Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim, the blockbuster of the year, comes generously wrapped in nostalgia, fun and spectacle to define the genre for this decade.

2013 has been a good year but where has that one blockbusting 5 star experience been? There have been ups (Man of Steel, Star Trek: Into Darkness), downs (Iron Man 3, After Earth) and shocks (World War Z) but that one summer film has been missing… until now. The late great Roger Ebert always viewed films on their own merit and that is how you should view Guillermo del Toro’s newest and grandest blockbuster. It is not a masterful film because it is flawless (does a truly flawless film exist?); it is a masterful experience because it is just that, an experience. The best experience of it’s kind since James Cameron’s Avatar.

Pacific Rim is a nostalgic story, deceptively simple but the story’s brownie points are in the design. This is not just a militant bot beats beast tale, nor is it a fan service; it is presented with care and respect to these kinds of films and their makers. The plot is an old school tale of vintage heroism and those who are busy picking that apart and criticising the acting, are failing to get the point of a film like this. The manga influences are undeniable and there are lots of references to monster films new and old. This is not all that is here though; Pacific Rim is very much its director’s baby. Toro imprints the production with his trademarks and motifs.

Pacific Rim is the defining blockbuster of 2013. It is action-packed; with some of the most adrenaline fueled fight sequences this year. Brilliantly designed and perfectly scored by Ramin Djwadi. The acting may not be winning the Oscar (although the special effects and art direction might) but no one here is awful. Charlie Hunnam is a great hero and strikes chemistry with Rinko Kikuchi. The mighty Idris Elba compels as he bellows his lines with pure authoritative might. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman are excellent comic value as the bickering scientists. The best though is Ron Perlman, in an outrageously fun part as a black market dealer.

The Kaiju and Jaeger’s battles define doing spectacle cinema right and the power of this film is its all round entertainment. Many have cited a lacking human element, which is nonsense really, this is driven by heart and soul. Pacific Rim is a video game that allows you to revisit your youth, sat in the bathtub, with floating toys around you, roaring aloud and splashing. It is a trip back to the feelings that got many people into movies in the first place.

A near flawless big screen experience with some of the best 3D in yonks and one hell of a punch. We all expected big but what we get is not just the big but the little things as well, a masterpiece of the genre. Cloverfield was the monster movie that defined the noughties? This is the monster movie to define this decade. Ishirō Honda is looking down and he’s smiling. Oh and by the way, stay after the initial credits!

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