With July 12th drawing closer, Legendary Pictures has just two weeks to push their advertising campaign for Pacific Rim into fifth gear and start really raising awareness for the film outside of its core audience. That’s a small amount of time to get mainstream viewers invested, but the bigger marketing hurdle that Guillermo Del Toro’s giant robots vs. giant monsters opus must overcome may be the lack of emphasis placed on the film’s human element in its TV spots and trailers - which focus more on jaegers (the robots) and kaiju (the monsters) than on the characters caught in the middle of (or participating in) the war to save the planet.
Fortunately, a few recent television spots have gamely attempted to bring that element to the forefront, and today, WB released a brand new featurette that revolves entirely around Pacific Rim‘s cast of jaeger pilots and scientists.
This latest clip, which you can view above, joins a pair of other similar features that focus on the idea-based and spectacle-oriented sides of Del Toro’s world; the first focuses on the ‘drift space’ concept, in which the men and women operating the mechs establish a mental link to fight against the monsters as one, while the second talks about jaeger design. It’s impressive that despite the clear anime influences, Del Toro and his team dedicated themselves to making creations that don’t draw immediate references to previously existing titles.
But where those two features look closely at the tech that drive Pacific Rim, this one instead showcases the essential humanity that should serve as the film’s backbone. While there’s sure to be a great deal of robot-on-monster action (every single trailer handily confirms that) it’s the human experience that’s going to elevate Pacific Rim above other summer fare and, hopefully, turn the film into a major box office victory for Del Toro. Del Toro has enjoyed minor commercial success before, back in 2006 when Pan’s Labyrinth wound up becoming an arthouse darling, but Pacific Rim exists on another scale entirely, and if he’s going to avail himself in the eyes of the studio, it’s going to be on the backs of great action and great characters.
So this clip is a necessary bit of promo material. Here, we learn a little bit more about what motivates these people to fight beyond the basic need to survive; they have something to prove, someone to avenge, and people whose lives are in their hands. Del Toro himself describes Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) as the film’s “moral center” and the moments given to his character definitely hint at a man who shoulders sole responsibility for the lives lost in the kaiju conflict. Meanwhile, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) both have losses they want to overcome; the former wants vengeance for the death of her family, while the latter has a personal tragedy to reconcile and a reputation to restore. On the other hand, Dr. Newton Geizler (Charlie Day) just wants to shake his image as a science nerd.
In other words, their interests here are varied, and more than eye-popping effects and action set pieces, that’s what will make Pacific Rim into a movie that’s really worth watching.
Pacific Rim hits theaters on July 12th, 2013.