American film (2013). Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Written by Travis Beacham and del Toro, based on a story by Beacham. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky, Ron Perlman. 131 minutes. Colour.
As a prelude to their colonization of Earth, Aliens from another Dimension have opened a "breach" (> Wormhole) at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, through which they are sending a series of enormous reptilian Monsters (kaiju) to ravage coastal cities and ultimately annihilate the human race. Initially, the world's nations fend them off by constructing and deploying enormous Robots (jaegers) mentally controlled by two human pilots (> Mecha), but these are becoming ineffectual opponents because of the kaiju's improving abilities and strategies. Undaunted, commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) gathers the world's four remaining jaegers in Hong Kong and prepares to employ them to drop an atomic bomb (> Nuclear Energy) into the breach to destroy it; however, by means of a mental link with the kaiju, Scientists Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) learn that the plan will fail unless the falling bomb is accompanied by a kaiju. Ultimately, the bomb is successfully delivered in this fashion by the jaeger controlled by the team of Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), saving Earth from certain doom.
Despite a most unpromising premise – derived from innumerable Monster Movies and Anime adventures featuring human-piloted "super robots" – Pacific Rim is a surprisingly enjoyable film, driven by writer-director Guillermo Del Toro's unwavering conviction and an unusually intelligent approach to its conventional material. By presenting his jaegers as antiques, called out of retirement for one final mission, del Toro also suggests interestingly that these sorts of films are becoming obsolete, though they remain something to cherish. However, the film may be of greatest interest to sf fans because of its provocative resonances with H P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, reflecting del Toro's longstanding desire to direct an adaptation of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness; the film's aliens vaguely resemble Lovecraft's Old Ones, their residence is at the bottom of the Pacific, like Cthulhu, and they similarly harbour an ancient intent to dominate the Earth. [GW]
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