My, my, my, Titan Books have been busy of late, what with the recent release of the Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman coffee table/art book, collecting together the classic Marada the She-Wolf comic book saga, and looking on their website, publishing a string of other movie tie ins and new novels, etc., they have also found time to give Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim movie the star treatment.
Pacific Rim: Man, Machines and Monsters – The Inner Workings of an Epic Film is quite simply stunning. Not only is the title fantastically long, but the book is also massive in scope and is probably, the ultimate in movie companion books and I don’t say that flippantly!
I have many such books in my library, amongst my most prized is a copy of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back: The Definitive Story Behind the Film (also a contender for longest title for a behind the scenes book). Not only should this book be held up as how you do a companion book from concept to realisation, but it should also serve as a master class on how every such book that follows should be written. The book is THAT good. Now, bear with me as I say this, as it is somewhat difficult, but (deep breath) Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters, (exhale), tops even the Making of Empire book…
A Monster of a Book
This book is as large as it is heavy and runs in at 156 pages, this is absolutely fitting, considering the movie is about giant robot type Jaegers fighting giant monster like Kaiju. This tome is jam packed, and I’m not kidding here, it is absolutely rammed chock-full of content that will get your inner nerd writhing in robot/monster ecstasy. Talk about nerdgasms? I had multiple!
The foreword is written by del Toro himself, in which he gives remarkable praise for the FX team behind the awesome effects of the film. Without this team we wouldn’t have Jaegars and we certainly wouldn’t have Kaiju without resorting to dudes in rubber monster suits (though this still retains a certain charm and awesomeness to this day).
The book is split into four main chapters: Monsters in the Mist; Doing it for Real; The Crazy Kids in the Submarine (I love this heading); and Simulating the Apocalypse. Each section delves deeper than James Cameron in a mini-sub into various aspects of the making of this film. Pretty much standard for books of this nature, however, Pacific Rim goes further than most, if not all, by filling the book with additional content.
What possible sort of content could they have? I mean, after all, the book is crammed with stills, behind the scenes photographs, concept art, war propaganda posters, reams upon reams of text, pictures of the models for the Kaiju, storyboards, all the things you would expect. Well, get this, within the first few page turns I uncovered replica ID badges for the two lead characters (that is, if you ignore all those lovely Kaiju as lead characters). These carry a 2D barcode, which, when scanned with a smartphone, tablet or phablet, etc., takes you to the Pan Pacific Defence Corps website who are the most elite military force on Earth. Here, you can proceed with an application to join the PPDC – apparently I’m suitable to join J-Tech as a Weapon Specialist inside a Jaeger. Maaaaaaan, why can’t this be real?
However, this review is about the book, not the website, so I shall return to the pure awesomeness of the book, which also includes blueprints for the Jaegers, (fake) handwritten notes on the robots and also on the Kaiju, there’s even a set of stickers for those so inclined to decorating their possessions or clothing. Alternatively, add the stickers to the ID badges and you have yourselves the beginnings of Pacific Rim cosplay…
Perhaps saving the best till last, Titan Books has saw fit to include a little extra something for you. Stuck on the inside of the back cover is an envelope, akin to those military Top Secret ones. What’s inside? Well, I’ll leave that for you to find out.
Although the book is clearly meant for those who have already seen the film and marvelled at it, it doesn’t give too much away in the way of plot, well, no more than an average trailer does. This book is more a keepsake, a memento, of what is sure to be this year’s biggest film.