8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

Giant robots have always been cool, at least, in my opinion. I grew up watching Transformers and various incarnations of the Gundam series, and a few hours of explosions and cartoon violence after school definitely is a good memory. This is probably why I enjoyed Pacific Rim, from cinematic legend Guillermo Del Toro, so very much. However, the film itself suffers from a few minor setbacks. Not enough to warrant huge criticism, but enough to elicit some… disappointment.

The Good: It’s got giant death robots, ya dingus.

I’m not sure if there are any people who saw the posters or trailers initially and thought “I’d really like to see this for the plot”. People tend to go for these movies because they have a guarenteed quality to them… that quality being giant mechs with weapons. In this department, the staff of Pacific Rim did very well.

The robots were highly detailed and well animated, and the concepts behind them were very interesting. While the idea that the Jaegers can’t be driven by one person (due to being too much of a strain on the mind/body) is a bit odd, it does make sense in a way. These suits are so massive and slow that they couldn’t possibly be operated solo for too long, not to mention the strain this would have on muscles and the lack of light nervous sensation. But I’m just a critic, so I’m sure there could be a lot more science behind it that I simply don’t understand.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The variation between both Jaegers and Kaiju is also worthy of high praise, as they all seem to have different attributes. The Chinese model is built as if it can do kung-fu, the Russian model looks like a hulking scrapheap, and the titular Gipsy Danger could be Fallout’s Liberty Prime if you slapped some stars and stripes on it.

The Interesting: Lions, Kaiju(s?), and Bears, Oh my!

Pacific Rim does one thing in particular that is both wonderful and infuriating: it turns the murderous monsters into the bogeymen of this version of Earth. Kaiju are introduced as being ferocious monsters that eventually became the subject of toys, books, and various other media. How often are the antagonists viewed in such a superior context?

One example that might come to mind is the zombies of the video game Dead Rising 2. Like the kaiju, they became far less of a terror and much more of an attraction. This can certainly make for a few interesting twists and turns, especially when things start to go wrong. It should go without saying, but you should never underestimate something with teeth and claws! Del Toro even shows a darker side to the controversy of the nature of the kaiju by showing people scavenging and collecting from the corpses of fallen monsters, much like the rhino horn and other poached animal ‘remedies’ in real life. However, this social caricature of an entire species does have it’s flaws.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

As I said earlier, these things – which are certainly alien in nature – are underestimated almost from day one. Spoilers ahead, this becomes more apparent very early into the film. Apparently the world powers think that instead of funding the robot program that is clearly working, they should put up a wall (a wall that is quickly torn down later). What was the ultimate goal of this? To keep them out? Every kaiju is different, and the appearances of them is being pretty consistent at the time of the movie. How long would it take for dozens, or hundreds to be lining the wall? There is absolutely no concept of foresight among the heads of state, and it really makes the plot seem silly.

The Bad: Is that all?

All that being said, I still enjoyed the movie for what it is. I could have enjoyed it a lot more, and the announcement of a sequel means that they got the hint. On the other hand, this first movie could have easily been stretched across two or even three films. The fights were rather short, and a sizable chunk of the film was dedicated to training and faux-drama between the three-four major characters.

The minor characters barely got enough screentime to really warrant significance at all. The Chinese triplets, who pilot the aptly named Crimson Typhoon, have only 6 minutes of screen time total. The Russian Cherno pilots have similar treatment, despite featuring a familiar face. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, who play the quirky scientists, get a little more time but not enough to really cement the characters. Clearly, not enough attention was paid to the minor characters. The entire flick could have been stretched over two, maybe three films very easily, and we have to hope that Pacific Rim 2 will have more meaty bits.


I’m not going to be overly critical of this film, because it accomplishes what it set out to do: be a robot vs alien death match special. Some parts were convoluted, and some parts were a bit grim, but it was like a super hero movie with no superpowers. I’d probably watch it a few more times, and I’d recommend any fan of sci-fi or action flicks in general to check out Pacific Rim.

So, did Pacific Rim meet your expectations? Discuss below! And if you liked this review, please share it among your peers!

Pacific Rim 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)


Cast:    a.o.

Screenplay: Travis Beacham (story),  (screenplay and story)

Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro

Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Adventure

131 minutes

IMDb | Trailer