I never got around to seeing Pacific Rim in the cinemas. Nonetheless, it eventually made its way to Amazon Prime, and I finally saw it a few months ago. It was big, overblown and a bit silly, but surprisingly, I quite liked it.
The plot of Pacific Rim will ring a bell for anyone who has spent time watching the popular genre of anime about giant robots. In the year 2013, an interdimensional portal known as The Breach opens at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, allowing a steady stream of giant monsters known as Kaiju to come through and attack Earth. In response to this, humanity develops the Jaegers, giant robots so complex that it takes the combined mental powers of two people to pilot them.
Flash forward eight years and the Jaeger program is being wound down in favour of building a giant coastal wall. Since wall building doesn’t make for a very exciting film, this turns out to be an insufficient defensive method, forcing the powers-that-be to turn to Cynical Grizzled Pilot Raleigh Becket to join the last few remaining Jaeger pilots and save the world. Becket has a Tragic Past in which his trusty Jaeger was ripped in half by a Kaiju, killing his co-pilot – who also happened to be his brother.
Naturally, Becket ends up being paired with Rookie With Potential Mako Mori, who despite lacking a penis and having lost her family in a Kaiju attack, pulls it together sufficiently through the course of the film to become a respectable co-pilot. Together with various other character archetypes, our heroes fight off the Kaiju and even seal the breach – by dumping a massive nuclear weapon inside it. In real life, the solutions to world problems are delicate, complex and difficult to ever put into effect. In sci-fi films, the answer is usually to throw a huge bomb at the problem and hope it sorts itself out.
There are various other plot points thrown into the movie, such as the role of a pair of eccentric scientists in figuring out why the Kaiju are showing up in the first place, but there isn’t really time to flesh it all out sufficiently in the space of two hours. In fact, at one point I thought to myself that it would be better to tell this story over the course of a TV series. Then I realised that I had already seen that TV series, and its name was Neon Genesis Evangelion.
All that being said, I did enjoy Pacific Rim. It’s unashamedly big, brash and in your face, with huge robots battling massive monsters, impactful characters and a breakneck pace that ensures you’re never bored. It’s hardly high brow entertainment, but it certainly gives you a lot of bang for your buck.