Overview: Giant monsters fight giant robots. If you aren’t hooked already, just skip it. Warner Brothers Pictures; 2013 PG-13; 131 Minutes.
Oh my goodness: The size and production quality of these massive beasts! And they’re fighting?! Guillermo Del Toro widens the ambition and imagination that so precisely colored Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth and unleashes the uninhibited (and at times, undisciplined) power of his imaginative fury. Even at the most intense, mid-fight moments, the size of these monsters stays in awe-inspiring scale because Del Toro is careful where others may have over reached or lost sight. Sometimes color-saturation is a bit distracting and for some reason every major fight scene takes place in the dark or rain or both, but the screen never fails to impress with the attention given to engineering and biological detail.
Holy Moly: This is a fanboy wet dream—an open appeal to the viewer’s inner child to check the basement corners for the favorite toys that were never sold, to take the collectibles out of the plastic and smash them together because senseless and youthful imagination is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Del Toro scraped the collective consciousness from the busiest corners of IMDb and used the collected samples to construct a collage of man-child obsessession. A toy chest of all the things that makes these hives buzz loudest. Gorgeous Mechs? You bet. Godzilla-inspired monsters? Of course. Elements of anime, kung fu, and cheesy 80s cartoons? As much as one can handle. And the casting choices only continue the pattern of specified appeasement. Cult favorite TV shows The Wire, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Sons of Anarchy lend their loyal audiences, as Idris Elba, Charlie Day, and Charlie Hunman fill in the paint-by-color character template (Who cares about the people!? Monsters are fighting robots!) Oh, and did I mention Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave is jamming on his pedaled guitar in one of the more memorable show downs between metal and mutant? Yeah, if my inner child knew the term, he might have called that a “money shot.”
Giant Monsters are Fighting Giant Robots, so Who Cares if: The logic doesn’t hold up. The science isn’t science. If the scene could use a sword, well, then a giant sword is tossed in the mix, absent of explanation. Trust me when I say that the movie is aware of this. That isn’t an excuse. This movie is kind of dumb. For those who feel like it is a slight against the movie, it is a slight against the movie. For those who feel like that’s a pointless piece of information, it is a pointless piece of information. But for anyone who paired Leonardo the disciplined turtle with Optimus Prime to defeat Cobra Commander, for the first generation to successfully convince their fathers that action figures were not dolls, this is the perfect movie regardless of what this or any other review says.
Grade: B +