Story

Pacific Rim is set in the near future when gigantic creatures called Kaiju come out of an interdimensional portal in the floor of the Pacific Ocean. They destroy cities and kill millions of people. To fight these monsters, the people of the world band together and build giant combat robots called Jaegers. Jaegers must be operated by two pilots at the same time. The pilots’ minds are connected by a neural bridge.

Brothers Yancy and Raleigh Becket (Diego Klattenholf and Charlie Hunnam) are Jaeger pilots. At first Yancy and Raleigh can defeat the Kaiju, but when bigger and smarter Kaiju start appearing, the balance tips in favour of the Kaiju. Yancy is killed in battle and the brothers’ Jaeger is almost destroyed. Raleigh can’t cope with his brother’s death. He abandons his life as a Jaeger pilot and disappears.

Five years later humanity is about to be destroyed altogether. Raleigh’s old commanding officer, Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), is determined to make one final stand. Raleigh was Pentecost’s finest Jaeger pilot, so Pentecost tracks down Raleigh. He pairs Raleigh up with rookie Jaeger copilot Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Mako has a personal vendetta against the Kaiju, who destroyed her entire family when she was a young girl.

As the final hour approaches, two research scientists, Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottieb (Burn Gorman), make a discovery that might give Raleigh and Mako one last chance.

Themes

World annihilation; alien creatures; loss of a family member

Violence

Pacific Rim shows frequent and prolonged sequences of intense science fiction action violence between alien monsters and human-operated robots. The violence results in mass destruction and death. The movie also has violence between humans. For example:

  • There are frequent violent clashes between Kaiju (reptilian monsters) and Jaegers (giant robots) resulting in mass destruction and devastation. During the battles Jaegers use their giant fists to smash Kaiju heads. The Jaegers use spinning blades and giant swords to cut off limbs, tails and heads from Kaiju. Jaegers also use massive weapons, which they fire at the Kaiju, blasting massive holes in the monsters’ bodies. One monster is left on the ground with its chest and abdomen blown open, exposing its insides. Lots of glowing bluish blood pours out of its wounds.
  • Throughout the movie Kaiju destroy entire cities. Massive skyscrapers explode in flames and collapse to the ground.
  • Kaiju inflict horrific damage on the Jaeger robots. Kaiju use their talons to rip off Jaeger arms and punch gaping holes through Jaeger armoured chests. One Kaiju uses an armoured horn protruding from its head to impale a Jaeger through its chest, while another bites off a Jaeger’s head. One Kaiju spews acid that instantly melts the chest of a Jaeger on contact and hits a skyscraper building, instantly dissolving a large section of it.
  • A Kaiju violently rips open a Jaeger’s chest, reaches inside with its clawed hand and pulls one of two pilots from the cavity. The pilot is lifted up into the air. The other pilot crawls out of the smoking, wrecked Jaeger with a bloody nose, blood on the side of his mouth, bloody claw marks on his shoulder and blood smeared over his abdomen.
  • A Kaiju rips off the head of a submerged Jaeger robot. The head explodes. The cabin space fills with water and we hear later that the two pilots were drowned.
  • One scene shows a fishing trawler in trouble in a hurricane. A gigantic Kaiju rises up out of the water, but a Jaeger rescues the trawler.
  • An unborn Kaiju breaks out of its dead mother’s body to attack a man. The baby Kaiju appears to collapse dead on the ground before reaching the man, but then comes back to life and swallows a second man before dying. In a later scene the swallowed man uses a knife to cut his way out of the dead baby Kaiju.
  • There is a brutal fist fight between two Jaeger pilots. One pilot keeps punching the other in the face until the second pilot spits out a mouthful of blood. The pilots twist each other’s arms, and there is the sound of bones breaking. Eventually other men break up the fight and hold the pilots away from each other.
  • In one scene, two Jaeger pilots carrying a nuclear bomb aboard their Jaeger sacrifice their lives by detonating the bomb.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The movie has dozens of scary monsters, which are likely to terrify children in this age group.
  • Several scenes show images of a man who has spontaneous nosebleeds.
  • After a scientist’s mind melds with the brain of a dead Kaiju, blood trickles out of his nose and one of his eyes fills with blood. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • In emotional scenes a giant crab-like monster chases a terrified and vulnerable young girl. The monster chases the young girl through streets filled with debris and uses its claws to rip up streets to get at her. The monster eventually corners her in a dead-end alley, but a Jaeger rescues the girl just before the monster attacks her.
  • A couple of scenes show detailed images of a dissected Kaiju’s gigantic internal organs. Gigantic live slater-like parasites are placed into containers.
  • One scene shows men in biohazard suits entering the body cavity of a dead Kaiju to salvage the dead Kaiju’s organs. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

Pacific Rim contains some sexual innuendo. For example:

  • A man is asked how his date with a girl went. He replies that the girl liked it but her boyfriend didn’t.
  • A man selling black-market Kaiju organs makes a crude gesture to imply that Kaiju bone powder is a powerful aphrodisiac. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example, in several scenes an army officer swallows a pill from a metal box after he suffers nosebleeds. We later learn that the nosebleeds are the result of radiation poisoning. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • A woman looks admiringly at a man’s naked chest. When the man looks at the woman, she gets flustered and walks away, but then she looks at the man through a peephole in her door.
  • Both male and female pilots wear tight-fitting suits. A woman wears a tank top that shows bare shoulders and cleavage. 

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in the movie itself, but toys and other merchandise associated with the movie are being marketed to children. 

Coarse language

This movie has medium-level coarse language and name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Pacific Rim is a science fiction action adventure directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who directed Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.

The movie’s action and special effects are likely to entertain teenagers, but might also appeal to younger children, especially those who have seen the associated toys. But you should be aware that the movie’s M rating is deserved. It’s definitely not recommended for children under 13 years because of its violent and disturbing scenes, which involve destruction and intense battles between scary monsters and giant robots. We recommend parental guidance for children up to 15 years, because younger teenagers might also be disturbed by some scenes.

The main message from this movie is that people working together, especially on a global scale, can triumph over almost any odds. Many of the humans show bravery, perseverance and self-sacrifice.

If you have older children, you could talk with them about what the movie teaches us about fighting the real threats to our world such as natural disasters, wars, famine or large-scale terrorist attacks.