep coming.
Rebellious returning ranger Raleigh (Hunnam of TV's “Sons of Anarchy) angles to get martial-arts mama Mako (Rinko Kikuchi of “Babel”) as his partner. And program director Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) says “That's not going to happen.”
The leads are bland, and the cast doesn't so much perform as show up and give us tastes of patented shtick that we expect — Elba has his “Henry V” speech, the bobcat-voiced Day kvetches, the grumpy Ron (“Hellboy”) Perlman (as an underworld purveyor of kaiju body parts) growls.
Dumb movies like this don't invite much analysis.
Del Toro's robots have weight and mass, and their epic, Hong Kong-smashing fights with the four- and six-legged, clawed and horned monsters are visually coherent, unlike the messy blur of the “Transformers” movies. There's a light, humorous feel to “Pacific Rim” because the science is silly and logic takes a flying leap.
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Extras sought for Will Smith movie filming in Pittsburgh
- Lawrenceville theater to screen Robin Williams films