-Guillermo del Toro
-Kaiju (Giant Monsters)
-Giant Robots Vs Kaiju
That’s all you need to know, go see Pacific Rim.
However Nerd Like You EIC, Susie, told me that this didn’t actually count as an article, that people might want to know more than the bare basics about the film and that for an article with only 35 words, I’d hundreds of typos and spelling mistakes.
So I guess I’ll start at the beginning. The involvement of certain people in a film/TV show will automatically make me stand up and take notice. Guillermo del Toro is one of those people (which means I have to take notice of a lot of things considering that guy always seems to have his fingers in multiple pies). Then there are certain words in the English language that will make me sit up and take notice. ‘Giant’, ‘robots’, ‘versus’ and ‘monsters’ are all words on that list.
So when I heard that Guillermo del Toro was directing and co-writing (with Travis Beacham) a movie called Pacific Rim with the general synopsis ‘Giant robots versus monsters’ I got excited. Really excited. And also immediately thought about the head-melting anime masterpiece, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In fact, I’m not sure I can properly explain how excited I felt so I’ll let GDT describe how he would react if he’d heard about a movie like Pacific Rim being released when he was younger.
“I’d have exploded in a ball of blood, guts and shit! I would have exploded like that guy in Scanners!”
Descriptive and gross but also probably the best way to describe how I felt… though obviously not literally. Though as we all know, a great idea (even one with great talent behind it) doesn’t always mean that we’ll get a good movie at the end of it. However, as the build-up to the film’s release has unveiled more and more information, I think we’ve got more than enough reasons to get excited.
Tell me a story about monsters….
“I felt there was a chance to do something fresh, something new that at the same time was conscious of the heritage, but not a pastiche or an homage or a greatest hits of everything. One of the first things I did is make it a point to not check any old movies or any other references. Like start from scratch.” GDT
One of the things that makes Guillermo del Toro such a great director/writer/producer is the fact that he truly loves what he does. To be honest, I’m pretty sure that del Toro makes his films for his own enjoyment and it just so happens that they’ve achieved worldwide acclaim. When it comes to Pacific Rim, this is del Toro’s love letter to monster movies… or as he eloquently puts it,
‘a very, very beautiful poem to giant monsters’.
If I’d heard that someone like Michael Bay was directing this movie, I’d probably not have had as much interest and would be worried that he was using the Kaiju genre as an excuse to blow things up. With del Toro in the director’s chair, I’m looking forward to seeing how he creates a modern day Kaiju tale, whilst still keeping in all the elements that made us love the genre in the first place.
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
Now, this is all pretty much what you’d expect. Giant monsters attack – Check. Humans fight back – Check. Humans generally suck and start to lose – Check. Teens piloting EVAs – No, wait, that’s Neon Genesis Evangalion. Sorry. Unlikely heroes in the form of an odd couple – a disgraced pilot and a rookie (which seems weird considering Hunnam and Kikuchi are only a year apart in age) – may be our only hope – Cheque please.
“And the Kaiju – we designed about ten, but not all of them appear in main set pieces. The main Kaiju… There are about seven or eight, there’s one I keep forgetting but he’s gonna be a big surprise.” GDT
Kaiju stands for “strange beast” and if you’re looking for some information on some of the best Kaiju that have graced our screens, you should check out this fantastic article our resident Kaiju expert wrote a while back. In fact, now that I think about it, he hasn’t been heard from in six months – right around the time he went on that Kaiju Safari. Hmm. I’m sure he’s fine though. Basically, they’re giant monsters who can come from space, the sea or be created by man’s hubris (stupid nuclear testing!!). In Pacific Rims case, these monsters come from a portal located in the Pacific Ocean and have decided that they want us out of the way.
Now, we’ve only gotten a few glimpses of the Kaiju but as Guillermo del Toro has proven that he can create imaginative, varied and downright disturbing creatures – as seen in Hellboy, Mimic, Pans Labyrinth, Blade 2 and even helped out with the creature design for Cowboys and Aliens (and let’s face it, the aliens were probably the best thing about that movie) – I think we can rest assured that we’re going to be shown something special.
We designed a little over half a dozen Jaegers and they’re in the film in one way or another, but the main four that have real set pieces and are there for the body of the movie are Russian, Chinese, American and Australian. Then we have others – the Japanese robot, the first US robot that was built, a German robot” GDT
Jaegars are basically 20 story high robots which have been created to fight back against the Kaiju. They are controlled by two pilots who are connected to each other and the Jaegar using a neural piloting system. They come with all kind of high-tech weaponry (including guns and rockets) and are tough enough to go toe to toe with the Kaiju… which hopefully leads to many City destroying brawls. The schematics for the Jaegars were ‘leaked’ and whilst I’m not usually a fan of blueprints, I did find these pretty awesome. Here is the four armed Chinese Jaegar, Crimson Typhoon – the only Jaegar that has three pilots instead of two.
I think we can all agree that this looks pretty badass (and huge when compared against the tiny human figure at the bottom of the blue print). However, on top of these blue prints – and in a move that makes me think the Pacific Rim marketing department are actually invading my head looking for ideas to get me even more excited for the movie – each of the Jaegars have now received their very own poster. Check them out below.
Russia: Cherno Alpha
Japan: Coyote Tango
China: Crimson Typhoon
Australia: Striker Eureka
USA: Gipsy Danger
Not only can I barely contain my desire to finally get to see these robots in action but I also like how each Country has its own unique style and design for their Jaegar. The Japanese Jaegar looks like it’s just stepped from the pages of an Anime/manga and I really think that the Russian Jaegar is perfect… but for the life of me, I can’t quite explain why that is.