Cinematic spectacle reaches new heights when giant robots go to war with massive monsters
In the near future our world has become subject to invasions by gigantic alien monsters known as Kaiju. To combat them, the world's superpowers come together and develop the Jaegers, huge robotic mechs operated by a pair of mind-linked pilots. For a while it looked like humanity had succeeded in stemming the invasion – but that's when it all started to go horribly wrong…
Guillermo del Toro's latest is an love letter to Japanese monster movies and anime that delivers more pulse-pounding, epic-scale action than genre fans could ever hope for. Who cares if the human drama is a little thinly-sketched? This is a film about giant robots fighting giant monsters – and if that's your thing, then Pacific Rim delivers it in spades.
Picture: Whether you opt to watch it in 2D or 3D (provided on separate discs in this release) Pacific Rim looks mind-blowingly good on Blu-ray. While much of the live-action material was converted to 3D in post, the visual effects were created in 'stereo' – and as so much of the film involves largescale CG fight sequences, this is where the 3D MVC 1.78:1 1080p encode excels.
The 2D AVC 1.78:1 1080p shares the same gorgeous detailing and clarity as its stereoscopic sibling, but adds slightly most robust colours, deeper blacks and even greater sharpness. Simply brilliant.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Many people will probably find Pacific Rim's DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix to be a thrilling affair, packed with booming bass and expansive use of the surrounds. And judged on its own merits, it's not a bad blockbuster soundtrack at all – although for our tastes the separation across the soundstage could be a touch crisper and clearer.
The real problem is that the US release delivered both the 5.1 mix included here and an even more eventful higher bitrate DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. Why Warner decided to drop the latter from the UK release is a mystery. But whatever the reason, for a magazine that caters for those most likely to have 7.1 set-ups, it's impossible for us not to recommend importing the US release instead.
Audio rating: 4/5
Extras: The 2D version of the film is accompanied by an audio commentary by the director, and while we usually prefer group chat tracks to solo efforts, del Toro is one of the exceptions to the rule. He rarely pauses for breath as he discusses his love of Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, Japanese monster movies and the film's myriad other inspirations, whilst simultaneously offering yet another unmissable masterclass on the filmmaking process.
Also included on the disc are 13 Focus Point featurettes that prove much more informative and open than traditional EPK featurettes and boast a combined running time of just over an hour.
The set's final Blu-ray disc hosts even more bonus material. There's an analysis of the film's 'Drift Space' imagery, a look at the creation of the visual effects, a blooper reel, four deleted scenes, a gallery of animatics and concept art, and an interactive 'Director's Notebook' containing del Toro's notes and sketches alongside six additional featurettes.
Extras rating: 4/5
We say: An otherwise spectacular HD release marred only by the baffling decision to downgrade the audio in the UK
Pacific Rim 3D, Warner Home Video, All-region BD, £28 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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