Pacific Rim (12A) **Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi
Guillermo del Toro’s most distinctive visions (Cronos, Pan’s Labyrinth) have always emerged from darkness and silence – so why has he given into making the same loud noises as everybody else? The trailer pegged Pacific Rim as Godzilla-vs.-Transformers; what makes the film the summer’s biggest disappointment yet is that it’s equally indistinguishable from, say, Real Steel meets Battleship. Here, human-piloted robots clash with sea monsters: our bereaved pilot hero (Hunnam) re-enters battle alongside a female partner (Kikuchi), whose presence presumably makes the subsequent bangs and crashes more appealing to the Asian market.
There are fun footnotes – cities get clogged with monster dung – but any nuance or emotion gets squashed amid rusty plot thrusts and splurgey effects. The actors come cheap and uninteresting: we’re meant to be stirred by Elba’s rewording of Bill Pullman’s Independence Day peptalk, though it’s hard to cheer Hunnam’s squadron of sandy-haired Paul Walker wannabes. Marginally better-natured than every other spot of dollar-chasing out there, it’ll nevertheless stand as del Toro’s most anonymous, safest bet to date: if you’ve seen any of the films mentioned above, there’s barely a surprise to be sprung from it.
Pacific Rim is in cinemas nationwide.