Director: Guillermo del Toro
Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Pacific Rim is a 2013 American science fiction film directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by del Toro and Travis Beacham, and starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, and Ron Perlman.
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.
- The computer is voiced by Ellen McLain who also voiced GLaDOS, the AI from Portal, and Portal 2. This is in fact a cameo by GLaDOS, as Guillermo del Toro was such a fan of the games that he approached the game’s developers, Valve, who approved. Del Toro said in an interview for the Toronto Sun: “” I wanted very much to have her because I’m a big Portal fan. But just as a wink. She’s not cake-obsessed. She’s not out to destroy humanity.” He further explained: “Look, there’s no A.I. I’d rather have than GlaDOS, but McLain’s voice in the movie, due in theaters July 12, has been modulated a bit to be less similar to the distinctive tone of Portal’s unforgettable antagonist. The filter we’re using is slightly less GLaDOS. Slightly. The one in the trailer I wanted to be full-on GlaDOS.”
- Travis Beacham, the screenwriter, got the idea for the movie while walking along the California coastline on a foggy morning. The shape of the pier looked like a creature rising from the water, and he imagined a large robot waiting on the shore to battle it.
- A life-sized version of the robot cockpit was built on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios in Toronto. It weighed about 20 tons and stood nearly four stories high. It was built on a gigantic hydraulic gimbal, which would move, shake, vibrate, drop, and rock the entire set as if it were actually being piloted. A smaller version was also built with a smaller gimbal, allowing for different movements. The VFX team used some of the Conn-pod footage for reference while animating the robots. The set was also redressed to depict the interior of each robot differently.
- In the weeks before the film’s release, several popular YouTube channels collaborated with the filmmakers to produce a short video titled “Pacific Rim: Training Day.” The short even features a brief cameo by Guillermo del Toro. The collaborating channels included Jesse Cox, Press Heart to Continue, Total Biscuit, Husky Starcraft, Game Grumps, Crabcat Industries, and The Game Station.
- This was both director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro’s first experience shooting with digital cameras. Navarro bought seven Red Epic cameras specifically for the film and used his own lenses, as he prefers shooting with his own camera equipment over renting it.
- Tom Cruise was considered for a role, but in the end, Idris Elba was cast.
- The first Guillermo del Toro film to feature Ron Perlman as a human character since Cronos. Guillermo del Toro’s other films with Ron Perlman feature him as a non-human character.
- Guillermo del Toro was inspired by the anime and tokusatsu (special-effects TV series and films) of his youth. He specifically cites Tetsujin nijûhachi-go as a major influence. Despite this, he wanted to avoid referencing other works of fiction in the design of the robots and monsters.
- “Jaeger” is the German word for hunter.
- “Kaiju” is a Japanese word that literally translates to ‘strange beast.’ It is usually used to refer to giant monsters from Japanese science fiction films, such as Godzilla.
- Gipsy Danger is painted and detailed to resemble a World War II fighter plane. There is nose art on its chest.
- Guillermo del Toro drew inspiration from paintings, including Francisco Goya’s “The Colossus” and Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”
- Sent to movie theaters under the name “Still Seas”.
- Pacific Rim’s Jaegers are a staple of Japanese anime, where they are often referred to as mecha. Similar to many mecha anime series, Jaegers are controlled from within by human pilots, distinguishing them from other depictions of robots as automated, sentient, or externally controlled.
- A prominent street sign in Hong Kong identifies the intersection of “Tull Street” and “Fong Street”. Thomas Tull is the president of Legendary Pictures (which financed the film), and Henry Fong is one of the film’s concept artists.
- The small badge on Stacker Pentecost’s dress uniform is the U.S. Army’s Air Assault Badge.
- In March 2013, the YouTube channel “Dumb Drum” created a “sweded” version of Pacific Rim’s trailer. Less than two weeks later, Guillermo del Toro commented on the video at WonderCon 2013, calling it a “masterpiece” and saying that it inspired him to create the second trailer for the film. He also invited the filmmakers to the Hollywood premiere.
- Visual effects supervisor John Knoll and Guillermo del Toro spent several weeks discussing the physics of the giant characters and went into very specific detail. Such as how the air displacement from a Jaeger moving between skyscrapers would shake the building’s windows.
- Though the giant monsters were always intended to be computer-generated, all of their designs were expanded from the notion that they could be “worn as suits,” like in traditional kaiju films.
- During the scene in the alleyway with the little girl, every object on the set was rigged to the same hydraulic system. Whenever the giant monster was to take a step, everything bounced or shook in unison, including the puddles.
- The Kaiju’s voices are comprised of layer upon layer of animal roars and growls which were filtered sped up and slowed down to create the roar of alien behemoths. Then, to add emotion and a sense of intelligence, supervising sound editor Scott Martin Gershin and director Guillermo del Toro added samples of their own voices.
- During the Hong Kong rampage, Gipsy Danger walks past a building with a lighted sign that says PLATINUM DUNE. Platinum Dunes is the name of a production company founded by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller.
- Neil Cross, ‘Patrick Melton’, and Marcus Dunstan did some uncredited rewrites of the screenplay.
- Screenwriter Travis Beacham also wrote the graphic novel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero. Released along with the movie, Tales from Year Zero serves as a prologue to the film and is set twelve years before its events.
- When asked why the pilots yell out to one another despite being telepathically linked, Travis Beacham said that doing so helps them stay focused.
- Approximately a hundred Kaijus and a hundred Jaegers were designed, but only a fraction of these appear in the film. Every week the filmmakers held a vote for their favorites.
- Otachi’s tail was originally a feature of a completely different kaiju, dubbed ‘Meathead’, which was cut from the film.
- Karloff, one of the kaiju from the opening sequence, is named after Boris Karloff.
- Gipsy Danger is named after the “de Havilland Gipsy” aircraft engine. This was intended as a nostalgic nod to the World War II era, which was a major influence in the design of the robot.