Pacific Rim comes from Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade II. So it shouldn’t come to no surprise that Del Toro is the man who poured his teenage boy fantasy of giant robots smashing giant monsters on the big screen. There was probably no one else more equipped to do it.
Essentially it could of become another Transformers film; overloaded with special effects, so confusing that the audience can’t tell the difference of who is fighting for good and bad. But Del Toro successfully manages to incorporate a human element to the film, so it isn’t overshadowed by the special effects, but rather works alongside it.
The film is set in the future after Godzilla-like creatures known as ‘Kaiju’ ravage the world to bits. Naturally the world must retaliate, so the Pan Pacific Defense Corps, made up of the world’s most powerful nations (the U.S, the U.K, China, Russia and somehow Australia), come together to create giant robots, called ‘Jaegers’.
These ‘Jaegers’ of course needs two pilots to connect themselves within the robot and control their actions. It’s harder than it looks. One person can control anything by himself or herself, once they know what they are doing. Working with someone else is another story.
This is where the human element comes into play. With a host of ‘Jaegers’ to navigate, Del Toro gives us characters to connect with. The teams of two have to work alongside each other in order to save the world, regardless of their differences. It’s the standard cop-buddy routine, but it works to a treat in this case.
We’re given rebellious Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who has to team up with protégé, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and uncovers some nasty secrets. While Herc and Chuck Hansen are an Australian father-son team ready to make a difference to save the world. Each pair bounces off each other perfectly for a film such as this.
Applause though should go to Idris Elba (Luther, Prometheus) who plays the strict and optimistic-crushing commander Stacker Pentecost. As Pentecost, Elba shows a man haunted from the past, unwilling to let his fragile facade break his tough-as-nails soldier exterior.
As previously mentioned, the film could have ended up like another Transformers film; a wish-wash of CGI effects with no human life to it. But Del Toro’s steady hand and his direction with his actors makes you, on some teenage-boy-fantasy, end up caring and connecting with the characters. Which makes Pacific Rim a superb success.