"Pacific Rim" — To say it's the best monsters vs. robots movie that money can buy is not to denigrate this latest effort from the imaginative director Guillermo del Toro. To many devotees of the genre, it will be the ultimate pleasure: An army of 25-story-high robots creatively (and very noisily) battling the Kaiju, or monsters rising from the sea. The problem is that del Toro spent relatively little of his considerable talents on developing interesting human characters, and the film suffers as a result, though not fatally. Del Toro clearly considers his robots and monsters to be the real stars here, anyway. Leading the charge to save humanity are co-pilots Raleigh Becket (a handsome but bland Charlie Hunnam), and his partner, a young Japanese woman named Mako (Rinko Kikuchi, underused) with a beef against the Kaiju. We're supposed to see chemistry blooming here, but it's hard when there's no time spent on character development. Idris Elba plays the impressively named commander Stacker Pentecost, Charlie Day is a nerdy scientist (but not nearly as funny as he could be), and Ron Perlman is a shadowy Kaiju-parts dealer. Occasionally, as in brief scenes inside his characters' minds, del Toro displays his subtler, more intimate style, and it would have been nice to see more of that. PG-13 for intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language. 131 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
—Jocelyn Noveck, AP National Writer
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