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“Pacific Rim”: City-stomping robot-monster delight!

What you get out of Guillermo del Toro’s kazillion-dollar robot-fu epic “Pacific Rim” depends on what you bring to it. For general audiences, this picture will no doubt appear as a high-tech summer action spectacle in the “Transformers” mode, but one made with superior cinematic craft and a profound appreciation for the classic monster-attack movies of the 1960s. This is escapist entertainment on a grand scale, with only dim and distant connections to contemporary social or political reality. In between the impressive oceanic throw-downs between gigantic interdimensional beasties and colossal human-powered fighting machines, we get all the ancillary ingredients required by the genre: macho confrontation and comradeship, a lot of military-bureaucratic texture, a smidgen of romance, some zany character comedy. What politics the movie possesses are minimal and arguably reactionary: Governments all over the world have peed their drawers when faced with a real-life “existential threat,” and it’s up to real men (and giant robots) to resist the invading monster hordes.

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