After an opening electronic sting that’s reminiscent of “Transformers,” the trailer jumps right into showing us (with a voiceover assist by Charlie Hunnam, sounding almost exactly like his “Sons of Anarchy” character, Jax Teller) a world under attack by these monsters (one of which seems to have a particular grudge against the Golden Gate Bridge) … and our tactical response of deploying stories-high robot warriors piloted by humans that look like a totally awesome combination of MechWarrior, Voltron and those things at the end of “Skyline” (for the five of you who saw that movie).
From there, you get at least one inspirational speech by Idris Elba and completely unironic — and rather breathtaking — images of, well, giant robots punching giant monsters. It’s like an old “Godzilla Versus” movie but with a million times the budget and at least five times the earnestness (there’s not a wink or a nudge in sight in the trailer).
It’s been something of a long, hard road for Guillermo del Toro to get a feature made over the last few years. In fact, when “Pacific Rim” hits theaters next July, it will be his first directorial effort in five years (almost to the day, in fact), following 2008’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” Del Toro was originally tapped to direct “The Hobbit” but pulled out when it took forever and a day to get pre-production going. And one of his longtime dream projects, “In the Mountains of Madness,” failed to get funding from Universal after the now notoriously frugal studio refused to back an R-rated film based on a nichey sci-fi horror story by H.P. Lovecraft (even with Tom Cruise unofficially attached).
“Pacific Rim” ended up being something of a consolation prize (offered by Warner Bros., which always has buckets of cash on hand) after del Toro was denied the “Madness” money, one that still allowed him to explore a world of giant monsters … though perhaps not as “artistically” as he had originally hoped.
And maybe that’s a good thing. If the trailer is any indication, “Pacific Rim” could transfer del Toro from his current status of fanboy cult hero (and occasional Oscar darling, thanks to “Pan’s Labyrinth”) to the realm of Hollywood’s go-to big budget action directors. Hey, he’d definitely bring some class to the big, loud, messy playground dominated by school bullies like Michael Bay and Brett Ratner … and it’d be nice to see him treated with the same kind of mainstream respect as the egghead auteurs on the other side of the field like Christopher Nolan and, well, Peter Jackson.
We’ll see. Anyway, whatever it ends up doing for its director, the film itself looks totally badass. And that’s what’s most important when it comes to summer movies, right?
“Pacific Rim” invades theaters on July 12, 2013.