In the 107 years since the first feature film was released, patterns have been set in the world of cinema. There are consistent formulas, identical plot arcs, characters with similar personality traits, predictable romances... Some movies try to avoid these by shocking audiences or unexpectedly killing characters. Others try too hard, and become cliched flops. Pacific Rim, however, nailed it perfectly.
When a movie embraces those archetypes, amazing things happen. Pacific Rim takes every one of those themes and builds a cinematic 150-ton killing machine with them. And although it takes elements from everything from cyberpunk to the The Hunger Games, it’s a true-to-form kaiju (big scary monster) film, and the greatest one since Cloverfield.
Pacific Rim will probably be one of the greatest movies of 2013 that is not nominated for any Oscars in acting. Although this phrase is usually a red flag for bad action movies, the fight scenes really do make up for the actors. They're shot in a fantastic manner; mildly shaky, often rather close-up instead of the expected panoramic shots. They're inventive and engaging, each one completely different, and they all have that super-satisfying boxing match-esque feeling that rises up whenever a good hit is scored.
The film is quite personal to , and it can be seen in the meticulous care and detail in its enormous characters. Del Toro, a monster fanatic, based his creatures on real animals, crustaceans and lizards, and even the robots take influence from various realistic fighting machines in history. He also takes the genre with an extremely respectful tone, careful not to tread on any of the masterpieces before him, but also adding his own twist on it all; not so dark as a standard Del Toro film, but identifiably his.
In short, it is possible to make money without producing sequels, and it is possible to be original and make money. As long as movies like Pacific Rim exist, I have no worries about the state of the movie industry.