Press-Republican

Out & About

July 18, 2013

'Pacific Rim' a decent summer blockbuster

Admit it. You saw the trailers for “Pacific Rim” and immediately thought “Transformers 7: Guillermo del Toro Sells Out.”

“Pacific Rim,” however, defies that gut reaction. It’s every bit as big and loud as one would expect a movie about giant robots and monsters to be, but it’s not stupid, and it doesn’t treat its viewers as if they are either.

Sorry for doubting you Mr. del Toro.

In the film, Earth is under siege from a race of giant creatures, who have vaulted through a giant crack in the ocean’s floor — and through some kind of portal from another world — to wreak havoc.

The creatures, called Kaiju, come in a wide variety (land, sea or air, with a nifty collection of attack methods) and prove to be nearly indestructible, until the great minds of the planet come together and devise the “Jaegers,” massive robots controlled by a pair of human pilots neuro-linked together.

For a while, the Jaegers turn the tide of the war, but the Kaiju soon adapt and grow more powerful, putting humanity on the verge of extinction.

Del Toro, the director of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” also co-wrote the screenplay and makes sure to give “Pacific Rim” a coherent story line, while spending at least a little time (thinly) developing the characters.

The acting performances aren’t particularly memorable, but they are serviceable. Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) blandly plays the hero, Raleigh Bartlet, a one-time star Jaeger pilot who is brought back to the program out of desperation. Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”) is his would-be replacement partner, Mako Mori.

Idris Elba (“Prometheus”) probably stands out more than anyone as the stoic leader of the Jaeger program, while the uneven comic relief is provided by Charlie Day (“Horrible Bosses”) and Burn Gorman (“Torchwood”) as brilliant but feuding scientists.

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