Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
2 Aug 2013
5:00 am

Marine mayhem in Del Torro’s new film

Leon van Nierop

Guillermo del Torro might not quite be in the same superstar league as directors Sam Raimi (Spiderman) and Christopher Nolan (Inception), but since his breakout hit Hellboy, as well as the groundbreaking Pan's Labyrinth and Blade 2, his name alone is enough to excite many science fiction junkies.

A scene from the new Guillermo del Torro move, Pacific Rim.

Del Torro seems to favour humans above machines and monsters in his films. One actually cares for the people in Pacific Rim, in between trying to catch your breath as you take in the special effects.

In his latest attack on moviegoers’ senses, Del Torro has produced some incredibly dangerous and vile monsters. Here, the creatures are as large as the Hillbrow Tower, but fatter. They have escaped from another planet and found a portal through the bottom of Earth’s ocean. As with so many other movie monsters, they cause mayhem and all but destroy the planet. Idris Elba has to seal off the portal or destroy the tube through which these ogres gain access to Earth. But before he can do that, he has to prevent the creatures already in the ocean from destroying more cities.

The destruction of San Francisco is quite spectacular and rivals anything Godzilla tried to do to New York. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi’s characters have to man two giant robots that will be used to battle the monsters and destroy them. Unfortunately there’s a catch. The two operators’ brains must be synched so that they are on the same wavelength when battling the monsters. What happens if one traumatised brain goes out of control?

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A scene from the new Guillermo del Torro move, Pacific Rim.

 

The battles are superbly staged. Witnessing robots battling monsters with several layers of rotting teeth and gigantic mouths larger than a block of flats might put you off eating prawns for a while. But this is where the film scores with the average moviegoer. The human characters don’t disappear between the effects, and Hunnam in particular injects his character with authority and a boyish charm. He proves that he can carry a film while making his hero human and even funny. Trust Del Torro to add some touches of ironic humour in these gigantic battles.

Hollywood is currently suffering from the failure of several multi-million dollar films, confirming Steven Spielberg’s warning that Hollywood is going to implode. Viewers can just accommodate and tolerate so many destructive battles with crumbling cities, vicious monsters and a story that you can tweet in 140 characters. And although Pacific Rim, with a budget of $180-million, disappointed at the box office, it made more money than many of the other flops.

So put on your 3D glasses and take in a good science fiction movie that stands out from all the other current blockbusters. At least this one surprises and entertains and isn’t weighed down by the monstrous ego of an A-list star.