Pacific Rim is a monster mash-up made for the big screen

The big screen was invented for Pacific Rim, monster-mashing fun of the highest degree. But should you see it in 3D?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
3 min read

Pacific Rim: giant city-stomping monsters have arisen from the depths of the Pacific to threaten humanity, and our only hope are skyscraper-sized robots that wade out to sea and engage in epic fisticuffs with the belligerent beasties. Now that's a movie.

The big screen was invented for the clawed, fanged and very bitey Kaiju beasts to take on monster-mashing Jaeger robots, meeting in rock'em sock'em scraps amid the roiling waves of the Pacific ocean. Still, there is a bit more to Pacific Rim than Power Rangers with a budget.

I mean, just because it's directed by Guillermo Del Toro, don't expect any subtle visual metaphors or anything, but there are, like, feels and stuff.

The twist is that the mecha warriors are each piloted by two people who must form a close emotional bond. That gives a personal weight to the very, very loud metal-on-monster dust-ups, with Britain's own shirt-averse Son of Anarchy Charlie Hunnam and his amazing wandering accent leading the cast as a washed-up Jaeger pilot recruited for a last-ditch mission against the Kaiju.

Sure, the accents are all over the place and the only women with speaking parts are an anime schoolgirl come to life and the computer out of Portal, but at least Pacific Rim is a summer blockbuster that revels in its sense of fun. It's all played absolutely straight-faced, but with a lightness of touch, an attention to detail and above all a sense of fun that Michael Bay can only dream of.

Comic relief comes from the guy out of Torchwood who popped up in the Dark Knight Rises, and Charlie Day, who fans of shouting will recognise from raucous US sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Day's Kaiju-obsessed scientist carries a subplot that takes things in an unexpected direction in between the dust-ups, and leads to a priceless cameo from Ron Perlman.

Should I see Pacific Rim in 3D?

This is possibly the most loving 3D conversion I've seen -- Pacific Rim was 3D-ified after it was shot in 2D, as opposed to being properly conceived and filmed in three dimensions -- but after a promising start the 3D just sort of fades into the background.

More importantly, I strongly advise you to see it on the biggest screen you can. This is not a film to watch on a laptop, or, heaven forbid, a phone. See it in the cinema. See it on an IMAX if there's one near you. In fact, to do it justice, you're going to have to see it projected onto the moon.

Pacific Rim is basically a Saturday morning kids' cartoon, but there's nothing guilty about the pleasures on offer. The central message is about working together to defeat your demons, whether they're sad memories or hundred foot high monsters levelling Hong Kong. And the music is by the Game of Thrones guy. And it's got the Sons of Anarchy being badass. Heck, it's got Idris Elba playing a character called Stacker Pentecost and doing an Independence Day speech. This isn't dumb fun. This is the dumbest, biggest, loudest, funnest fun.

Are you looking forward to Pacific Rim? Can you say Pacific Rim without sniggering? Let us know in the comments, or wade into the conversation like a 100-metre-tall robot, opinions swinging like giant robot fists on our Facebook page.