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PACIFIC RIM isn’t the kind of film I normally gravitate towards. Honestly, I’ve had my fill of robots, monsters, superheroes and comic book foes.

But there’s no denying that Guillermo Del Toro’s film works on a level its competition only wishes they could achieve – it’s an 11 on the summer movie fun-ometer. Under his expert direction, Pacific Rim’s bombast and destruction isn’t pampered by the pessimism and fake post-9/11 somberness that plague so many of the big studio adventure rides these days.  It’s vivid, fun, energetic, and filled with moments that play as either wild slapstick or playful melodrama, but rarely in between.

It’s a cutting-edge technological wonder conceived in the service of a 1950‘s B-grade monster movie. The tone of the film is wholly inspired by the wide-eyed giddiness of those old fashioned films, and that enthusiastic spirit infects the audience (the crowd I saw it with erupted into applause at least a half a dozen times during the film).

Del Toro’s handling of the battle scenes between the monsters and robots are realized with a child’s sense of wonder, and they inspire genuine awe.  There’s a purity in the film that’s so rare, especially for an effects-heavy spectacle. 

You can feel the presence of Del Toro throughout, blissfully playing with his toys in a massive sandbox, and you can’t help but share in his joy. B+