Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) has made a regrettable switch from the art-house to the out-house. Pacific Rim is a special-effects behemoth, a toy franchise with a deafeningly loud movie attached – Transformers with an A-level.
The world is under threat from gigantic Godzilla-type monsters that rise from the sea to pulverise cities. Earthlings have fought back with gigantic robots known as “Jaegers”, operated by a pair of pilots who form a “neural bridge” with one another. (Best not to ask.)
Between them the combatants lay waste to so much urban landscape that you wonder what will be left to preserve. The cast is a three-way tussle between po-faced general Idris Elba, bland flying ace Charlie Hunnam and haunted rookie Rinko Kikuchi. A mood of macho solemnity predominates, the telltale sign of a movie deaf to its silliness.
When Idris gets to deliver his big speech, his call-to-arms goes, “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse.” One feels that Shakespeare on Agincourt will not be yielding the laurel.