Eye For Film >> Movies >> Atlantic Rim (2013) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
By now, I'm sure we're all familiar with Pacific Rim. Giant sea monsters threatening to destroy humanity, humans in giant robot suits the last line of defence, etc. That's the grown-up version. This film, which looks at what happens when giant sea monsters attack the East Coast (look out, Statue of Liberty!) is the we-made-this-in-six-weeks-with-some-cardboard-and-double-sided-sticky-tape version. The gutsiness of taking on a project on this scale in that manner has to be applauded, but unfortunately it doesn't quite deliver what fans might have been hoping for.
One of the weakest Asylum productions so far, Atlantic Rim has all the shaky sets and cheesy lines we've come to expect but unfortunately lacks the energy that made films like Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus so entertaining. Despite some solid supporting performances, notably from Dances With Wolves star Graham Greene, it lacks a properly charismatic lead - former rapper Treach shows promise but the script doesn't give him room to develop it. David Chokachi as his maverick fellow pilot and Jackie Moore as the female pilot they both fancy are both irredeemably bland. That said, at least this film has an edge over its blockbuster rival in terms of actually having strong female characters who get something to do. There is also a villain with an eyepatch who seems to understand the material better than anyone but doesn't get enough screen time.
What we really want from Asylum, of course, is lots of monster on monster action. There really isn't enough of this and the kaiju are particularly rubbish, not even in a charming way. They seem almost to have been added to the film as an afterthought. Plot holes are to be expected but in this case they deny us the satisfaction of a proper ending, as the monsters aren't coming through an interdimensional gateway but are hatching from ancient eggs (a return to the egg obsession that Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus half-inched from Boa Vs Python), and it's never clear why everyone assumes there are no hidden eggs remaining. Most significantly, we don't get to engage with the kaiju as anti-heroes, denying us one of the most important pleasures of an Asylum production.
The film does have its moments (see three trained soldiers unable to break through a cardboard door, and a father describing his missing daughter as "about 12 years old"), but it doesn't measure up to its predecessors. Asylum are at their best when developing their own ideas, and Sharknado seems likely to blow this one out of the water.Reviewed on: 15 Jul 2013