Pacific Rim

Del Toro’s huge robots and monsters movie is really impressive. And makes perfect sense for 3D.


Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi

Budget: 190 million | Box office: 300 million (4 weeks)

IMDb: 7.7 | Metacritic: 64

Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro

I vaguely remember watching some film about huge robots controlled by pilots inside them in my childhood. At that time it looked impressive, but now trying to find what that movie could have been I got only results of few very low rated almost B level films. It seems there was never a good and successful Hollywood film about huge controlled robots, correct me if I’m wrong. So why such creative and highly regarded director as Guillermo del Toro was hooked by such idea, that he dropped The Hobbit and postponed his other projects?

At first I thought Pacific Rim was inspired and related to the short Uruguayan film Ataque de Pánico!, which got widespread attention and lots of views in Youtube. I think I read something about it being remade for Hollywood, but apparently that’s not the case. As his inspiration del Toro cites the Japanese mecha and kaiju genres, but his goal was not to recreate any particular movie, but help to turn Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans) story to the original big budget summer film. And he managed to get really generous budget, enough to hire the best special effects team – Industrial Light and Magic with Iron Man suit creator supervising.

The main film idea is of course simple: huge monsters from the crack in the ocean are attacking the Earth and only similarly huge robots can stop them. The main difference with other robot films is the idea, that it’s controlled not by one, but two pilot, whose brain activity is connected and combined into one. This premise gives enough reasons to create a little human drama, which is actually sensible and doesn’t work as only the stop gaps between the fights. The humorous tone was not always working for me, but it’s probably better in such way for younger audiences.

The main attraction point – robot and monster fights are hugely impressive. The kaiju monsters were created using dinosaurs and other animals references, the robots are a bit less varied and the idea of country representation is too stereotypical, but it really doesn’t matter. The combined effect of photorealistic graphics, properly fitting soundtrack (created by the guy behind The Game of Thrones!) sheer scale of these things and total destruction leaves no time for thinking and after two ours you feel like stepping out of this robot yourself.

Strangely, del Toro was against the idea of 3D for this film, and although it was filmed with 3D capable cameras, it was decided to do a thorough conversion. For me 3D absolutely works here and it’s definitely the most impressive converted movie. One thing is clear – with or without 3D, Pacific Rim is definitely the big screen film, which would lose the point and all appeal in other formats.

No film for Lovecraft
Another reason for del Toro taking this project was not so great. Universal canceled production of director‘s film At the Mountains of Madness, based on H.P. Lovecraft‘s work. But there are still many projects where del Toro is involved: new darker version of Pinnochio animation, third part of his breakthrough Hellboy, horror movie and probably more unconfirmed films.

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