Pacific Rim

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Written by Nick McCann


Geek culture saw a massive surge in popularity when the 2010s took hold. Fans from all nerdy camps were gradually erupting from the shadows into a new level of pop culture acceptance. In terms of that grand spectrum, kaiju cinema, and giant monster fans still seemed like the odd ones out. Leave it to Hollywood monster man Guillermo del Toro to show what potential there is in that corner.

“Pacific Rim” positively drips with its mecha anime and Japanese tokusatsu influences. The world-building is smooth and enthralling, setting a grand picture down to the tiniest detail of the kaiju war. Yet it still remains grounded in an emotional tale of loss and unity. There is a beating heart under the hood driving everything, despite this being del Toro’s highest scale of spectacle. It looks back but more often goes forward with pure and fresh direction.

You are constantly reminded of the size of these things and the devastation they create. Each of the visual effects is excellent shot-to-shot. Every Jaegar mech and Kaiju creature has its own personality, be it various abilities or their very character design. Practical effects are also given just as much attention, with the Jaegar cockpits boasting incredible set construction and appearance.
The sound design goes a long way as well. You feel the crunch of every hit, all the shrapnel and debris falling off the buildings, and everything in between. Most of all, Ramin Djawdi’s score is rich with its own sense of character. Along with the slick visuals, the music gives the film a majesty that you don’t find much anywhere else. In particular, Tom Morello’s guitar work is the cherry on top of this anime-decorated cake.

Its characters feel just as important and distinct in such a large setting. The ensemble each carry their own stories without one outplaying the other. If Charlie Hunnam’s search for redemption amid tragedy doesn’t interest you (certainly does so for me), it’s very easy to look to others and find satisfaction. Rinko Kikuchi brings an endearing grace in her pursuit to prove herself. Idris Elba commands every frame he’s in with stern authority. Even Charlie Day’s eccentric scientist and Ron Perlman’s black market dealer bring their own charm.

“Pacific Rim” succeeds greatly at being a multi-million-dollar realization of what I and others love about classic kaiju cinema. And after a decade of modern blockbuster cinema, this easily remains some of the most purely entertaining. The film pays its homages all while swiftly crafting its own massive picture. It’s truly a labor of love that you feel in every aspect. Never ever to be forgotten.

“Pacific Rim” Trailer

You can connect with Nick on his Facebook and Letterboxd.

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