Tonight I saw Pacific Rim in the cinema, and I felt like writing about it here because I read reviews before I saw it and found few of them useful, even more so in retrospect.
Firstly, it’s over 2 hours long but really doesn’t feel like it. It felt more like a 90 minute flick in the watching, in a good way. There wasn’t a single concerted spell of tedium in the whole thing.
Secondly, this is a film that’s like a video game. There have been a lot of games masquerading as films lately (Heavy Rain, LA Noir, To The Moon, etc) but very little flow back the other way. It’s like a game in the way it’s structured – huge action set-pieces are followed by a switch of location for some plot development, similar to the way games use cutscenes to push the narrative on once you reach a trigger point.
On the whole, it’s very watchable. I normally hate it when people call something an “easy watch” because it generally means, “It was shit, but I liked it, so feel the need to qualify my praise for it.” I mean it genuinely, though. The cast isn’t terrible, the film is shot and designed well and there’s plenty of robots-smacking-enormous-chitinous-extra-dimensional-aliens to go around.
Now onto the bad. The “science-y bit” of the sci-fi leaves a lot to be desired – there are a lot of rushed explanations to simply get it out of the way – and there’s something a bit Deus Ex Machina about the way the story resolves itself. Leading man Charlie Hunnam Over! Delivers! Every! Single! Line!, which gets annoying after a while, but Idris Elba is very good. Every character is cliché and some of the dialogue gets clunky, but you can get away with far worse than this in an action film.
It’s better than: The Transformers and Iron Man franchises.
It’s worse than: The recent Batman trilogy and X-Men 1 and 2.
If I had to give it a score out of 100, I’d give it a 68. It’s not worth paying top dollar for on a Saturday but, in a quiet week for films, it’s worth checking out because the good probably outweighs the bad. Also Ron Perlman is in it.