In Pacific Rim the world has to deal with giant monsters crawling out of the sea. These ugly creatures, referred to as Kaiju, enter the bottom of the Earth’s oceans using portals connected to some other dimension. Conventional human weapons proved ineffective against them. Hence, mankind developed a new answer: giant fighting robots. And thus, we have the ingredients for a summer blockbuster.
The robots, called Jaegers, are subject to interesting, though somewhat arbitrary, constraints. For one, they have to be operated directly via a neural interface. However, since this puts too much strain on a single human mind, two people have to operate the robot together. To do this they need to neurally synchronize, exposing their memories and lives to each other in the process.
The main character, Raleigh, operates a Jaeger robot together with his brother Yancy. Unfortunately, Yancy is killed in a battle against one of the Kaiju, leaving Raleigh in severe mental shock as a result of the abruptly severed neural connection. Distraught, Raleigh turns away from the Jaeger operating life. A long time passes until he is visited by Stacker Pentecost, the Jaeger program’s leader. He asks him to to come back and fight again against the Kaiju.
Pacific Rim mostly shows giant robots fighting with giant monsters. While the combat scenes are well done in terms of visual effects, they also become somewhat tiring as the movie progresses. More interesting are the effects of the neural synchronization and the traumatic memories shared between the operators. A pair of scientist also provides a rather welcome humoristic distraction.
Unfortunately, the movie is not helped by cheesy dialogue: “Today, we are canceling the apocalypse”. Although there are connections between characters that work well, for example between Raleigh and the Japanese Mako, there are also plenty that miss the mark.
Although Pacific Rim is certainly visually pleasing, writer/director Guillermo del Toro can do much better than this in terms of storytelling. Recommended only for those who like looking at very large fighting things (though even then, Real Steel is more fun).