Gigantic alien beasts get their asses handed to them by robots that don’t turn into trucks or cars in Guillermo del Toro’s alternately exhilarating and stale Pacific Rim. This movie is full-on crazy in the head in an often very good, very fun way. This is del Toro’s first directorial project after abandoning The Hobbit, and he made a good call. I had a hard time staying awake during the first Hobbit movie. Such was not the case with this bad boy when the big fights were going on. It’s the near future, and some freaky beasts called kaiju are rising from the ocean depths and tearing cities to shreds. Do we nuke them? No. That would be too easy. Instead, we spend kazillions to build a bunch of hardcore robots that are driven by pilots melding their minds together. It makes absolutely no sense, and I don’t care because it’s fun. Nearly all of these battles take place in the dark, in the rain or in the ocean. Normally, I would scream “cop-out!” because this is a technique used by directors to cheat a bit on the CGI. It’s a lot harder to create computer-generated monsters for broad daylight than the dark. Even if this is del Toro cheating, it works. The dialogue is pretty bad, but the action and effects are stellar, so this qualifies as one of the summer’s better bets.

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