Top critical review
on 23 October 2016
If ever a film suffered from trying to pull off too many dramatic crescendos it's this one. The effects are great, the score is fine, but nothing can really rescue this film from its severe failings in script and plot.
Idris Elba played along valiantly as the hard-bitten commander of the Jaeger project, but the painfully clunky script he was handed was a challenge too far. Over half the lines felt like they were written by a 13 year old boy, buoyed up on Red Bull and 80s Stallone films. This served to puncture the tension at key parts of the film as over the top dialogue brought on a series of involuntary cringes.
Huge elements of plotting were left as dangling threads. The roles of the two horribly clichéd scientists for example, whilst obviously placed for comic relief, were clearly being trailed throughout as the source of a genius breakthrough which would guide the Jaeger project to victory. In the end, one of them merely managed to predict that the creatures were coming to Earth slightly increasingly frequently - something a child with a stopwatch could have deduced. The other went off on a trip through a ropey Hong Kong subplot to find Ron Perlman dressed as a pimp from a Mad Max film. Ultimately Perlman's underground connections brought precisely zero either to the Jaeger project or the film itself.
Visually the film was quite impressive and I assume that its obvious failings would be gleefully ignored by its target audience of boys age 12 to 15, so for that alone it scrapes a bonus star.