Guillermo del Toro is back, but if you're expecting anything like the thoughtful Pan's Labyrinth, you'll be disappointed. Instead, we've got Pacific Rim, a sci-fi blockbuster in which giant robots fight giant monsters in increasingly over-the-top battles, starring Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, and Rinko Kikuchi. But, for the most part, critics aren't complaining (it's got a 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Here's what people are saying:
- It "contains some of the wildest, giddiest sights of any movie this summer," gushes Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald. "It's the cinematic equivalent of a kid playing with his toys and smashing action figures together, except del Toro does it with more grace and imagination than most." And while it's probably too long, "every time you're about to check out, something cool happens that pulls you back in."
- "I was having so much fun I lost track of where the line between good-stupid and bad-stupid might lie," admits Andrew O'Hehir at Salon. Basically, it's "del Toro's version of Kill Bill, meaning that it's a personal declaration of love and loyalty to a disreputable popular genre, and an attempt to make that kind of movie as good as it can be."
- "Is it all too much? Good heavens, yes. That’s the point. If you’re not expecting an all-out sensory assault, boy, have you wandered into the wrong movie," writes Billy Goodykoontz at the Arizona Republic. It's "an obvious few notches above such mindless fare as Transformers on the intelligence scale," but make no mistake, this is big dumb fun. No, make that huge; the "enormity of scale is far beyond anything seen before."
- But—and it's a big but—many reviewers noted the flatness of the human characters. In a scathing review, Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle calls them "forthright but stupid people" locked in "pointless emotional conflicts for the sake of creating some illusion of human spectacle. … Next to these guys, the alien dinosaurs keep looking better and better."