In essence, Pacific Rim features a series of Godzilla monsters battle an ever dwindling number of Transformers, layered over the plot from Independence Day, only dumber.
There's no point reviewing Pacific Rim as one film. It's really two.
Monster film with a terrible tale
Pacific Rim never had to be clever, but nonetheless, it appears that one of the monsters ate its script writer.
One film, the vast majority of the entity, is made up entirely of a series of monsters versus robots battles. They are spectacular and impressive and a 3D, surround sound, digital extravaganza. It's all the action a 13-year-old boy could want or that your inner 13-year-old could ask for. Swords, missiles, tails with opposable thumbs ... plasma cannons, rock-em sock-em robot right hooks and dinosaurs that burp EMPs.
That part of the film gets full marks, five IQ points out of five. And that's where it stops.
For then we get the other 20 minutes - otherwise known as the story - sliced into approximately 10, two minute, plot-bytes.
Now no one is asking for Shakespeare or Sorkin or even Summer Bay soap opera, but for the love of all that is scaly and trans-dimensional, it has to be better than this.
The story begins brilliantly, with a two minute exposition of seven years of action with quick cuts and no pauses for science. There's a trans-dimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific letting massive city-eating monsters through and if you don't like it, it seems to say, get out now. Great. Two claws up.
Then a five minute combined action and drama prologue sets exactly the right tone: Short sharp dialogue to establish relationships, action skipping from the panoramic to the personal, a human face to the moment a war turns from victory to defeat.
And THEN we jump another five years and apparently some time in that half decade a monster ate the script writer.
Seemingly in a commendable (if unsuccessful) effort to bring the film in under two hours, the story is reduced to what amount to cut-scenes. They are so short that characters aren't just stereotypes, they're idiots, constantly making decisions, then instantly reversing them, purely because the script tells them to.
Be it the world's worst Australian accent, the daftest pair of scientist stereotypes ever to don lab coats or a set of Chinese and Russian characters barely given the power of speech, the "characters" in Pacific Rim have less personality than the monsters, with the exception of Ron Perlman whose near-cameo turn as Hannibal Chau is brilliant, and only diminishes the others by contrast.
Pacific Rim never had to be clever, but by trying to skip over the plot it highlights how necessary one is.
The 'characters' in Pacific Rim have less personality than the monsters.
See it for your inner teenage boy, or with one, but it might be an idea to also take your iPod and listen to you favourite all-action-playlist instead of the dialogue. You'll understand what's going on just as well as anyone and it might drown out the monstrous Australian accents.