Film & TV

Pacific Rim – DVD review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Iron Man vs. Godzilla’ flick is a pulsating, action-packed, movie apocalypse.

The plot is fairly straightforward. Apparently, everyone’s been too focused on watching the skies for danger and have forgotten to take the occasional peek downwards; at the gates of Hell. Now legendary alien creatures, the ‘Kaiju’, have risen from crevices in the Pacific Ocean and are intent on destroying the cities of the Earth, or just pretty much anything that happens to cross their path.

To combat these monsters, the world has combined its technology to create enormous war robots, known as ‘Jaegers’, which are piloted simultaneously by two humans in mind-meld. Needless to say, even these are proving a poor match for the enormous King Kong-dwarfing beasts and it’s soon time for desperation mode, with the fate of human existence resting in the hands of pilots from China, Russia and Australia. Central characters Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam) and the epically-named former four-star general Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) must rally the last dregs of resistance, risking everything for survival…

Director Guillermo Del Toro has a track-record of producing films that cater for a younger audience, most notably the popular comic-book inspired movies ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Hellboy II’. With $180 million burning a hole in his pocket at the outset, he has produced another blockbuster to pacific rim 003blow the socks off the entire family; well all of those over the age of 12 at least. This film is an expensive, simple, action-over-story masterpiece, and it makes no apologies for being exactly that. People looking for complex character development or enriching narrative arcs should probably look elsewhere, but tell me who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a building-sized robot fighting an otherworldly monster whilst using a cargo-ship as a club; need anymore be said.

In terms of suitability for the children, I think the ‘12’ certificate is probably about right. As you would expect from a film in which the main antagonists can reduce a sky-scraper to rubble with a single mammoth punch, there is plenty of ‘violence’ and death, well there is a lot of death actually; someone even gets eaten quite spectacularly in one scene.  Aside from this however, the ‘romance’ portion is kept to a couple of lingering looks, a sparring session filled with obvious tension (and a topless Charlie Hunnam, which is a sight Mum may enjoy). Swearing is also pretty minimal.

If your youngsters are into the whole ‘Robot vs. Monster’ premise, then they will love every inch of this film, with slightly older children revelling in the earth-shaking action sequences. For parents, humour also finds its way into this flick, courtesy of Kaiju researcher Newt (Charlie Day) and eccentrically-dressed black-market dealer Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman); who’s named ‘after his favourite historical figure and his favourite Szechuan restaurant in Brooklyn’.

This film looks as though it was perfectly made for pre-teens and whilst the repetitive nature of the hand-to-hand combat scenes may prove too much for adults, this 2 hour 11 minute epic delivers enough drama to last a lifetime – let alone making it the perfect stand-out contender for ‘Family Movie night’. For some, the thought of another CGI-heavy spectacle may leave them hesitant – but Guillermo Del Toro has managed to find emotion from somewhere within the chaos. Whether that be a poignant moment featuring an Australian Pilot (Robert Kazinsky – yes, Sean from Eastenders for those who remember) or just watching characters – pushed to the brink – lay their lives on the line to save the ones they love. For those worried about a lack of depth, beneath the disintegrating setting, mechanical wizardry and rapid story-lines, this movie has a heart.