Pacific Rim is director Guillermo del Toro's love letter to the Japanese Kaiju film's he adored from his childhood. He was inspired by old Godzilla/ low budget sci-fi flicks, where random creatures destroy cities for kicks. Only this movie is in the hands of an expert director with a huge Hollywood budget. However, despite all it's amazing special effects and the mind boggling amounts of action/carnage that unfolds onscreen, the story behind Pacific Rim is actually quite simple and old fashioned. Alien monsters emerge from a portal under the Pacific Ocean which causes humanity to band together and build giant robots to fight them. That's it. That's the plot and overall theme of the film as well. The movie is about teamwork...and giant robots fighting Godzilla monsters. It's so simple, yet vastly more rewarding then any of the previous action/super hero/blockbuster types films released this summer.
The film's characters aren't the most richly textured creations, but they get the job done fair enough. Sure, sometimes they feel like stock examples straight out of other films (the fearless leader, the hot headed show off, the timid love interest, etc) but they don't mope around or do asinine shit that goes against their archetypes either (re: Man of Steel). Ildris Alba delivers the strongest performance as the tough as nails military commander in charge of saving the world. Charlie Day sort of steals every scene he's in also as the film's comic relief, playing a kooky scientist, channeling a bit of Rick Moranis from Ghostbusters in there somewhere.
Pacific Rim is one hell of an entertainment ride. It has the Joe Cool cliches of Independence Day, the oddball sentimentality of Armageddon, and the uncanny, starry-eyed visual effects that made jaws/panties drop in Jurassic Park. Take note Hollywood, this is how you make a legit summer action movie.