Here there by spoilers!*
A Few Things I Didn’t Like So Well:
-I know it’s not meant to be realistic, but if they’re going to explain things, then the explanation should either be the equivalent of “it’s magic” or the explanation should work. When Charlie Day’s character says that the DNA of each monster is identical, that they’re clones…first of all, why DNA? Second, they’re not identical. The movie goes to pains to point out that the kaiju are “evolving”, which means their DNA is changing. What made it truly annoying is that it was utterly inconsequential. The monsters’ DNA or origin or whatever was never brought up again.
-A supposedly math-oriented scientist took up four chalkboards (chalkboards?) to come up with a pattern to the number sequence 16, 8, 4, 2…etc. His recognition of this pattern was supposed to be something we’d be impressed with.
-Sending a lone scientist to deal with a shady underworld type who has a relationship with the military leader, not the scientist, is silly. Cut it out.
-The Vulcan mind-meld thing was actually pretty cool, but since it’s a high-risk operation, was there really any reason to test two pilots for compatibility in a live-weapons situation?
-I wish we’d gotten to know the other jaegers and jaeger pilots a little more. Striker Eureka was cool as hell looking and I was really interested in Cherno Alpha and, to a lesser degree, Crimson Typhoon. We never really got to see any of them win any fight.
-The only showing that fight our schedule was in 3D. The 3D is used to very good effect, but the loss of brightness was a bummer.
Things I Liked Quite Well:
-I love love love the ways the jaegers moved. One of the things that drove me batty about Transformers is that the huge robots were fast and nimble. Not only did that make for very twitchy viewing, it takes away from the sense of mass, of hugeness. The jaegers were BIG and everything in the way they moved said “big.” I’m surprised so few films get this right.
-The design of the whole film was fantastic. The monsters looked great, the jaegers looked great.
-The girl who played the young Mako Mori deserves as many awards as she can hold. And years of therapy. I’ve never seen horror expressed so well on screen.
-While the lead character was bland (not really his fault, it’s a script problem), the supporting characters were interesting. Mako Mori steals the film, I liked the Aussies, I probably would have liked the Russians, and getting Charlie Day and Ron Perlman together is genius.
-Ellen McLain. ‘Nuf said.
-It’s remarkably lean in the right places. The amount of hand-to-hand fighting by humans is minimal, and it’s brief.
-Some people died truly horrible deaths. I mean, the kind that stick with you, not funny-horrible. It gave a sense of real danger to the battles. This wasn’t just a rock’em sock’em robot fight-inside those huge shells were very vulnerable people.
-It was fun to see a new mythos that was obviously inspired by other properties, but was entirely new and didn’t rely on winkingly referencing its predecessors.
-In a related note, it was nice to see a film that didn’t involve JJ Abrams pissing all over the original concept of the property.
-It was a boatload of fun to watch. It’s not a short movie, but I would have been happy to see more, not less of it.
So, yeah, it was well worth seeing. I’d enjoy seeing it again. There’s some melodrama, but I’d say it’s less emotionally impactful than, say, “Real Steel” (poor Noisy Boy). This was a film that knew what it wanted to be and executed it really, really well. I hope it makes bags of money. Big bags. And I hope Del Toro continues to do whatever the hell he wants, because he’s a fun director who does fun projects.
* Actually, I’m not entirely certain what qualifies as a “spoiler.” With some films, some information is obviously meant to be a surprise (Crying Game, I’m looking at you!), but for most films, it’s hard to see how knowing what is going to happen would “spoil” the film.
Interestingly enough, research shows that you’re more likely to enjoy films is you already know what is going to happen. This makes the whole “spoiler” thing seem like an invitation more than a warning, doesn’t it?