People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different. In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all. Read on!
I’ve been dripping with anticipation sweat about this one since Guillermo del Toro announced his uncompromising goal to create it oh so many moons ago.
Best. Summer. Flick. Yet.
There is going to be a common tide of reviews that argue that this film only makes good on how it represents the greatest part of its premise – giant fucking robots fighting giant fucking monsters. Part of this is true – Guillermo del Toro makes the most entertaining giant robots smashing giant monsters in the head with big things movie, well, ever. He manages to sidestep the key visual problem of a film like Transformers (the need for Michael Bay to show every whirring part of every whirring machine) and makes a clean, crisp, visually gorgeous big budget action film. You will see robots fight monsters in outrageously colored glory. There is no doubt about that. Where I disagree with the other reviews out there is that the film fails on a story level. If you are walking in to the theater expecting a deeply complex bit of story, you my friend might be disappointed. This is a story in the vein of an 80s blockbuster, simple and well-told, playing to the themes and archetypes already deeply instilled in the American culture. This is a story about a big bad and a group of down-trodden heroes that have to step up on a grand scale to save the Earth, no matter what the cost. Yes, Charlie Humman’s Raleigh is a flawed hero as Idris Elba’s character is a hard-nosed commander with a heart of gold and Charlie Day’s wacky scientist is just that, a wacky scientist. But del Toro gets what we want as a fans – well written, easily defined stereotypes that we can, with little effort, relate to. This is, quite simply, a story about robots beating on monsters and vice versa and as important as it is for the characters to be well-painted and the story to be developed enough to be interesting, at the end of the day these are just our avatars for the robot-beating-on-monster thrill ride. It seems clear the del Toro understands this and has crafted a movie thusly.
GDT should make a movie every year forever.