Despite the low rating, the action in this film is pretty darn good, it’s just that the story is both ridiculous and predictable, and the characters and acting largely follow suit. Set in the immediate future, humanity finds itself under constant threat of attack from alien invaders (the Kaiju), alas not from space above, but from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, wherein lies a previously dormant portal to another dimension. Every six months or so an aquatic behemoth comes through the portal and attacks, Godzilla style, a seemingly random coastal city. Our most obvious solution to this crises is to build enormous robotic warriors to fight the beasties with, each one controlled from within its head by two mentally linked humans whose consciences merge, which allows the story to digress down various emotional tangents.
There are multiple immediate problems with this of course, such as any real explanation as to why our current military capabilities aren’t enough to take down the enemy, or why since we know their point of origin it isn’t mined to high heaven. The robots themselves, or Jaegers as they call them (German for hunters), despite having huge plasma guns and an array of missile explosives, seemed to favour running up and smacking the aliens in the face as their weapon of choice, which naturally allows for the possibility for them to be, well, eaten. The chain of command in their outfit is at best flimsy, and at several times it’s easier to be against the protagonists than behind them.
An oddity that manages to be quite enjoyable and yet at the same time determinedly difficult to really like, it’s from director Guillermo del Toro and has very much the same feel and pace to it as his 2008 film ‘Hellboy II’. This, and del Toro’s continued determination to stick to real sets and props as much as possible, together with the visual effects, are the films strongest assets. It’s a real shame that, as is often the case, a money laden blockbuster is critically let down by basic conceptual errors and a hackneyed screenplay. If you like the look of the trailer, then this might still be worth a go on the big screen – watch out for the Optimus Prime lookalike truck that is no doubt deliberately crushed at one point, and there is a very brief post credits scene too.