Brief Examination: Pacific Rim (2013)


In tandem with the recently announced news that Pacific Rim is going to get a sequel that is set for an April 2017 release date. I decided to revisit the picture and make a few quick observations. The first is how it ranks within director Guillermo del Toro’s oeuvre. I tend to separate his native language pictures and his Hollywood ones. Pacific Rim, judged against the latter mentioned marks his most ambitious film to date, but not necessarily his best. That honour goes to Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which feels like del Toro’s entire thesis on why he loves monsters, filtered through the title character. Pacific Rim is a homage to the films that the director had grown up with, known as “Kaiju” films. They had begun with Ishirō Honda`s Godzilla (1954) and continued with various movies that pitted the King of Monsters against many other creatures. But to just see the film as pure homage is selling it short. Del Toro’s world building is impeccable; the devil is truly in the details, whether it’s how the monsters in the world are thought of, observed or perceived.

Additionally, he is going for a very simple message that has some thematic resonance and informs the robots (known in the picture as Jaegers). Humanity as a whole must overcome its follies if it is to survive and learn to trust one another to succeed. The Jaegers in the film are piloted by two people who share a neuro connection with one another and in this regard plays to those above points. Their designs come from human hands who conceptualise, paint and making them feel very distinctive. It’s a usual problem in giant robot movies that Del Torro easily overcomes by also never letting the audience forget that humans are piloting them. Consequently, the action sequences have a heightened sense of intensity. There is a lot more to engage with within Pacific Rim, but for now, if you have not seen it, I recommend you do. It’s a great contemporary paradigm of spectacle cinema from a director whose passion and love for film is evident in every frame.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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