The Good, The Bad & The Weird Of Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’

The Good, The Bad & The Weird Of Guillermo Del Toro's 'Pacific Rim'

This weekend, Guillermo del Toro‘s “Pacific Rim,” a monster mash about giant creatures that come through an inter-dimensional portal on the ocean floor and the giant robots constructed to fight them, was neither an outright dud nor a smash. Beaten to number one by “Despicable Me 2,” we can’t imagine a third place finish was what Warner Bros. had in mind for their $200 million summer movie. Was it too much of a fan letter to nerds and comic book stores for the general public to care? Did the marketing campaign stumble? Did it need an A-list star? We’re sure conference rooms at WB today are having meetings asking those exact same questions, but there’s also the simple question of whether or not the movie actually delivered. 

While a certain segment embraced the approach that riffed on old-school Saturday matinee double-features, anime, manga and trumped-up videogames, others found those elements couldn’t hit the derivative story, one-dimensional characters and a movie that offered a lot of hollow explosions and special effects (here’s our original review). In fact at The Playlist, it has spurred its own numerous discussions in the lobby and we’ve carried it over to this feature in which we run down the good, the bad, and the just plain weird about “Pacific Rim” (and even some of these points were hotly debated within our ranks). Spoilers roughly the size and shape of a giant robot, follow.

Good Kaiju 

The Designs
Seeing as this is a Guillermo del Toro film, everything in “Pacific Rim” is meticulously detailed and gorgeously designed. The production design was handled by both Carol Spier, a longtime Cronenberg collaborator who has also worked with del Toro in the past, and Andrew Neskoromny, a veteran of influential sci-fi series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The two work in concert with one another beautifully. The sets are almost universally stunning, though the borrowed “Blade Runner” look in the Tokyo slums is admittedly played out (let’s call for moratorium there). From the bones of fallen kaiju to the lair of black market organ harvester Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman), every location design is beautiful and fully realized. Then there are, of course, the robots and monsters, which del Toro personally oversaw with a small army of artists (the designs were brought to life by the magicians at Industrial Light & Magic). Each cuts an imposing silhouette, like the three-armed jaeger Crimson Typhoon or the “category 5” monster seen at the end of the movie, one that combines del Toro’s love for “Godzilla“-esque man-in-suit designs with his clear fascination with all things Lovecraft. You get the impression, from the design work, that del Toro didn’t set out to simply make a monsters versus robots movie, it set out to make the monsters versus robots movie.

Feels Both Cutting Edge And Nostalgic
Rare is the movie that can make you feel like you’re experiencing something you’ve never felt before while at the same time warming your heart in the way that only the nostalgia of something truly familiar can produce. That’s the magic of “Pacific Rim.” It’s a nearly $200 million, cutting-edge spectacle that uses every high tech tool in the cinematic arsenal but can often times feel as wide-eyed and wondrous as sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet, watching Saturday morning cartoons. It’s sense of striking awe is something few of the summertime juggernauts possess— they might be able to turn the destruction levels up to a deafening degree, but there’s little in the way of real marvel. Del Toro, with his geeky obsessions and attention to detail, knows how to create this kind of response in the viewer. And it really does take someone like del Toro to produce such an honest and immersive effect, mostly because he’s an actual nerd, instead of who is usually behind these movies—a committee of suits and creative cynically types trying to speculate what nerds want.

The World
Jaegers. Kaiju. The Drift. The Breach. The Shatter Dome. Hell, there’s even tangential plot threads about the toxicity of kaiju blood, which is given the nickname “Kaiju blue.” A lot of this stuff is deal breaker nonsense to normal civilians, but if you can hang with it, it’s great world-building texture. These are all terms cooked up by del Toro and his co-screenwriter Travis Beacham, and they are all phrases that pop up, again and again, in “Pacific Rim.” While it does act as marble-mouthed sci-fi gobbledegook to some (okay, many and non-nerds don’t care about the different names of each Jaeger robot), if you can get past it, it actually serves to deepen and enhance the bizarro, perfectly calibrated “Pacific Rim” world. It’s a testament to del Toro and Beacham, too, that you know exactly what each of these things is and that they can be spoken about with effortlessness within the movie. Rarely is a world this authentically established, where every facet of the science fiction concept is, if not examined deeply, then at least given a passing mention (including, of course, kaiju crap). You can tell that the filmmakers are in love with this universe, and if you are one of those who can suspend their disbelief, you can’t help but be similarly entranced.

The Visual Effects
Simply put, the visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic, are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Yes, there have been both giant monsters and giant robots in major motion pictures before, and a lot of them have been brought to life by ILM. But the level of detail, complexity, and creativity on display in “Pacific Rim” is unparalleled. You can feel every reptilian scale, watch every gear move underneath the giant armor plates. What’s even more is that most of these battles take place in insane atmospheric conditions—in snow, in rain, underwater (though it should be said, many have criticized those settings for obscuring the fight scenes, we’ll get to that). All of that has to be visualized too and it’s impressive to say the least. On a pure visual level, “Pacific Rim” is overwhelming and overstuffed, to the point that only on second or third viewings will you be able to pick up on all the little flourishes and embellishments. There’s so much of it that it’s easy to ignore or take for granted, but visual effects movies as lovingly crafted, with this much attention to detail, come around far too seldom. Most movies are interested in the most bang for your buck, while del Toro and his collaborators are interested in something more, a real sense of visual splendor and opulence.

Mako’s flashback
One of the major criticisms levied at “Pacific Rim” is the lack of characterization and background story as motivation. And while this is certainly true for some, the one character who receives due diligence in this realm is Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori, a Japanese jaeger fighting expert whom Marshall Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is determined to keep out of the pilot’s seat… err… elliptical machine. Her shaky mental state is hinted at (“vengeance”) but we don’t know exactly why he’s keeping her from taking the reins until the test run with Raleigh in Gipsy Danger.  During  her first neural drift, she ends up falling down the rabbit hole of her own memory of her encounter with a Kaiju as a young girl. The amount of drama and stakes contained within this one flashback is more than the entire film really manages to carry out. Mako, as a young girl, runs down her city street with a kaiju chewing concrete city blocks just behind her. She carries her red shoe, wailing uncontrollably, and darts down an alley where Raleigh, with her in her drift, implores her to come back mentally. In this state, she manages to fire up the jaeger’s cannon firing device, almost obliterating the crowd in the Shatter Dome, before Clifton Collins Jr.’s tech ops character pulls the (comically oversized) plug. This sequence is emotionally searing, beautifully shot and highly effective. It’s also teased earlier and revisited later to reveal more about her character and is a fine piece of emotional and revealing filmmaking, that doesn’t overdo it or skimp on the details, and it’s clearly the mark of del Toro within this massive mash-em-up. 

Bad Kaiju

Murky and repetitive fight scenes that are hard to follow.
At first, the different kaiju types and jaegers are pretty thrilling, and exciting, in their size, power and unique capabilities. Then, del Toro throws them all in the ocean, at night (is it ever daytime? or not raining?) by the handful. The behemoths gnash and clash, and while there are a few notable moments, such as the much-trailered barge bat maneuver, it’s mostly a crashy mashup of gray and black against gray and black. At least Crimson Typhoon had three arms, and was, uh, crimson. But in the mid-film pile up of Crimson Typhoon, the Russian jaeger, and and the other kaiju, it was nigh impossible to discern which kaiju was doing what to whom, which jaeger was being drowned or blown up. Even when the fight made its way to land it just seemed repetitive and stretched on too long. Whatever goodwill and excitement was built up in anticipation of these clashes is quickly worn out in the smashy-smashy that just looks all the same. 

Charlie Day and the Other Nerd/Everyone’s Accents 
There were at least two points in the movie where we leaned over to our seatmate and said, “What accent is that?” with Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam, both Brits, two of the worst offenders. Elba, a master of accented disguise in “The Wire” seemed to be using his British accent, which is slightly Americanized, whilst Hunnam was definitely doing an American accent but unfortunately with a British lilt. Then the Aussies showed up, egads (Max Martini, do not pass go, do not collect $200 and proceed directly to Australian accent school again), which resulted in Rinko Kikuchi being the only actor with a believable accent (though she’s not the easiest low-talking actor to understand either). With this collection of wonky accents, rapid fire delivery and nonsense future science jargon, we understood about one-third of the dialogue (but maybe that’s for the best). Then we have Charlie Day. While Day doesn’t have any accent problems and he pulls off an annoyingly shrill mad scientist/Rick Moranis in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” his lightning speed patter is nearly impossible to discern and his shrieking persona is so obnoxious you want to club him to death. And don’t even get us started on Burn Gorman as the mathematician counterpart to Day’s scientist, sporting a parody bowl cut and limp and doing his best Crispin Glover. Maybe every other sentence out of their mouths is intelligible, and because they’re either talking about kaiju math or Vulcan mind-melding with a seafaring alien dinosaur at a high pitched, panicky squeal, it only complicates matters. As our seatmate said, “that might as well have been in French.” 

The Fundamental Premise Doesn’t Make Much Sense
We live in probably the most advanced military age imaginable. A guy sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen can send an unmanned drone plane around the world to drop a bomb on a target; all manner of computerized imagery gives personnel unprecedented information about geography, topography and enemy troop movements; weapons are being made smaller but even more deadly. So when a monster rises from the bowels of the Earth in the future, the best plan of action are big, clunky robots that require a neural bridge to operate them? (Side note: it’s never quite clear what the advantage is in using a neural bridge, particularly when the pilots wind up shouting commands to each other anyway). In the crazy near-future of “Pacific Rim,” can we not simply send drones boasting devastating payloads to deal with these guys? Surface-to-air missiles? While there is a certain my-gun-is-bigger-than-your-gun logic to humanity building equally sized robots to deal with these monsters, the all-or-nothing, go-Jaeger-or-go-home-and-build-some-big-walls-that-won’t-work framework of the movie doesn’t make much sense. Is it a dealbreaker? Probably not, and this kind of movie requires at least some suspension of disbelief, but throughout the movie, as the jaegars fall, get blasted by plasma and/or rendered useless and ripped apart, you do wonder if this is the best plan that humans can come up with.

Movie Breaks Its Own Rules
“Pacific Rim” presents us with a bad boy jaegar pilot (Hunnam), who doesn’t follow the rules, but still is one of the best out there… until he follows orders exactly to save the day (what happened to his rule-breaking creativity to defeat the Kaiju?). The jaegers are outdated relics that can’t possibly defeat the increasingly huge and constantly-adapting Kaiju rising the depths of the ocean… until the “analog” old-timey version manages to miraculously survive a vicious beating at the bottom of the ocean, jump into a dimensional portal, and return both pilots alive. Oh no, Gipsy Danger is being flown (what?) into outer space (HUH?), but no worries, bro, it had a hidden sword the whole time! Oh no, it looks like our heros are going to run out of oxygen and die somewhere between our universe and another galaxy, but it’s cool, the jaegars (who inner geography expands and shrinks as necessary) have some high-tech escape pods (that none of the other killed pilots used). Also, it turns out that in the future, the military has some bitchin’ wifi that allows them to communicate with people at hundreds of miles at the bottom of the ocean, and even further in the Earth’s core, from even more hundreds of miles away. In short “Pacific Rim” never really has many dramatic stakes, because right around the corner, there is an 11th minute deus ex machina device introduced so our heroes can escape danger. The movie doesn’t really have a playbook… it writes it as it goes along.

Bland Characters With Little Characterization
While Mako and Raleigh are given a bit of backstory, no one else is really given anything or any motivation beyond just a hint (Pentecost is protective of Mako, the father and son are… father and son), and this is glaringly obvious with the Chinese and Russian pilots of the jaegers in Hong Kong. The Chinese triplets who pilot Crimson Typhoon are shown playing basketball and then always holding a basketball, so apparently… they like basketball. It’s too bad they don’t have any lines! The Russian pilots are even more badass, a male-female duo who sport cheesy platinum dye-jobs and look intimidating, sexy, and weird. Apparently the extreme hair and affinity for basketball are supposed to make us like them, because they play a rather crucial role in the 4 on 2 jaeger v. kaiju battle in which Gipsy Danger, Raleigh and Mako prove themselves. But, we know nothing about them, so when a kaiju smushes them into the ocean to drown, it’s fairly anti-climactic. “D2: Mighty Ducks 2” has better characterizations of its supporting characters and villains. Then there’s the main characters themselves. Raleigh is simply a blander version of Tom Cruise‘s Maverick character in “Top Gun” and all the other leads are mostly one-note characters. Idris Elba delivers throaty speech after speech, Mako is the ace-in-the-hole fighter with a heart of gold or whatever, Ron Perlman plays the eccentric Ron Perlman character (who ultimately has zero bearing on the plot and could have been removed entirely), Charlie Day and Burn Gorman are insufferable Twiddle Dee dummies, etc. etc. And of course, there’s the Australian pilot who plays the Iceman character and rips off the “Top Gun” internecine pilot conflict once again (Beacham apparently loves that movie). None of these characters mean much to the movie. They’re all silo archetypes to fulfil the movie’s various plot needs, which obviously put monsters and robots before human beings.

Weird & (So-So) Kaiju

Post-credits sequence is exactly the same as the climax of Sharknado. Nuff said.
So we didn’t watch “Sharknado,” the viral SyFy hit on Thursday night, but we did read a recap right before we went to see “Pacific Rim” and wouldn’t you know it, but someone is copying someone else’s paper. In the climax of “Sharknado,” one of the great whites gobbles up the lady friend of Ian Ziering’s character, Fin (yup, that’s his name). What else is Steve Sanders to do but launch himself, chainsaw first, into said shark and cut out his lady love Nova (yup, her name)? So, it seems a little fishy that, SPOILER ALERT, in the post-credits sequence, Ron Perlman’s Hannibal Chau character cuts himself out of the baby kaiju that gobbled him up earlier, grumbling about his shoe (what’s with the shoes?). Of course, this has sort of been a trope since Biblical times, but it at least seems telling that one low-budget, so-bad-it’s-good, made for SyFy shark movie would use the same gag as one of the contenders to the summer blockbuster throne. Let’s try to aim higher than that next time, shall we? 

The Multiple Ethnicities 
One of the more refreshing aspects of “Pacific Rim” is that it isn’t, like most big movies of this ilk, a case of America (fuck yeah!) saving the world from the threat of giant hulking beasts. “The other sort of big summer movies often feel to me like it’s about one race, one credo and one country saving the world, and I wanted to make it about the world saving the world, no matter what skin color you have, what race you have, what belief you have – everybody in the movie saves the world,” Del Toro told Salon, and it’s absolutely true. Del Toro’s cast has more multi-culti diversity than the crew of the starship Enterprise, but it never feels phony or forced. The world comes together to fight the monsters and it adds texture and flavor to what could have another boring Caucasians saving the world effort. The only problem with this is: see above. Diversity is great, but it’s not so fun to see Asians, Australians, Russians that are poorly drawn, one-dimensional characters.

Weird Alternate Dimension (It’s Mercifully Kept Short)
During the climactic battle, the Jaegers intend to head to the underwater breach where the kaiju are keeping the clone army (or something). Striker, piloted by Idris Elba and the bad, mean Aussie son do some sort of suicide thingy. Then, because Hunnam and Kikuchi’s jaeger is a nuclear warhead, they drag a kaiju carcass to the breach in order to access it (BECAUSE DNA!) and then fall into Kaiju alt-dimension, which doesn’t make much sense because are they in the center of the earth or space? Electric purple labial folds open up and envelope the jaeger into their midst, where some kind of crazy, bug-eyed kaiju overlords ready their armies. It’s all very confusing, bad, dumb-looking, and dangerously close to the pyschic alien mummies of “Indiana Jones 4.” Thankfully, it is blessedly short and the jaeger ejaculates its two escape pods before blowing up all the kaiju. (But what happens when you set off a nuclear bomb at the center of the earth?? Nothing good, I imagine). This sequence looks very dumb, makes little sense, and they are smart to keep it as short as possible. 

There’s a lot more to discuss with a world as rich and wonky as “Pacific Rim,” including the names (Stacker Pentecost? Hercules Hanson? We want to see the futureworld’s version of a baby-naming book.), the way that the movie was always referencing whatever is in del Tor’s fabled mancave, and “Game of Thrones” composer Ramin Djawadi‘s admittedly boss score. Also the debate rages on as to whether “Pacific Rim” is riddled with tired cliches or if it was just hitting all the right beats, exceptionally well. Please, by all means, continue the discussion below. We can’t wait to drift with you. – Katie Walsh, Kevin Jagernauth, Drew Taylor

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Comments

IainG

Not seen anyone else comment on the obvious discrepancy in the age of the young Asian girl and her adult self. If the war has been going on for 6 or 7 years and the young girl seems to be 6 or 7 years old, wouldn't the older Asian girl then be 13 or 14 years old …not mid twenties onward!!
The film lost all credibility when I realised that.

Arsukfjorden

This movie just had too caveman-agression/american badass stuff in it and no logic at all. Here is SOME of the stuff that i kept wondering about throughout the movie:

– Why would they use pure iron and no alloys? Pure iron is absolutely useless?

– Why would they make on of the Jaegers analogue? Analogue has pretty much no benefits and do btw get affeted by that EMP pulse.

– On of the jaegers had dieselengines? Seriously? Diesel? No way any current or future diesel engine could ever produce enough torque to move these robots at that speed. I dont care about how much better engines are in 20 years time. No way they are going to produce that much power.

– No current material(alloy or not) could ever sustain as much force as these robots are put under when they fight and move quickly.

– Modern helicopters(even the most powerfull ones) can only lift a few tons of weight. No way those 5-6 helikopters could ever lift those robots, which must weigh thousands of tones. It just wont happen.

– The ship, which were used as a weapon, could never be picked up without breaking in half. The construction is designet to be in water or in a dry dock. It could never be picked up, without shatter to pieces. The construction just wont hold.

-As the writter of the article above, i wonder in which way the mind brdige thing helps the pilots? The robots arms and legs is controlled by the pilots's limbs and and the ekstra gear is controlled by buttons. Only the plasma cannon has no obvious "button", but that can be the only reason for all the mind sharing stuff?

– Why are they not controlling the Jeagers wirelessly? Seems like one of the biggest problems is that the pilots are getting batteret to death inside the Jeagers, so why not just control them wirelessly?
And dont say that the neural connection probably would be too much for w wireless connection. All the mind control stuff can be translated to simple commands to move a leg forward and so on. It is obviously possible to do.

– Why did the geeky professor guy(not the Kaiju loving one – the other one) need 10m2 of blackboards to create something which seemed very similar to a exponential mathematical function? Seriously, this is something that you learn at the age of 17 or something – Not something you need einstein to figure out…

– A nuclear reactor does NOT explode like a nuclear bomb, just because it melts down. It melts and there will probably be a smaller explosion, but not a 1,2 megaton explosion. Just look at Chernobyl. It did melt down, but it didnt really explode like a nuclear bomb. So blowing up that gypsi Jaeger would never work.
And to the guy who wrote the article above: blowing up any man made bomb(konventional, fission or fusion doesent matter) inside the core of the earth would have no impact at all. The forces inside the earth are so massive that it just wouldnt matter. But it is not the case anyway since this were an another dimension and (weird) stuff.

Overall this movie were just too much for me. I am okay with badass action fun, but this were just stupid. It is very clear that whoever wrote, ceated, produced, instructed(and so on) never had any idea of how the real world function.

It were fun, mainly because it were stupid… And great effects obviously. Thumps up for that.

/A civilengineer student

voxnulla

Just stole the movie, watched it (while skimming over some parts that made my ears bleed) and smiled because I did not spend a dime on this trash.
Flat, flaccid, devoid of any content, mindless action drivel for the attention span challenged. Utter US garbage.

Len

Decent review, but it FAILS in a couple of places.

Namely, it's pretty dumb to imply or think that Del Toro was ripping off Sharknado in any way, shape, or form… given the relative production complexities involved, Pacific Rim probably entered production BEFORE Sharknado, and they both got released around the same time.

Secondly, what's so hard to understand about The Breach? It's a DIMENSIONAL PORTAL, yo. The nuke didn't go of in 'the center of the Earth', and even if it did, the Earth is huge, and sees forces much more powerful than that on a regular basis (do you know how much energy was released when Krakatoa exploded? Mount St. Helens?).

Put your thinking caps on tighter next time, a lot of this stuff isn't THAT hard to get.

dave

Keith's right this was a good movie. You're just bashing it because you're afraid of what people will say if you like a giant robot vs monster movie. That and you got so much of the plot wrong I wonder if you even saw it or if you read the wiki.

Keith

MONSTERS AND GIANT ROBOTS!!!

Christian

This is such a bad article, the only reason you found some of the faults you found was probably because you were too busy talking to your "seatmate".

The whole sword thing? GD went through tons of changes during the 5 years, it's not outside the realm of belief that they decided to add swords this time around and they forgot to tell the protagonist about it but Mako oversaw the project which was why she activated the swords because she knew about them.

They straight up tell you the breach goes to a different dimension and not "[the core of the earth]", I don't even know why'd you think that.

The after credit scene. Think about it, Pacific Rim took waaaay longer to make than Sharknado, it's not like they just straight up copied them after seeing it and the scene was meant to be a joke, speaking of which.

This article is a joke and grasping at so many straws. The valid points it does make (the Asian and Russian characters being done incorrectly, some of the fight scenes) are so clear that writing them down in an article is just telling people stuff they already knew without developing much on what's being said besides going " Yeah, you know that part? That part was stupid."

Jenny

I'll give you one explanation for the sword. Mako was the one who used the sword, a woman, the men just want to bash the monsters up and use their shiny guns. Mako is the only practical one. When in doubt, melee.

raf jordan

wow, could not disagree more with this article. and i'm not saying the film is perfect, far from it. but everything the author didn't like, i liked lol. i couldn't believe what i was reading

Clay

Wow, spot on. Best article I've read about a movie in a long time. I like PR but I wanted to love it.

Bob

I think what you are all forgetting is that this film is super fast-paced and fun. All that aside, I thought it explained most loop-holes quite well. As per the drone deal, well they stated in the beginning that it took 6 days to take down the first Kaiju and after it destroyed 3 cities, certainly the drones were no the best option. This was a great movie and obviously not meant to be a super dull one. It starts and takes you on an immense action-packed tour of the world for the duration. The action sequences, IMO were not that dull. My only problem is that I did not understand why they insisted on boxing with the monsters, rather than just stabbing them…. THey had a sword the entire time. If you watch the film you can point out about 8 instances where he could have just stabbed the fucking monsters.

berk

Why del Toro focused on Son of Anarchy Top Gunning against Aussie Iceman instead of Mako and Stringer Bell is beyond me. Mako's backstory and drive to become a pilot combined with Stringer's father figure with a secret was far more interesting than the two sets of bland white guys the movie focused on.

blip

As someone who loved the movie, I'm not exactly going to deliver an even-handed verdict on this article, but I thought that some of the 'bad' is incredibly harsh and nit-picky. A fair chunk of the characterisation is weak, but then Del Toro would have needed a film that spanned several extra hours to flesh out every character – I'm hoping that some of this makes it into a director's cut come home release. At any rate, Mako was a well-developed character whose motivations made sense. And it never felt like her story arc was there just to give the men purpose.

Some of the accents are indeed shocking, but I didn't find them ever hard to understand. I also never had a problem with the fight scenes – everything seemed pretty crystal clear to me. I don't know if the complaints about fight scene visibility are coming from people who saw the film in 3D? But no problems here in 2 dimensions.

Rule breaking? Didn't see much of that. Gipsy Danger has been revamped since it was first commissioned, hence why it can keep up in the final scenes. And it was made clear from the start that the better the neural connection (which is there to share the burden of supporting the device, not for communication), the better you fight. Mako and Raleigh have a stronger connection than Raleigh and his brother, so Gipsy Danger performs better. The sword… There's a good chance that, due to renovations to Gipsy, Raleigh didn't know about it. And it's understandable for Mako to forget about it during the stress of her first actual fight. Further, pilots probably don't use the evacuation pods too often as they'd be a sitting duck for the Kaiju. It was shown earlier that Kaiju will take an interest in small boats – they exist to wipe everything out – so why would you not stay in the Jaegers to fight until the bitter end? Better chance for survival, I'd say.

Poking holes in the mid-credit scene? Really?! It was a throwaway joke for those who sat through the credits! Really not cool.

Lkon

And don't forget to label under the "bad": the film's women – or rather woman – and its misogyny. Of COURSE this geek's wet dream had to have a "spunky" and "bad-ass" yet constantly submissive, bowing Japanese waif with martial arts skills who is basically the first to crumble and the only one to cry and act like a teenager (Slamming a door in frustration even! Talk about infantilization and offensive stereotyping). She's the ONLY woman vaguely visible in this picture besides the "Russian" extra, and thus the only one who is of any importance to the plot. Talk about the Smurfette Syndrome in action. She is only begrudgingly given a chance to be a hero because of course she's also the love interest (what else are women good for, besides eye candy and hinting at romance to drum up the interest of the paying ladyfolk?) and labeled as "strong" when compared to the other "heroes" else in the flick, she is portrayed as if she isn't. I'm sorry but even her background info that supposedly fleshes her out as a character deserved to make a damsel-in-distress and crybaby out of her. Do you think they'd ever done that to Hunnam's character? Of course not. Mako having lost her brother/sister years ago and being brought out of retirement instead of Hunnam would've added as much, if not more depth to her character without resorting to age-old misogynist and racist tactics and tropes. Women are already invisible enough in movies as it is, let alone women whose characters are approached just as human beings, not just owners of boobs and a straight man's fantasy.

schoolboy

And fanboys go to see every movie that comes out, (and like most of them), so it's not like the sci-fi nerds are going to save movies like these by themselves. The general public are TIRED of these cookie-cutter action movies. This is why Spielberg says that the business is in trouble.

clamsy

Another clumsy attempt at saving a failing blockbuster comic book movie. "Yeah, it sucks, but go ahead and spend youre 12 bucks on it, anyway." It's not like movies are SUPPOSED to be good or anything…

jski

Couldn't agree more with this list. This movie is awe inspiringly realized, but you cringe/laugh every time someone speaks and the plot is advanced. If you go into this movie just to do some sight-seeing, you'll be more than satisfied.

sanman

Kevin Jagernauth – seriously? Looks like you've got your own naming book from Pacific Rift.

JimHarbor

I find it odd that you can be reviewing the film when it's clear you didn’t understand so much of it.

I have an infinite respect journalist (maybe be a bit too much) so when I tell you I find it odd that you didn’t grasp things I did, I don’t mean it to gloat but out of general shock.

I mean you seem to think the Kaiju Makers live in the center of the Earth when not only does the opening narration explain it’s a portal to another dimension, but the term "other universe" is used all the time. They aren't inside the planet; it's another dimension entirely.

That said I do agree the fights were bit off (the undersea battle was anti-climactic compared to the Hong Kong fight).

Though I wonder why you didn’t point out the quirky narrative flow. Very odd, with one little act and one big act, instead of a proper narrative curve.

agooga

I get the fun in snarking out at a movie like Pacific Rim– I shredded Prometheus for days after I saw it in similar fashion. The difference is that PacRim was fun as hell and that's all it was intended to be. It's a movie for 10 year olds and/or people with a still-extant inner child. I believe this film is destined to be a minor or full-fledged classic in the sci-fi / action genre. If I am right, it stands in good company with a lot of classics that have believability gaps big enough to drive a boat-sword through. A planet-killing battlestation? Using body-heat to power a computer simulated world? Mind melds? A golden box that melts people's heads? Stupidity! Insanity! Who were the morons that conceived of such nonsense!

agooga

I get the fun in snarking out at a movie like Pacific Rim– I shredded Prometheus for days after I saw it in similar fashion. The difference is that PacRim was fun as hell and that's all it was intended to be. It's a movie for 10 year olds and/or people with a still-extant inner child. I believe this film is destined to be a minor or full-fledged classic in the sci-fi / action genre. If I am right, it stands in good company with a lot of classics that have believability gaps big enough to drive a boat-sword through. A planet-killing battlestation? Using body-heat to power a computer simulated world? Mind melds? A golden box that melts people's heads? Stupidity! Insanity! Who were the morons that conceived of such nonsense!

agooga

I get the fun in snarking out at a movie like Pacific Rim– I shredded Prometheus for days after I saw it in similar fashion. The difference is that PacRim was fun as hell and that's all it was intended to be. It's a movie for 10 year olds and/or people with a still-extant inner child. I believe this film is destined to be a minor or full-fledged classic in the sci-fi / action genre. If I am right, it stands in good company with a lot of classics that have believability gaps big enough to drive a boat-sword through. A planet-killing battlestation? Using body-heat to power a computer simulated world? Mind melds? A golden box that melts people's heads? Stupidity! Insanity! Who were the morons that conceived of such nonsense!

agooga

I get the fun in snarking out at a movie like Pacific Rim– I shredded Prometheus for days after I saw it in similar fashion. The difference is that PacRim was fun as hell and that's all it was intended to be. It's a movie for 10 year olds and/or people with a still-extant inner child. I believe this film is destined to be a minor or full-fledged classic in the sci-fi / action genre. If I am right, it stands in good company with a lot of classics that have believability gaps big enough to drive a boat-sword through. A planet-killing battlestation? Using body-heat to power a computer simulated world? Mind melds? A golden box that melts people's heads? Stupidity! Insanity! Who were the morons that conceived of such nonsense!

kitcon

Amen. amen.
Thought pretty much the same things. Seeing the jaegers sucker punch a monster had me thinking — "Really? Voltes V could have done better 20 years ago." And they didn't need neural bridges.

Brian

RE: the "multiple ethnicities" remarks about other movies being about one race saving the world.
I should remind you that in the overwhelming majority of Japanese kaiju movies, it's always the Japanese saving the world without any help from anyone else. Nick Adams in MONSTER ZERO (1965) was a rare and notable exception. In fact, GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1992) was probably closer to Japan's true feelings. In it, the Americans and Russians were the bad guys who manipulate the monsters through time travel to destroy Japan in the 1990s to subvert Japan's "economic miracle." (I would argue that Japan didn't need any help busting its own economic bubble not long afterwards.)

C2F

Conventional weapons take too long to kill a Kaiju.

It took the military 6 days to kill the first Kaiju and they still had to nuke it- Not exactly something you want to do to your cities on a regular basis.

KF

"Maybe every other sentence out of their mouths is intelligible, and because they’re either talking about kaiju math or Vulcan mind-melding with a seafaring alien dinosaur at a high pitched, panicky squeal, it only complicates matters. As our seatmate said, “that might as well have been in French.” "

Were they real that difficult to understand? I don't know, seemed like basic technobabble to me, very easy to follow, very easy to extract the necessary plot info from what they said when they said it.

wilco

Guillermo Del Toro has talent , but he is always inconsistent. Pan's Labyrinth is his only film that was great from beginning to end.

ronnie

im worried that youre confused about the dimensional portal. one opening is on earth, and that gateway seems to take you to another universe, not the center of the earth.

i liked the characters. the characters in del toro's other movies are always way too melodramatic. but they worked here. charlie day was the least annoying ive ever seen him.

yeah, it would have been cool if one fight scene didnt take place at night in pissing rain.

so it lost to grown ups 2, but isnt it doing really well over seas?

i liked pacific rim way better than man of steel. but there were both flawed films.

PPPPPP

It was fun. Extraordinarily stupid, but fun. 3/5

RaikNaSeem

If the "portal" was always I'm the same spot, why do they have to wait for the kaiju to hit a city?

BAD STORY TELLING.

welles80

Pretty sure Hunnam’s character wasn’t presented as bad boy more unorthodox in his execution and surprising with the fight moves and such. It would not have made sense for him to be the rebellious dick most Hollywood type’s play as it would not have worked with the technology or philosophy that the film presents of a world coming together as one to fight a common enemy.

I thought the fights were incredibly easy to follows unlike the much favoured fast editing and cutting of recent summer blockbusters. I also enjoyed Day and Burn Gorman even if they didn’t completely work they were a nice light aside from all the EPIC destruction. I can see where you’re coming from with your other criticisms but I don’t agree with them 100% it seems like nit-picking. I wanted a gorgeous looking film with giant robots smashing giant monsters, Pacific Rim did the job. The biggest disappointment is the current US Box Office Top Ten…Grown Ups 2…(yes I am being a snob).

Sean

I went in for giant monsters vs giant robots, came out with that and the happiness that someone finally made a live action blockbuster that feels like a throwback to old school Gojira and Japanese anime.
I didn't expect levels of backstory nor did I want it in this case.

Sean

I went in for giant monsters vs giant robots, came out with that and the happiness that someone finally made a live action blockbuster that feels like a throwback to old school Gojira and Japanese anime.
I didn't expect levels of backstory nor did I want it in this case.

loudrockmusic

Jeez. Can't we just enjoy something for a change? I liked it and had fun with my homegirls watching it. They loved it, even though they, admittedly, only went to see Charlie Hunnam take his shirt off.

KG

I can agree with your bad and weird, except I never found the fight scenes hard to follow. It all seemed pretty straight-forward to me.

Josh

I don't get why they could use their escape pods to go through the breach, I thought they needed the DNA? Tactically the movie makes no sense but I had a lot of fun. That middle fight was epic. Give Del Torro the transformers franchise!

Gus

What about the cinematography and the sequence of little Mako?

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