Full disclosure: I love Lego. I ran across a few images of the amazing Monster Fighters Haunted House set early last year, decided that it must be mine, and plunged headlong down the rabbit hole. I convert my dollars into plastic bricks whenever possible, and assembling them has proven to be the perfect companion hobby to my non-stop movie watching. Gotta have something to do during those director’s commentaries. That being said, while I unabashedly love the brand I’d have also been the first in line to register my disappointment had the movie failed to deliver. Luckily, my sky-high level of excitement for this one was repaid in kind.
The great thing about Guillermo del Toro–what makes him so endlessly interesting as a writer and as a director–is that he never forgot what it’s like to be a kid. He’s got all these years of filmmaking experience and accumulated knowledge on a vast array of obscure subject matter, nestled alongside the uninhibited creativity of a precocious child. I can’t decide if that sounds insulting or not, implying that a grown man has a kid brain, but I’m sticking with it. There’s just no other way to describe it. Nearly everyone has an amazing mind as a child, and it’s only after years of exposure to words like “impossible” that those parts of the brain die off and we resign ourselves to the mundane. Del Toro somehow held on against all odds, and like Billy Batson and Captain Marvel now enjoys a full and equal creative partnership with his inner child. Pacific Rim is the latest fruit of that unique work ethic, a wholly unironic film about giant robots punching giant monsters for the survival of mankind. And I want to you to know that I’m being completely serious when I say that it’s pretty much a masterpiece.