Director: Guillermo del Toro (2013)
Giant battle-robots stomp through the most thrillingly monumental sci-fi film of 2013.
It’s powered by winning performances, tremendous design and brilliant special effects. The script scatters plenty of humour that is broad and wry and dry.
In the near future, reptiles called Kaiju – the size of skyscrapers – have emerged from a fissure in the Pacific seabed and set about attacking the world’s advanced cities.
Earth’s resources are pooled and colossal two-man robotic fighting machines called Jaegers are built to combat their cataclysmic threat.
But then global governments change their defence policy and the Jaegers are retired in favour of a massive wall to keep out the fearsome Kaiju.
Because history demonstrates how well a wall-building policy worked for the Chinese, Romans and Soviets.
Research scientists are ignored after they predict ever more intense attacks – and the defensive barriers are breached under the terrifying onslaughts from the creatures.
In his military base in Hong Kong, military commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) has a plan to save the world. He recommissions the four remaining Jaegers to go on the offensive.
Plasma-cannons blitz acid-spitting monsters as terrifically exciting battles take place at sea in thunderstorms – which may explain why the dialogue is a little rusty.
Whenever the film threatens to topple under the weight of its preposterous nature, Elba’s titanic personality heaves it back on to its feet.
Charlie Hunnam stars as pilot Raleigh Becket and is an efficient rather than overly charismatic lead.
But he shares a nice chemistry with Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi who plays Mako, a military technician with a tragic past.
This dazzlingly entertaining, hugely engaging heroic adventure keeps hitting the audience with unexpected punches. The final knockout blow leaves you reeling with enjoyment.