Guillermo del Toro: ‘Pacific Rim’ Is NOT Japanese Monster Movie Homage; No 3D

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

Many people who’ve been following development on Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim have pointed out the surface similarities to popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Del Toro’s film pits building-sized robots called Jaegers (controlled by two soldiers who must form an intimate melding of minds, to work in unison) against gargantuan monsters known as Kaiju, who invade Earth through an inter-dimensional rift.

The original Pacific Rim script draft penned by Travis Beacham (a co-writer on Clash of the Titans) has been retooled to better fit del Toro’s interests, according to the fan-favorite filmmaker of Blade II, Hellboy, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Furthermore, del Toro announced at Comic-Con that Pacific Rim does not reuse archetypal monsters from mythology, anime, or Japanese monster cinema (Godzilla movies, being the obvious example).

We’ve nonetheless been operating under the assumption that Pacific Rim serves as a direct homage to those old-fashioned monster films, borrowing stylistic elements and rejuvenating tired tropes from the genre (similar to what Quentin Tarantino does). Del Toro informed Hero Complex that’s not the case, saying:

“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.”

Beacham’s intent, of course, remains open for interpretation, as it’s possible the screenwriter’s original artistic vision was that Pacific Rim would be closer to a live-action NGE movie. Del Toro is renowned for crafting some of the more memorably twisted and demented screen creatures in recent film history; with Pacific Rim, he hopes to maintain his originality while paying respect to the Kaiju sub-genre (and not just copying what’s been done before).

Spanish-language site Uruloki spoke recently with del Toro, where the director elaborated on his intention to produce Kaiju that only loosely imitate the traditional designs featured in Japanese pop culture (while also delivering a final film that’s very much its own beast):

“At [the table for 'Pacific Rim'] were very clear ideas-for example, have the appearance of the Kaiju, admitted to some extent the idea of “man in disguise” or “man in suit” that is vital to the genre. Sticking to the “species” of Kaiju classic admitted in genealogy (the Kaiju flying the Krusty, the Bug, The Reptile, etc, etc) and try to get their textures and morphology were rooted in very real hipertexturas animals but combining textures, textures monumental, almost geological. In every movie I try to bring someone new. And in every project I bring a team member who is making his first big movie and his first feature film because it always brings a fresh perspective. What we do ask is that people do not derive ideas from films already made. I ask you to express what is theirs.”

pacific rim guillermo del toro1 Guillermo del Toro: Pacific Rim Is NOT Japanese Monster Movie Homage; No 3D

Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi in 'Pacific Rim'

Del Toro spoke at Comic-Con about some of the tricks he pulled with the camera lens while shooting Pacific Rim, in order to give the CGI-heavy proceedings a more grounded and realistic feel. The filmmaker relied on RED EPIC cameras during production (the same tech Peter Jackson’s using for the Hobbit trilogy), but explained to Collider why he never considered either native or post-converted 3D a viable option:

“Originally there was a discussion that took a long time to overcome that was to make the movie 3D. And I didn’t want to make the movie 3D because when you have things that big… the thing that happens naturally, you’re looking at two buildings lets say at 300 feet [away], if you move there is no parallax. They’re so big that, in 3D, you barely notice anything no matter how fast you move.  “To force the 3D effects for robots and monsters that are supposed to be big you are making their [perspective] miniaturized, making them human scale.”

Taking everything del Toro’s saying into consideration, Pacific Rim should easily feel like one of his films, above all else. That’s very much an encouraging (if not downright exciting) thought, given the quality of del Toro’s previous cinematic output

Pacific Rim opens in U.S. theaters on July 12th, 2013.


Source: LA Times, Uruloki [via JoBlo], Collider

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  1. Just saw it in 3d and it was awesome!

    • Me too! Last night 3D so awesome

  2. Ok, I call bullsh*t. The guy totally stole the story line of evangelion!! It’s a shame. Maybe a good movie for Hollywood, but a disgrace for the real eva fan. (L’idée générale, le rappel de Rei avec les mèches bleu, l’entrée en scène sur les bateaux inspirée totalement et grossièrement de l’arrivée en scène d’Asuka, et j’en passe!)

    • its very similar but i’ve read up that the writers only saw NGE after they had the idea. But they loved NGE as well of course.

    • It has more Gundam/Big O/Mezinkaiser references than the Eva ones. Hell I even caught a GaoGaiGar one.

    • Also It’s not even remotely the same as eva, in eva the “Angels” are just other life forms not evolved to the extent of humans (which is why humans are the 18 (or 17th w/e) angel) They never go into another dimension and the angels didn’t come in waves with 2 of more like in pacific rim. The similarities are stretches to make it seem like a rip off.

      • You’re forgetting the “Drift” which is basically a less messed up version of instrumentality. Also, Angels did come in waves. Especially towards the end, and especially in End of Eva, but that’s beside the point.

        • What the heck are you talking about?
          Seriously, you missed completely the point of Evangelion. waves of angels in EoE? damn, you’re delirious, man.

    • Agreed.

  3. I really loved this film but there were many, many, many Evangelion references here. And I’m saying this as a Japanese-English translater who loves Pacific Rim and hates Evangelion (only watched it due to DVDs constantly playing on family TV).

    The characters are way whinier and more emo in Evangelion, and I positively hate the awkward look of the Evas, but there is so much parallel going on, structure-wise, that I think anyone who has seen both can’t deny that Pacific Rim is basically an Evangelion re-hash, only made suitable for Western audiences and with less teenage angst.

    That said, I’d watch Pacific Rim again in a second. Evas can stick to their cheap fan service.

    • Pacific Rim is a CG masterpiece, but other than that, it is really really crappy.
      Eva has a lot more substance to it. I felt entirely emotionless when the marshall self-exploded.. the build-up was non-existent.

      To be fair, the first hour or so of Pacific Rim was very good.. I wished it could have stayed that way but the fact is that after the first good hour the plot was so weak that it would only satisfy people with a simple mind – like yourself. Nothing wrong with that though.

      • You are completely right! !

  4. I don’t care what the critics say, this is a live action Evangelion, just without all the, as Yuki said, the teenage angst and emo-ness.

  5. And yet, they made it a 3D film anyway.

    • Please note the difference between movie being shown in 3D. And 3D movie.

  6. There is nothing new , compared to the film he COPIES.
    Pacific rim is a piece of crap .
    A piece of crap with not a single original or new idea.
    Everything in this movie come from other movies, just in a cheaper and lamer version. LAmer but costing more ( ??? ) : 180 millions dollars for that ?
    Learn to use a film budget Mr el toro , not only you are a bad movie maker , but you are also unable to properly use the money.
    Japanese would laugh at you, they did better anime with 1% of your budget.
    Epic fail.

    The robots are totally unimpressive and very poorly designed ( and could not look more like “generic no name robot” ) , the monsters just a cheap copy of manga/animé ones, the battles are boring , the characters are even more boring ( so boring and dull it is incredible and it establish a new record ) , and the story…. fits in a 2 sentences text.

    But this movie has a use : It is a retard detector.
    I mean , if one likes that movie , he is a g****** retard.


    • Whine whine whine, when ur a famous director and respected among other famous directors, then u can complain, this is not a knock off of eva, just beacause theres big robots, yall got it so twisted and retarded that ur clouding ur own thoughts in a jealous rage, that u make no sense, del toro is a brilliant director and will continue to be so, so until u start making blockbuster hits, stop knocking somone else that has credibility, but thanks for ur opinion haha

  7. I liked the movie, but saying that it’s a completely new idea it’s a LIE. There are tons of similarities and references with Evangelion and Mobile Suit Gundam series. We all know that the genre called “Mecha” in the Sci-Fi world has it’s history in the novels by writers like Heinlein or Wells, but the concept has been exploded since the 70′s by japanese mangakas and producers… even the Transformers idea came from a japanese and his alliance with the company Hasbro, so, come on… Evangelion, Gundam series and other novels/anime are the roots of this movie in many ways….

  8. So. Kaiju? That is straight out of teh 60′s Godzilla movies.
    Thundercloud attack? Straight out of Power Rangers.
    The Power Sword that killed Rodan? Power Rangers and Godzilla.
    The Hive Mind link giving away the Evil Overlord Plan? Independance Day.
    The nuke through the Portal? Independance Day AND Stargate.
    Use Of Giant Boat as Weapon? Neon Genesis Evangelion
    Pilot moves in large Cockpit, Robot moves the same? G Gundam / Robot Jox.
    Older defeated Pilot teams with Female Ace? Robot Jox
    Rocket Fist? Mazinger Z / Big O (compressed Air)
    Pilots in Head Cockpit? Mazinger Z (/ Transformers Headmasters)
    Two Pilots Harmonise to control Mech? Getter Robo and G Gundam’s Finale.
    Brain-Computer Interface? Neuromancer ( / newtypes in Mobile Suit Gundam )

    I view the PR franchise as a Celebration of the Real Robot Genre, mixed with monster Cinema. The EVA similarities are just that, similarities. There are too many scenes that are clearly inspired by other Shows to say it is one or another and everything is changed stylistically to match Pacific Rim’s World.

    Seems more heavily inspired by Ultraman and a whole host of Mecha Anime. Just be glad this is better than Japans attempts at live action Mecha. Remember G-Saviour? :/

    Screenwriter Quote: (Travis Beacham)
    I did love Evangelion very much, but I actually wrote most of Pacific Rim before I saw it.

    Director Quote:
    I haven’t seen Evangelion. I accept you Patlabor, [as an influence] from anime industry, or, Tetsujin-28, I don’t have any problem saying ‘I love them’, ‘they’re an influence for me’. Regarding Evangelion, I have the DVDs, I haven’t opened them, I haven’t seen it. Yeah, there is anime influence [in Pacific Rim], but not from that anime in particular

    • Hi. Travis Beachams quote is utter and complete BULL. No further commentary is needed.

  9. people always critic something or anything lacks originality and a copy of something. well news flash! if you so original.. think up a new colour for kcuf sake. nothing is new or original anymore!!

    • That’s not the point. The point is, is that the producers came off as people who made something original when it’s not. If you say, “this movie was inspired by this this and this” we’re fine. But if you say, “this movie is completely original with no direct inspiration from anything” then things get different

  10. Its nothing but straight Mecha Anime, even down to the Evangeline 2 pilots needed for the one mech, SOOOO!!!!!!!

  11. It doesn’t have to be evangelion. I never seen much of that show, I thought robot from that series is single pilot.

    On the other hand, Ultraman Ace requires two people to summon so it may very well come from THAT.

  12. i love the movie and i’ll definitely buy it on blu ray when it get release, it stupid when i read thos NGE fanboy/girl complaining about pacific rim being a rip off or being similar are they stupid or did they not bother doing a little research from what i heard the movie was made to honor and tribute to the japanese monster and mecha movie and possibly anime as well and to show all the people in the west what it like, i don’t see the japanese complaining. i guess the people that are complaining are bunch of asian wannabe.

  13. are you kidding me, I thought I was watching neon genesis. To say there is no similarities is a joke!

    • So the Point I’m talking about when a monster dies it comes back just like the tv show. & there are two woulds they have to pass through just like the tv show -_- what a rip off of that show. Kaijudo Clash of the Duel Masters

      They are some how Clones of the same monster in this show/movie Almost the same-_-
      & in that show they could capture them and hold them then control them with some type of device. just like the movie is doing. meh, I think I’m spot on with this but yeah. Also the humans could pass thought the Two worlds in the tv show. meh that’s all I got to say -__-

  14. This is lazy from GDT, I thought better of him. Here’s hoping Peter Jackson and WETA still do it better. Evangelion owned both their asses and ONE of them should do it better justice.

  15. Seriously people, I have watched this twice, anyone who thinks this isn’t Neon Genesis Evangelion is retarded, down to the pilot being pulled of out retirement to “do it one more time”, Guillermo get a new job please, and all you random or valid fanboys, get a grip also

  16. I don’t see how it’s a homage to Evangelion, it feels like a homage to the mecha genre overall. There are plenty of references and puns towards Japan, I found it to be a very cute yet awesome action-flick aimed towards an American audience but with the Japanese heritage in mind… much like he intended I suppose. It was a great piece of entertainment, but comparing it to Evangelion? That’s like… just… wrong, not because the mech/monster element is wrong (because it isn’t) but Evangelion is far less… focused on being an entertaining action series/movie.

  17. I’m a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It was, and still is, one of the best animes out there in terms of character progression, intimacy, complex story structure and detailed animation and story board.
    Having just watched Pacific Rim, I couldn’t help but notice countless parallels with NGE. For those who have seen both, any one of you who denies similarities must be myopic and thick in the head.
    Apart from the obvious, being giant mechanised suits piloted by humans who share a neural bond, that battle against monolithic creatures to prevent the extinction of humanity, there are also many more similarities which can be discussed and witnessed in Pacific Rim. NGE revolves around the ‘impacts’ on Earth, the first being the dinosaurs. In Pacific Rim, one of the scientists (who’s name escapes me) mentions that the race controlling the Kaiju previously tried to take Earth with the dinosaurs. Ironically enough, both story lines to NGE and Pacific Rim begin with a second coming, or ‘second impact’. It’s just all fairly suspicious to me.
    Also, in Pacific Rim the pilots share a neural link with one another, the ‘drift’. Now although, unlike NGE where the pilots share a neural link with their mechas, the characteristics and structure are very similar, not to mention the ‘humanity project’ (correct me if that is not it’s actual name) in NGE also shares similar traits with the ‘drift’. The last real MAJOR similarity I can link with NGE is somewhat of a tangent. But never the less I believe it’s credible. The captain in Pacific Rim adopts a young girl and trains her to be ideal for piloting a mecha. Where in NGE, Erin (the main chatcater), his Dad too, adopts a young girl and trains her to be the ideal pilot for a mecha.

    Now I’m not criticising Pacific Rim, I thought it was an excellent movie, worthy of admiration for it’s CGI brilliance and design, but the parallels with NGE are far too great.

  18. Neon Genesis Evangelion is far superior to Pacific Rim. The only similarity is the mecha.

  19. pacific rim is s*** !!!
    i dont understand how can be good to spend so much money ($190 million) to copy something done better 20 years before and make it so s*** !!

    Guillermo del Toro: ‘Pacific Rim’ Is NOT Japanese Monster Movie Homage; No it is Japanese Monster Movie Bad Copy !

  20. Hardcore anime OTAKU here just saw the movie and its cheap in the meaning taking different from plots from different anime. This movie complete based on anime mecha..

  21. Some people just enumerate the existing differences between NGE and Pacific Rim to explain why its not a plagiarism. Ok. The main problem is that there’s not the differences what makes it rip-off… It’s the similarities (and there are soooo many) I know It’s not an EXACT copy… (I it where, we won’t be here having this discussion) just that, a plagIarism.

    Anyway, NGE will survive over time. Pacific Rim will de fogotten in one or two years on. THAT’S the main difference :D Poetic justice.

    • Great. Another deluded fanboy.

      Del Toro said it himself that he watched Tetsujin 28th, Mazinger Z and Ultraman when he was young. All these series are closer to Pacific Rim than Evangelion.

      In fact, Evangelion is just another ripoff of older mecha anime. The genre is in constant evolution with each new series ripping off the older one. Eva is no different.

      • Most of the comments are missing the original point of the critics. Del Toro said he wanted to make an homage (granted) by bringing a fresh and new story… Does “Pacific Rim” general plot feel new and fresh…? Noooooo! It’s a mishmash of every single mecha-based japanese show from the dawn of manga and anime.

        • Very much this. He’s stated multiple times that it’s a homage to all things mecha. I have a friend who’s absolutely obsessed with mecha anime and particularly EVA–he’s not offended by Pacific Rim; he actually really likes it. We both agreed the storyline could have been more original and fresh, but I think GDT’s point was to introduce the Japanese mecha to American audiences, away from Transformers which is already pretty damned Americanized already.

          For hardcore fanboys, sorry–you can’t have a perfect film bust into the Hollywood scene right away. It’ll be too different for American audiences, which is why it’s a better idea to slowly ease Japanese mecha into the industry. Having known people who’s worked in the entertainment business, it’s crucial that a film can appeal to a wide variety of people and not just a small fanbase. Even for writers, they have to slowly build their fanbase. It’s all part of the industry business.

          I personally still have faith in GDT: he’s the only director so far I’d trust in making a Gundam film, particularly because one of his mecha models is based off of one and also because he’s a very hardcore fan of Japanese mecha in general. You won’t find any other director in Hollywood who’s as big a fan as GDT–at least, I haven’t heard of anyone else.