Because making the poster anything less than full size wouldn't do justice to the movie.

A specific win. (click to make it go BIG, or if your system unexpectedly crashes, extinct)

If you come out of Pacific Rim thinking its stupid, what were you expecting? An insight into the human condition? If you went into Pacific Rim thinking anything of the kind, then there’s only one stupid element in that situation, and it isn’t Pacific Rim.

However, if you go into Pacific Rim under the assumption that you are going to get a movie about enormous robots having enormous fights with enormous aliens, then that is what you will get. And get it you will, in spades.

You want deep characters? Okay, how about that moment when the giant mech ‘Gipsy Danger’ grabs a massive, slobbering alien by the head, winds up for a punch, but then rockets come out of its elbow and the giant robot rocket punches the massive, slobbering alien in the face?

There you go. Have that. There’s your “deep characters”. Puss.

Pacific Rim cares not for your pathetic whining about characterization or  deep story. It pities those lowly aspirations. Pacific Rim reaches for the grander achievement of colossal robot on monster fights in the oceans, cities and occasionally, skies.

Does it achieve this achievement? Yes it achieves it. The film’s central characters, Gipsy Danger (the American Jaeger), Striker Eureka (the Australian Jaeger), Crimson Typhoon (the Chinese Jaeger) and Cherno Alpha (the Russian Jaeger) are beautifully realized.



In design terms the Jaegers are gorgeous. Modern giant robots are generally associated with the overly complicated, messy, confusing things of the Transformer movies. Here director Guillermo del Toro has wisely gone for much simpler, classic designs. Its a real joy to behold seeing all the moving parts slide over and slot into each other, clanking away in a recognizable and relateable fashion, making the machines seem far more real.

Such is the attention to detail that a shot of Gipsy Danger’s ankle movement is genuinely enthralling to watch. These machines are just beautiful. The physicality of their movement is also carried through to their grander actions; so while they are capable of some impressive feats, it never strays into the completely unbelievable ninja-like movements of Michael Bay’s mecha.



Here the Jaeger’s, are generally slow machines; there’s a great sense of weight to them, so when one of them throws a punch, the long, heavy, arcing movement means that when it connects, it really does give the impression that these things are mobile combat buildings. The robots of the Transformers franchise simply seem weightless thanks to their acrobatics and fast movements (and yes, that is taking into account they are much smaller machines) but de Toro knows that to convey real heft and power, he has to keep his main stars recognizable in construction and laborious in movement.

The Jaegers are also beautifully designed in concept, real emblematic archetypes of the countries they belong to in this cartoonish universe. Gipsy Danger looks like an American football player and walks like a cowboy; Crimson Typhoon has a third more people inside it, thus has an extra arm (the odd but logical placement of this arm means that interesting and arresting form follows function) and the Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha has a nuclear power plant cooling tower on its head.



Each move in their own way; the Australian robot Striker Eureka is super fast, while Cherno Alpha is incredibly slow, but they still maintain that sense of weight.

Their opponents, the Kaiju, are also wonderful to behold, each one distinctively different with its own set of abilities and way of moving. They aren’t as striking as the Jaeger due to their dark colours against the night sea and sky, and but this does really bring home how difficult they are to keep a track off, a point made several times in the film with good effect

This cartoonish world also allows del Toro to bring with it some wonderful short-hand, meaning we can concentrate on the main story, rather than laborious world building. The opening sequence that tells of the early encounters with the Kaiju is riveting alone, and its clever focus on the civilian and media’s wide and rapidly varying perception and treatment of the Kaijus gives a fantastic depth and flavour to this world.



It also allows del Toro to shamelessly implement devices such as Kaiju ‘categories’ or ‘classes’. Basically this is a way of describing how big a Kaiju is, and while it might seem a bit easy or cheesy, it actually works remarkably well. Given the monsters are all different its amazing just how much having a scientist describe what class it is actually brings to the fights. As the action is basically one on one bouts, its good to have as a reference point how hard the Kaiju is that a Jaeger’s going against. Its also a quick and effective way of piling on an extra level of perceived danger when a bigger Kaiju arrives on the scene.

The action itself is magnificently shot and the choreography is incredibly satisfying. Its complex enough to be riveting but not overly so, maintaining a clarity you can really hold on to.



The story itself is refreshingly simple. In a time when blockbusters are dominated by narratives with all manner of twists and turns in an effort to be seen as an ‘intelligent’ blockbuster, its really welcome to have somewhat of an old fashioned one that has a straight forward story. That’s not to say its isn’t engrossing. The wonderfully textured world ensures that, and indeed its probably the simplicity of the story in the first place that makes it engrossing. We’ve come to expect unconventional narratives to the point where they’ve become the convention; Pacific Rim‘s story seems almost innovative as a result.

The cast of the film, to be fair, are not going to win any Oscars. Charlie Hunnam as main human character Raleigh Becket has a great name, and performs well in the role. He’s fairly cardboard, but then all the human characters are, and that’s actually something of a positive.



There are two standouts, one being Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost, who delivers a classic stern movie general performance complete with sterling speech and the now famous “we are canceling the apocalypse!” line. The other is Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, who manages to deliver a charming turn, displaying real pain and grief while staying in harmony with the overall tone of the movie.

This is a cartoonish world and a throwback to the Kaiju and Mecha movies of old and is deliberately constructed from archetypes; it would be out of place and frankly a bit bland if the cast were taking things entirely seriously. This is a movie populated with characters called ‘Raleigh Becket’, Stacker Pentecost’, ‘Hercules Hansen’ and ‘Hannibal Chau’ for crying out loud!

As a result a blockbuster, no, a movie, so tonally consistent as Pacific Rim is a rare thing. The performances and characters are perfectly in harmony with what the movie wants to be.



Regardless the story and characters of Pacific Rim are just facilitators with which to explore this world and the things that populate it, and that’s absolutely fine. A lot of people need to get out of this way of thinking that a film exists solely as a vehicle for character and story; its a terribly limited, misguided view that doesn’t recognize cinema’s history or even the very nature of the format itself. If anything, its films like Pacific Rim that are closer to what cinema was at its very inception, and because Pacific Rim is so good at what it does it will hopefully remind these people of that.

Pacific Rim is wall to wall fun. Like I said at the start, its a film that promises big robots fighting big monsters and thoroughly delivers. Its a film in which you will be treated to wonderfully layered, unique world. Its a film that looks so breathtaking it will make you giddy. Its a film in which Idris Elba says he’s canceling the apocalypse, gets in big robot, punches some monsters, and cancels the apocalypse.  Its a film in which you will have a very good time.

By RJ Bayley.

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