(directed by Guillermo Del Toro, 2013)
** (out of 5)
> So- remind me: why exactly did Guillermo Del Toro make this film?
. Oh, right- to make money. How did that plan work out at the box office? Not so well. Shortly after its release, I read that it was the biggest financial dud of the summer blockbuster season. Here’s the thing: Guillermo Del Toro is potentially one of the world’s great directors. But he’ll never achieve those heights if he keeps making craven commercial flicks like this.
. This film can be compared to MAD MAX: FURY ROAD in that both are basically one extended action sequence. The difference is FURY ROAD worked- beautifully. Despite the pretty eye candy, (particularly at the dazzling conclusion), with all its bombastic mayhem, this was a lot of sound and fury representing nothing. But this overblown trash does appeal to 12 year old boys and men (like me) who refused to fully “grow up”. Like the insipid TRANSFORMERS franchise, this really is a film for that demographic. And 12 year old adolescents deserve movies too.
. In PACIFIC RIM, we get a whole shitload of noisy destruction- as giant, ugly monsters and manned robots crash through buildings and bridges, battling to the death. Endless carnage without nuance gets boring fast. I had to watch this movie in three installments, because unlike FURY ROAD this mayhem was not highly choreographed with exceptional make-up and costuming, and the action got so repetitive that I lost all desire to keep watching. This pretty dud is really only a 1-and-a-half star movie, but I’m giving it an extra half-star for snazzy production design (that occasionally looked too like a video game), and a visually stunning end sequence that dazzled enough to actually rise to the level of entertainment.
. Skip it- unless that 12 year old is still at the controls of your id. Instead, see Del Toro’s THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE or HELLBOY, or better yet, his masterful creepfest PAN’S LABYRINTH. I was about to chide this director and suggest he stop making trash when he has a deep private world of amazing imagery between his ears, until I read what his next project was: PACIFIC RIM 2! Never mind. (So why would investors back a sequel to a box office dud? Because the DVD found its way into the hands of those fixed adolescent minds that crave massive cataclysm, creating a demand.) Get ready world! For…
…more of the same.
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