16:00 - 28th December 2013, by Calum Waddell

Pacific Rim

Hollywood heavyweight Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) thought he had a humongous hit with this homage to Japanese kaiju movies such as Godzilla and Gamera - although western audiences largely stayed away (in the end, it was the Chinese box office that made this a blockbuster success). On home video, reappraisal shows a creature feature that is occasionally exciting and thoroughly enjoyable if still enormously flawed. The charming concept of calling the monsters who suddenly erupt from the earth's core 'kaiju' is a nice touch - although the digitally created beasts themselves lack the appeal of the old men-in-costumes and model work of yore (how depressing that Jaws - which is also name-checked here - created ten times more suspense with a plastic shark). Still, this is 2013, and bigger is (supposedly) better, and Pacific Rim delivers plenty of extended sequences in which giant robots, controlled by a two-man fighter squad, smash big CGI nasties. The cast, headlined by Charlie Hunnman, Rinko Kikuchi (who adds the Asian glamour, but is amazingly, and offensively, refused an interracial kiss with her white leading man and love interest) and Britain's own Idris Elba play everything straight, and the end result is unintentionally amusing.

Ultimately, there is so much male bonding that the onscreen homoeroticism is almost off the scale, and various lines of dialogue sink instead of sore. Really, this needed more camp value to hit the spot - but, as an overpriced American approach to those crazy Japanese monster movies we all know and love, this is a far better offering than 1998's Godzilla disaster.

Too straight faced, despite its own silliness, to spark the sort of love that the original Godzilla or Gamera still enjoy to this day, Pacific Rim is still a painless and brainless way to enjoy an afternoon in front of the telly...
SCORE: 3.5/5
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