Big-ass monsters! Ginormous robots! Tons of things getting crunched, blown up and otherwise decimated! Then why didn’t I love Pacific Rim? That’s the question that rattled around in my head as I left the theater. For all of it’s glorious spectacle — and there’s an awful lot of glorious spectacle here — Pacific Rim is like the giant “Jaeger” robots that the film focuses on; beautiful, awe-inspiring but hollow.
That’s not to say that there isn’t fun to be had here. This is the perfect movie to turn off your brain (seriously; giant mechanical robots fighting kaiju? It’s the perfect summer blockbuster) and dig into the Good ‘n Plentys. But if you’re searching for heart and soul in this robot, you’re outta luck. Pacific Rim plays it straight throughout it’s 2 hours plus, which lets a lot of the fun leak out of the film. What this movie needed was more tongue-in-cheek. Yes, there are a few bits of humor here and there, but when it happens it feels more like a transplant from a different film than an integral part of the story.
And the story has definite promise. It’s the year 2020, seven years after gigantic creatures started to rise from the depths of the Pacific (probably the super-deep Marina Trench, though I’m not sure if it’s ever pinpointed). “The Breach”, as it’s called, is a rift between worlds that allow these kaiju (Japanese for “strange beast”, for those not in the know) into our world. And these ginormous Godzilla nightmares have one thing on their mind; the destruction of the human race. Naturally.