It’s been a day since watching Pacific Rim and I’m starting to have doubts. It’s a fun entertainer. I enjoyed it a lot and it moved at just the right pace to keep the interest level somewhat high. But, there is one major flaw in the film; that it isn’t original, to put it lightly.
Pacific Rim takes inspiration from countless films; Independence Day, Matrix, Avatar, Godzilla, there are similarities-a-plenty. Although while watching the film it was easy to see how and where Guillermo del Toro was enthused by the disaster/monster/sci-fi classics of the recent past, to make this apocalyptic monster mash, it’s only now that I have started to feel cheated. Forget the situations and take the characters for a second, each of whom have a trademark role; there is the leader in Stacker (Idris Elba) who gives an Independence Day like speech before the final fight; we have our semi-reluctant hero in Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) suffering from a personal loss early on in the film, and of course the obligatory female interest, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) with a back-story of her own along, and of course a movie like such is never complete without a couple of scientific nerds. When you think about the film on the whole, the only thing that really stands out as being somewhat different is the grandiose nature of the robots and monsters and the fights between them that although happen mostly in the dark and in rain, they are still well choreographed and easy to the eyes.
There is no doubt that the film would evoke similar interest during a second viewing. No one character or act really stands out as exceptional. So sad is the situation that even Ron Pearlman in a rather flamboyant role is forgettable. There is however a small role by Mana Ashida playing the young Mako who is brilliant. Maybe del Toro has a knack for taking out stellar performances from children.
Pacific Rim works well as a one-time watch. It has good graphics, huge fight sequences, a little bit of drama even though unnecessary, and the vibe of a successful summer blockbuster. Unfortunately summer has ended, and by the time the next one rolls in, not many are likely to remember this film.