Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” now out in theaters, is awesome in a whole lot of different ways. Robots fight monsters. The earth’s very existence is threatened. Stuff blows up big, and in a big way.
Charlie Hunnam is the hero. Charlie Day is the comic relief. Rinko Kikuchi is, finally, in a movie again. Ron Perlman gives one of the funniest small supporting performances in memory. And Idris Elba gives a big speech – “WE ARE CANCELING THE APOCALYPSE!”- that should be played on NFL scoreboards at crucial moments for the rest of time, with the Dallas Cowboys standing in for “the monsters at our door.”
Del Toro directs the film with wit and flair; as a director who clearly cares building a distinct universe and filling it with beautiful shots. And much as the film owes to the traditions of sci-fi and Japanese monster movies, not to mention “Star Trek,” it’s nice to see a summer megablockbuster with an original story for once, rather than a 2nd or 3rd generation remake or reboot or sequel.
But there’s one thing I didn’t love about “Pacific Rim”: I saw it in IMAX- real, science museum, “dome” IMAX- and I even sat at the top, where they say you’re supposed to sit.
That was a mistake.
“Pacific Rim” is a movie in which most of the running time is taking up by one giant thing fighting a different giant thing- so you’d think seeing it on a giant screen would make sense. It doesn’t.
In fact, that screen is just plain too big for the human eye, especially on something like this. Not only is it just about impossible to see the entire robot or the entire monster, but the way the action scenes are shot, it’s basically one long blur of sparks and exploding, shiny things.
Del Toro isn’t one of those hacks who over-relies on shaky cam and thinks he’s being edgy by making his images as incoherent as possible. But in the “Pacific Rim” action scenes, and especially the climactic one, I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell was going on.
So if you go and see “Pacific Rim” this weekend, save some money and skip the IMAX. You can probably go ahead and skip the 3D, too.