Justifiably proud of a ridiculously awesome premise, Pacific Rim lovingly embraces its blockbuster status, clichés and all – refreshingly without any post-modern nonsense, knowing winks at the audience or ounce of satire. The film does exactly what it says on its ludicrously oversized walking tin: giant robots looking cool while pummelling the crap out of massive monsters. Those expecting a cerebral dimension to Guillermo del Toro’s $200 million action epic may leave a little disappointed, but he revels in the sheer fun of Pacific Rim’s concept and scale in a way that’ll excite and engross those on board with the concept.
Sensory overload is the order of the day, Pacific Rim packing a punch with its bold and bright colour palette, sheer size and mega volume. Yet somehow, as ridiculous as it sounds, there’s an enjoyable subtlety and elegance to how deftly del Toro sets up his world and illustrates the scale of its gladiators inside the film’s opening few minutes.
The fight sequences do get a little same-y, largely set at night and in the ocean – though we glimpse some short sequences elsewhere. The film also arguably peaks pre-climax with the most brilliant neon bombardment of the senses since Enter the Void – two 50 metre combatants spectacularly duking it out in late night downtown Hong Kong.
But for that, it’s hard to believe Pacific Rim has a 131 minute running time, sustaining attention throughout and ripping along with little of the between-set-piece slump common to other blockbusters. And without a single line of dialogue from a villain, a tired retread of a reluctant hero’s journey or wasting any time trying to ground itself in a gritty reality. We all better hope this makes plenty of money, because del Toro just showed Hollywood how a blockbuster should be done.
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