OK. Let’s see if I can remember how this works.
Pacific Rim had me at “Guillermo Del Toro giant monster movie”, because that’s a dude who knows how to make big-screen beasties work. Like Prometheus I went in pretty sure the film would be wonderful to look at no matter what its other flaws might be.
I think the comparison to Prometheus is kind of telling, and not just because it’s another sci-fi monster film by a one of the best world-builders in the business that features the always-watchable Idris Elba in a position of authority. Prometheus was a film that I appreciated on an aesthetic level but couldn’t connect with because it was filled with so many stupid characters doing so many stupid things in service of such a stupid plot. During Pacific Rim my reaction was more “Hmmm, I sort of think this would work better if they’d either turn the melodrama down a notch or up a notch HOLY HUG THIS IS AMAZING WHAT IS THAT I CAN’T EVEN!!!”
The last time a movie action sequence hit me like this was when Qui-Gon O’Jin The Oirish Jedi and Poor Old Ewan McGregor first drew their lightsabres in The Phantom Mess. And that was a moment that had the weight of fifteen years of nerd anticipation behind it. By contrast, I’m not a kaiju movie guy. I’ve got no particular nostalgia or affection for the bloke-in-a-rubber-Godzilla-suit genre of films that inspired Pacific Rim. More than that, I’m someone who, for example, loves the Iron Man movies when Tony’s quippity-quip-quipping at people but quickly tunes out as soon as they turn into guys in CGI robot suits clobbering each other. And yet every time Pacific Rim deployed a robot suit to smack the heck out of a three hundred foot tall monster my mouth was literally hanging open.
I wish there had been a chance to get to know certain characters better so that their fate had more emotional punch. I wish the dialogue had been a bit snappier. I wish there’d been more than one and a quarter female characters. I wish I’d loved it rather than just really liking it. But in general I wasn’t bored when the mechs weren’t on screen and was COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY when they were which is, you know. Not too shabby for an Orange Wednesday.
Hello again everyone, did you miss me?