Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman
Out of a breach in the Earth's crust come the Kaiju, ever larger primeval creatures bent on taking over our planet. To fight them, the world's leaders create vast, human-piloted robotic fighting machines, known as Jaegers. But after years of war the Kaiju are gaining the upper hand, and the last remaining Jaegers forge a standoff in Hong Kong bay.
The synopsis ignores the film's main gimmick, namely the 'drifting' procedure by which the twin pilots 'mesh' their neural faculties so as to be able to interface with a hugely powerful artificial intelligence. This leads to dramatics involving pilots who lose or save their co-pilots, and the lighter veined antics of a scientist determined to 'drift' with pieces of Kaiju brain. Otherwise, of course, this is Godzilla meets Mechagodzilla once again, souped up with state-of-the-art CGI packaging via the Transformers movies. Happily, the set pieces follow the good old rule of three, after an opening which lavishes the kind of spectacle normally reserved for a movie climax on its unsuspecting audience, and the characters are somewhat more fleshed out than in a Michael Bay film, though not a lot. In the end there is little to associate with the Guillermo del Toro of Pan's Labyrinth here, except for the child-focused flashback involving the excellent Miss Kikuchi, an interest in monsters - and a cameo from Ron Perlman. Just another Independence Day really.