Movie Review: Pacific Rim (Del Toro, 2013)

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Movie: Pacific Rim
Production Companies: Legendary Pictures, Double Dare You Productions

Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Producers: Guillermo Del Toro, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent

Scriptwriters: Travis Beacham, Guillermo Del Toro
Main Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day
Release Date: July 12th 2013 (US)
Running Time: 132 minutes
Certificate: 12A


Man, this film is bittersweet for any Guillermo Del Toro fans, like yours truly. Because whilst it remains one of, if not his highest, grossing films, the fact that Pacific Rim was done instead of him making the Hobbit films really hurts. However, this film is yet more proof of Del Toro’s ability to cross genres effortlessly with him paying homage to anime, sci-fi and kaiju throughout the film. Oh, and all with his good luck charm Ron Perlman firmly in the film. Now with all of that out of the way, let’s get into our review of the film.


Pacific Rim sees the Earth in 2013, but mostly 2020 (coincidence? Yes most definitely) , under attack from Kaiju’s (giant monsters emerging from a portal in the ocean). So naturally, all of the Earth’s governments band together and build legions of giant robot mechs, which need two pilots, to fight back against the monsters. One of these pilots is Raleigh Becket (Hunnam), who is dealing with severe trauma from a previous mission, as he joins with Mako (Kikuchi) in the mech which saw his brother’s last mission. Can Raleigh fight through his trauma in order to help save the Earth from the Kaiju?


The Action Scenes in Pacific Rim

Firstly, the action scenes in Pacific Rim are phenomenal. And yes we’re saying this because they are the equivalent of when you were younger and you’d smash all your action figures together. Take the scene where a mech uses a cargo ship as a baseball bat to hit a home run on a Kaiju’s head. Or where one uses shipping crates as brass knuckles like a supersized version of Real Steel. Shout out to any of our readers who remember that film. Anyway, the sheer chaoticness of the action scenes in Pacific Rim are just stunning to look at especially when they’re in bright neon light.

It also allows the audience to see the sheer scale of the danger facing the Earth, especially when it’s put together with the whole reason for having two pilots in the mechs (due to the sheer trauma it causes Raleigh). Honestly, considering it cost $140 million (relatively cheap when considering some of the budgets Hollywood have launched at films recently) the action scenes look stunning so props to Del Toro for proving that you can make Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim within a decade of each other, and the latter still be better than anyone thought it could be.

The Humans in Pacific Rim

Now, another huge part of Pacific Rim is the trauma of the humans, particularly Raleigh and Mako. However, as good as Hunnam and Kikuchi’s performances are, you could probably have cut the whole will they/won’t they and both characters could have still had the same emotional arc throughout the film. This is further reinforced by the way that both characters have separate great arcs throughout Pacific Rim. Look at how Raleigh spends the film struggling to deal with the trauma he developed after having to solo pilot Gypsy Danger whilst watching his brother die in front of him. Or how Mako has to fight against the establishment within the military in order to pilot alongside Raleigh.

Both of these arcs intersect with both characters supporting each other through their traumas, so whilst we do get why the will they/won’t they was included it just feels slightly tacked on to add an unnecessary extra emotional core. However, the little bits of emotion we do get help stitch the many, many cool action scenes together. So take note Monsterverse, THIS is how you include a human subplot which stitches the action scenes together.


To summarise Pacific Rim, this is a great, stupidly fun action film which showcases Del Toro’s obvious love for Kaiju and anime. It has fantastic action scenes which prove Del Toro can direct just about anything and do a fantastic job. However, despite his best efforts the will they/won’t they relationship arc between Raleigh and Mako hurts a lot more than it helps. But don’t let that minor tidbit distract from the utter silliness and carnage of Pacific Rim because you sure aren’t getting this from Uprising.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay

Target Audience: 12+
Content Warning: Moderate Violence and Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes
Recommendation: Yes