In a prologue sequence we get the history behind what we see in Pacific Rim, a film set in a future where huge monsters called Kaijus spawn from a portal deep in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. After the first monsters reach land and destroy San Francisco and then Manila, mankind pulls its resources to develop a team of super-robots to combat the destructive alien creatures. These machines are called Jaegers (from the German word for hunter) and require two human pilots to link brainwaves, sharing memories, to control the massive machinery – supposedly too much for one mind to handle alone.
Our hero here is retired Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), who left the battlefield after his brother died alongside him in a brutal battle with a Kaiju. However, with the war only escalating as mankind begins to retreat from the Pacific and build massive coastal walls to defend the most-at-risk cities, commander of the Jaeger program Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) comes up with a plan to destroy the portal with a nuclear weapon. Pentecost convinces Raleigh to rejoin the Jaeger program and to re-pilot the “Gypsy Danger”, his old Jaeger. Raleigh decides he needs to be partnered with a young woman named Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) as his co-pilot, and the two later develop a friendship through shared tragedies. The notion of having to link brain signals to control the Jaegers through two minds united as one is a unique addition that adds a dynamic of teamwork, but far more importantly it serves to truly let us in to the minds of the pilots, and exposes them at a level far deeper than their flesh.
Pacific Rim doesn’t skimp on the human element of the story either, with plenty of eccentric and entertaining characters. Charlie Day and Ron Perlman are perhaps the most memorable for their comedic value, and Idris Elba is great as always. Despite giving this film only 3 stars out of 5 due to a number of drawbacks in character and plot that I found, I would certainly recommend Pacific Rim to fans of the genre, as del Toro’s large-scale feature is quite perfect for those who are interested.