Sunday, 20 October 2013
Initially I laughed in disbelief. That was the stupidest sounding concept I had ever heard of. Pan's Labyrinth is on my Top 10 list and I really enjoyed both Hell Boy movies. But this premise had me wondering if Del Toro had completely lost his mind.
Then I saw some trailers and I started to reconsider. Could this movie actually be enjoyable? Was there enough fun in watching CGI robots slug it out with CGI monsters that this would be a worthwhile way to spend two hours?
The reviews, when they came, provided no clear answers to these questions. There were fervent supporters and not quite as fervent detractors. Using a Rotten Tomatoes type filter, it did seem that the majority of reviewers were giving it favourable reviews. But it still seemed like such a stupid basis for a movie. In the end, it was the strength of Del Toro's past work that convinced me that I should finally check this movie out.
What a piece of shit.
Not visually. Visually it's impressive. It must have been spectacular on a big screen.
The problem, as I originally feared, was that you just can't build a compelling story around the theory that mankind's best method of fighting giant monsters is to build giant robots. It makes no tactical sense. "Grappling" and "Fisticuffs" seem like the LAST things you'd try when planning attacks on giant monsters. But every fight started with just those things. And when the robot and its pilots got in trouble THEN they'd pull out a plasma canon, or chest missiles, or a mother-fucking SWORD for Christ's sake! Even Jen was yelling at the screen "Why the hell didn't they START with the missiles?!?".
No, the only reason you have robots up there doing WWF wrestling moves is because it looks cool. And if you're abandoning reason just to see what it would look like to have a giant robot punch a giant sea monter, I'm checking out of your movie.
I'm still in an awe of Del Toro's visual imagination. I'll always give him the benefit of the doubt. But this was a big disappointment and I hope his next movie brings him closer to the heart and wonder that was so evident in Pan's Labyrinth.