Viewed from one angle — from below, say, as you cower before the IMAX screen, your 3-D glasses digging into the bridge of your nose, condensation from your Diet Coke dripping onto your leg — “Pacific Rim” looks a lot like other movies of its type. Dinosaurish creatures as big as skyscrapers do battle with equally gigantic robots on land and sea, pulverizing familiar cities and churning up geysers of spume. Human characters (some of whom are actually inside the giant robots) bark out catchphrases, spout fake science and express noble sentiments as they fight to save the planet. More than two hours of your life elapse before they do.
So consider yourself warned. If you walk in expecting subtlety, or even novelty, you may find yourself more tormented than entertained. But “Pacific Rim” is also a reminder — either just in time or much too late — that this kind of movie can and should be fun. Some of those catchphrases are mildly clever. The lab coat mumbo-jumbo is amusing. The noble sentiments touch sweet chords. And who does not delight in seeing a robot punch a dinosaur every now and then — or pretty much constantly for two hours?
The director, Guillermo del Toro (who wrote the script with Travis Beacham), is an unabashed genre enthusiast and a feverish inventor of fantastical worlds, enchanted by the visual and symbolic power of monsters and intoxicated by his own imagination. It is true that he has employed that imagination to more memorable effect in other movies, notably the wonderful “Hellboy” pictures and the shattering Spanish Civil War horror-allegories “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone.” Admirers of those films may find this one crude and overscale by comparison. Still, “Pacific Rim,” with its carefree blend of silliness and solemnity, is clearly the product of an ingenious and playful pop sensibility.
Read the rest of A.O. Scott's review by clicking here.