When the Earth is attacked by monsters from an inter-dimensional fissure under the sea, humans create colossal ‘Jaegers’ as a way to combat them. These enormous sophisticated war machines are controlled by two pilots whose minds are psychically linked to cope with the mental pressure of controlling them. As the monsters, codenamed ‘Kaiju’, begin to increase the number and ferocity of their attacks, the human resistance concocts a last ditch plan to defeat the Kaiju. But with only a few Jaegers left and the ability of those left to pilot them proving doubtful, the final battle is going to be a desperate fight for survival.
Pacific Rim (2013) – Director: Guillermo del Toro
Running Length: 131 mins
Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi
Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Guillermo del Toro’s latest big budget movie is a feast for the eyes with its impressive visuals and heavy use of special effects. Taking inspiration from monster movies the world over, but perhaps most heavily from the classic Japanese ‘Godzilla’ movies, del Toro has clearly made this movie with plenty of love and passion. ‘Pacific Rim’ is a fun movie; to say it is simply a ‘monster movie’ would be somewhat unfair, however, anyone who likes the idea of huge aliens fighting huge robots isn’t going to be disappointed!
The main criticism to give ‘Pacific Rim’ is its lack of depth. The characters barely develop. Mako, the superbly skilled but mysterious potential co-pilot for main character Raleigh, finds her character arc peaking around half way through the film and from that point seems left to simply fill camera space. Raleigh himself is a skilled pilot but, aside from a barely covered tragic element to his motivations, also becomes little more than a vehicle for allowing the huge robot punching to commence. Whilst we weren’t expecting a detailed study of the human psyche in a movie designed to fill the screen with spectacularly scaled punch ups, we were a little disappointed with the lack of other elements here. ‘Pacific Rim’ starts well and builds up it’s characters nicely, but then drops them like a steel weight as soon as the action starts to rev up. The exception to this is the superb Idris Elba who, even with minimal depth of character to work with, still manages to fill the screen with a much needed gravitas.
While a large amount of CGI could be expected, the sheer amount on display starts to become a little dull in the longer scenes and some editing would have been welcome to keep the pacing fresh. Although ‘Pacific Rim’ has its flaws, for a large-scale action movie these flaws certainly are not enough to spoil the fun and ‘fun’ is what this movie delivers in spades. When one machine has special rockets in the elbow to allow it to punch just that much harder, you know that fans of kinetic, cool looking extravaganzas are going to have a whale of a time with this.
IS ‘PACIFIC RIM’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
There is very little blood or gore resulting from the action scenes apart from the Kaiju, whose blood is a fluorescent blue colour and therefore not designed to be distressing for kids. One character is seen with cuts and bruises over his face and upper body after a particularly bad fight but this is not overly gory. The fights between the Kaiju and Jaegers may be a little scary for younger kids as they are quite intense. The Kaiju are vicious and use their horns and claws to rip through the Jaegers. When this happens, the pilots often scream in pain and struggle to regain control of the machines. When the Jaegers get the upper hand, they use the ‘fists’ of the machines or blunt objects to pummel the Kaiju as well as sharp weapons to stab and slash at them.
When the concept of the Jaegers is being introduced to the story, it explained why two pilots are required; a single pilot is unable to withstand the intense mental and physical pressure of the machines. A short black and white film is shown of a man whose eye is badly bloodshot and blood runs profusely from his nose. There are also several times throughout the movie where characters have nosebleeds either as a result of a particularly intense fight or due to previous exposure to the Jaegers causing permanent injury.
There are several deaths in ‘Pacific Rim’ which may be quite emotionally distressing for children. One scene in particular could be upsetting when two characters are saying goodbye to each other, knowing that one is going to his death. Another death in the first act of the movie is a surprise when it happens. While not being too distressing, a short while later the survivor of this attack explains that he was still mentally connected when his co-pilot died. There is also a scene towards the middle of the movie where a little girl, around the age of 6 is on her own and running from a Kaiju. She screams in terror and is completely vulnerable; children of this age who are likely to relate to her may be afraid for her during this scene which lasts for several minutes.
The biggest potential concern for parents taking their children to see ‘Pacific Rim’ is that of the cursing and bad language. Whilst this is not particularly strong, it is fairly frequent and unavoidable. The swearing is moderate in nature and is usually used as exclamations of irritation or frustration, although it is sometimes used in an insulting manner.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘Pacific Rim’ is a very good big budget science fiction action film which is a little shallow but generally delivers what has been promised in the trailers. Kids are bound to love it and while the content may not be too strong, there is some bad language which may be off-putting for parents. We feel that this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 8 and over.
Please be aware that the cinema experience is much more intense than the home media environment. The visuals are much bigger and stronger and the sounds are incredibly loud, it is also much more difficult for an adult to provide reassurance when a child is struggling with particular moments. We therefore recommend caution for children who are sensitive to big action scenes and loud noises.
- Violence: 3/5 (the character of Hannibal Chau is a ruthless criminal who harvests body parts from dead Kaiju to sell on the black market. While he isn’t too frightening, when he is first introduced, he puts the blade of a knife into a man’s nostril in order to threaten him. When he removes the blade, it is clear that he deliberately cuts the man who groans in pain and holds his nose. This is done with a slight comedy angle but it could be a little scary for kids)
- Emotional Distress: 3/5
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (one character is eaten by one of the Kaiju. This is done deliberately to make the audience jump)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (there is a mild reference towards the beginning of the movie where a character boasts about sleeping with a girl who already has a boyfriend; however, sex is implied rather than being explicitly mentioned. One of the female characters is clearly attracted to one of the male characters and watches him in his room while he is topless for a few seconds, this is quite innocent in nature and does not become sexual)
- Bad Language: 3/5 (frequent mild cursing and blasphemy, several but infrequent moderate words also used)
- Dialogue: 2/5
- Other notes: Deals with themes of the close emotional bonds between family members, fighting against an invading force, courage, sacrificing oneself for the good of others, protecting the weak and realising your potential.
- Watch out for a short scene after the initial ending credits.
Words by Laura Record