Spare parts from Power Rangers, Transformers, Battleship, Tron, Real Steel and Godzilla form the bulk of director Guillermo del Toro’s big, beefy, brainless blockbuster. Pacific Rim is the latest instalment in a concerted campaign from Hollywood to maintain the timeliness of Shakespeare’s old line about sound and fury signifying nothing.
Set on a future earth where giant angry monsters known as “Kaijus” attack our cities, human beings decide the best way to combat them is to construct huge toys operated by pairs of good looking ethnically diverse pilots.
Washed-up former hotshot Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) is one of them. He teams with Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) — less a character, more a human commercial for Asian audiences — and in the face of certain (read: uncertain) destruction of the planet they biff and boff in metallic Godzillas one last time.
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Pilots must sync their minds, leading to a “it’s just a memory” Inception rip off, which follows a Matrix-esque martial arts training scene and precedes a Total Recall-like breather with Ron Perlman, whose campy crooked eyed performance is the movie’s greatest asset.
In the tradition of hammy Hollywood blockbusters featuring “gor blimey!” Australian characters, a mangled Aussie accent leads to unintentional moments of amusement. Is it that hard to hire the real deal, or give Liev Schreiber a call?
Pacific Rim is heavy in many ways: heavy handed, heavy jointed, lacquered with heavy use of 3D and bulked up by long stretches of heavy machines swinging around heavy globs of concentrated CGI.
The pilots “drift,” which is the term to describe how they link their mental facilities to the giant beasts they operate. Drift, indeed, is what I did: in the thick of the movie’s yee-haw climax I lost time and woke up, bleary-eyed and in a mild state of confusion, to observe that nothing had really changed. Same roar. Same robots. Same beasts. Same drudgery.
Pacific Rim’s Australian theatrical release date: July 13, 2013.