I made it to a Pacific Rim preview last night - and it lives up to the hype. Of a kind.
The hype and build up to every smash-blockbuster is a rollercoaster - the tension and teasing, knowingly being manipulated and excited by marketing and posters. Already this year there have been those moments during and after massive releases that you watch the credits roll and wonder what it was you just watched - World War Z and Star Trek both left me admitting a little dissapointment. But not in the film, more in my own expectations. I was hoping for more.
I wanted them to be, inexplicably, more. And in that come-down after watching, first time round, inevitably there is a second watch, you question yourself. Was it me?
Then come the one-line reviews with friends: “it was good. It was entertaining. You’ll really love it.”
Pacific Rim is 132 minutes long. THAT’S A LONG MOVIE. And before you sit down to watch, you already know the premise. Don’t expect exposition or science on the monsters in the opening act, there is no need. Pacific Rim is a movie about monsters fighting robots - and you already know that before the lights go down.
Like Abrams’ Star Trek earlier this year, Rim is so fast that doesn’t allow you to question anything - it’s a fully loaded sensory experience that doesn’t relent to allow refelction. It is about monsters fighting giant robots.
Pacific Rim is a movie about monsters fighting giant robots.
Those fights are beautiful. They are wondrous and they are utterly believable: unlike Superman, released a few weeks ago, the giant robots are vulnerable. Being thrown through a building isn’t ignored, the collateral damage and wasted cities are watched and you believe it.
The choreography of each fight is incredible, snippets of small in-jokes and tiny macro shots of the real world add humour without slowing the pace dramatically. They get bigger and better as you watch and realise how invisible the space between you and the experience.
It is a huge experience - Del Toro creates and shoots a world that is believable - there is no break in it. No montage or camera effect that forces you to disengage from his story-telling, but rather offers a relentless raid that overlooks the occasional cheesy line, obvious trope or questionable point. Pacific Rim is carefully structured and there is so little of it that isn’t on-screen for a reason.
There is nothing about Del Toro’s Pacific Rim that is an accident. It is more than a marketing campaign, and more than an homage to Japanese Kaiju. But it delivers in both these roles in abundance.
It is a movie to be enjoyed. It’s good, entertaining. And you’ll really love it: Pacific Rim is a movie about monsters fighting giant robots.
And please stay through the credits, it’s worth it.