Synopsis:As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72% (Critics) / 87% (Audience)
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro
Written By: Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Ron Perlman
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
If you are like me and have fond memories of Voltron or going back further Ultraman or Giant Robo (renamed Johnny Socko and His Flying Robot for US audiences) then you would also have been in total geek nirvana for the majority of this film. The designs for the Jaeger robots and the kaiju were amazingly cool and the battle scenes were the equals of the designs. del Toro also created a really cool world that has serious legs for what I hope will be several sequels.
I also enjoyed the scenes between Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. Day is pretty much always hilarious and Perlman is coolness personified and the two guys played off of one another very well.
It is too bad the major characters were not nearly as interesting as Day and Perlman’s supporting characters. Hunnan and Kikuchi as the two leads were both so dreadfully bland and there was never anything close to a spark between their characters as romantic partners or even teammates. And Idris Elba was all bombast and stodginess that ventured on caricature. His Stacker Pentecost was like an amalgamated clone of every commanding officer/military leader type character in the history of sci-fi and action movies.
I really got my hopes up that we were going to get an unconventional summer action movie ending that would be a lot more bleak and realistic (even for a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters) but del Toro copped out and instead gave viewers a predictably standard and far less satisfying Hollywood ending.
Final Verdict: A fun, action-packed and visually amazing summer blockbuster that does everything right when it comes to the action set pieces but drops the ball when it comes to creating compelling characters that the audience can connect with and root for against the giant monster bad guys.