‘Pacific Rim’ Images and Early Reactions; del Toro Talks Western Influence

1 year ago by  

Guillermo del Toro is considered a God by certain members of the geek population, after his supernatural horror comic book adaptations (Blade II, the Hellboy movies) and grim(m) Spanish-language fairy tales (The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth). He’s renewing fanboy/girl cred this year, beginning with his first directing project in five years: the East-meets-West monsters and giant robots extravaganza Pacific Rim.

The filmmaker, author (see: The Strain) and creature-horror aficionado recovered quickly after At the Mountains of Madness collapsed back in 2011, shifting his attention over to the Japanese monster genre throwback – del Toro insists it’s not a Quentin Tarantino-inspired pastiche with “greatest hits of everything” – developing from screenwriter Travis Beacham (Dog Days of Summer, Clash of the Titans (2010)).

Time-jump eight months and shooting had begun, followed by the teaser trailer premiering at last year’s International Comic-Con; then, in December, the preview began making the rounds in theaters. Editing and visual effects processing is half-way finished (including, an extensive 10-month 3D post-conversion), but early test screenings took place over the Super Bowl XLVII weekend.

Those in attendance were not permitted to go into intimate detail about what they saw, but early reactions are overwhelmingly positive and optimistic about the final product. True, that’s a common outcome for these sort of events, but that trend partially stems from studios’ tendencies to keep poor test audience responses low on the radar (see: G.I. Joe: Retaliation screenings feedback, prior to reshoots and a 3D post-treatment).

Here is one such reaction from writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper):

Similar variations on that theme have leaked online (see: “Avengers Alliance” and “Dardevil: Noir” comic book writer Alex Irvine’s Twitter posting), with an IMDb user insisting the picture is “not another Transformers clone” as some complained after viewing the trailer footage (read the remainder of the SPOILER-FREE analysis over at CBM).

Indeed, the Pacific Rim core audience’s lukewarm reception – as we have noted by surveying our readership’s commentary on the trailers - raises questions about the film’s prospects. After all, if movie geeks and fans of Japanese Gundam pop culture aren’t interested, how will general audiences respond?

Check out new images from Pacific Rim (via USA Today):

For his part, del Toro is going all out courting the interest of those knowledgeable in the ways of robotics science-fiction and monster lore (see: modeling the vocals of A.I. controlling the 25-story robots or ‘Jaegers’ after GlaDOS from the Portal video games). The director is also integrating Western influences and references into the mix; though they may only be noticeable on a subconscious level for most people (via USA Today):

Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and other Jaeger pilots are deemed “riders,” and when they move in the suits to put their machines in motion, “we made it a point to put the sound of spurs like a cowboy,” del Toro says.

The Jaeger station is “basically the Alamo,” del Toro says, and there are rangers and marshals within it — most notably Marshal Stacker Pentecost, a spiritual, moral leader played by Idris Elba. “He’s not playing second banana. He’s at the center of the conflict. He’s the only guy who cannot give up.”

Combine that with futuristic technology that allows for Jaeger pilots to meld their consciousnesses – resulting in a most unusual love story, between Becket and his partner Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) – and Pacific Rim leaves me anticipating one of the more intriguing popcorn blockbusters in recent memory. How about you?

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

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Source: Rian Johnson, Comic Book Movie, USA Today

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35 Comments

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  1. No one ever mentiones Mimic when listing del Toro’s movies. :(

    Pacific Rim will be great, and that’s that! ;)

    • Del Toro almost never mentions Mimic either, except to express his disappointment in it.

      • I think that was his first hollywood movie and he found it a troublesome film to make. Probably due to interference from Producers, studio bosses and Backers.

        • Well, regardless of any trouble behind the scenes I really like that movie.

    • The Lost Winchester has spoken!

      Those who shall dare challenge him!

      Beware the Cows.

      • Those who dare challenge me shall perish! Cows are vicious predators and are especially lethal when they team up with twisters.

  2. GO GO POWER RANGERS !!!!1111

    • Its more like Neon Genesis Evangelion

      • Pacific Rim is what it is. A Throwback to 60s Monsters vs Giant Robots.

  3. btw the strain vampire series is total crap. It starts out somewhat interesting along the lines of contagion style vampirism but then falls into the cliched zombie/vampire epidemic that everyone is oblivious too.

    • You mean oblivious, TO?

      I think YOU may be oblivious, because you have obviously confused Twilight with The Strain .

      The Strain is actually one of the most well written, inventive and almost entirely original “vampire” stories to come around in recent memory.

      Just because it’s above your comprehension level doesn’t mean it’s “total crap”.

  4. Im really not sure what to make of this, i dont know too much about this movie. I mean, i’ve watched tons of the old Godzilla films; but i really dont know what this film is. I saw the trailer when i went to see the Hobbit, but i was to focused on the main film to pay enough attention to make a judgement.

  5. Great Movie for Geeks,the rest will avoid it :(
    Looking forward to it !

    • Since six of the Top 10 all time highest grossing movies are movies for geeks (Avatar, The Avengers, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The Dark Knight Rises) I think we’ll be fine, even without the “rest”. ;)

      • I don’t think you can classify Avatar, Harry Potter or Transformers as ‘geek’ only films.

        There was no Avatar comic prior to the movie; it was a huge success due to the stunning filmography and futuristic landscapes. When you see a movie about a different planet, that’s exactly what you want to see. (can’t wait for part 2, with Pandaran oceans!) Story-line sucked, but the acting was pretty good (mostly due to Sam Worthington.)

        Harry Potter was a success due to the 8 zillion kids who grew up reading the novels and seeing the previous movies.

        And Transformers…well, what 8-year old kid didn’t have a transformer growing up or watch the cartoon?? Who didn’t wish their car could turn into an awesome kick-ass robot who could take vengence on that A-hole that cut you off in the fast lane? (okay…maybe this one ‘could’ be a geek movie)

        • Actually, most people went to see Avatar because of the “OMG, WE HAVE 3D MOVIES NOW!!” aspect, completely ignoring that we’ve had the medium for 50 years.

          • Not to the degree in which is was presented other Cameron wouldn’t and couldn’t have spent so much of it.

        • Avatar to me, the film visuals were stunning, story however was tried and done before.

      • They should have given James Cameron an executive producer role just so they could put his name at the beginnings of the trailers and on top of the posters. Del Toro does it all the time with small spanish films from protege that he likes. (^-^)

        That’s the only reason I can think of for “Avatar” doing so well apart from the 3D. It’s not like “Avatar” has got an expanded universe, comics or toy line that exists or is terribly interesting or popular. It seems to have begun and ended with the movie – more or less.

        • It did begin with the movie, but it’s not ending there; we’ve got two sequels incoming.

          • Yeah, I know. But it just strikes me as odd that the biggest selling movie of all time is a high concept Sci-Fi movie and it hasn’t really got any foothold in popular culture. I know there are action figures, but I really don’t think they set the toy/collecting world alight. I haven’t seen many kids running around with “Avatar” toys, bags or lunchboxes.

            You’d think with ONE movie that is more successful than “Star Wars”, it would be emulating what “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, “The Avengers” etc… in terms of movie related products and expanded universe. Rather than just dissappearing once everyone has bought the Blu-Ray. Even Alien and Tron seem to be ahead.

      • @The Lost Winchester.

        You forgot The Notebook!

        Wait! Nevermind.

  6. When will we get to see Charlie Day? I want to know what his role in the movie is!

  7. I thought it was really funny that in the sentence following the twitter post ‘pee your pants’ was the phrase ‘leaked online’! lol

  8. Can’t wait to see it :)

  9. Del toro can do no wrong!

  10. Can you spell “Robot Jox”? ( Obviously, they couldn’t! )

  11. I don’t think Del Toro is letting us down but again marketing hasn’t really caught on. Without any star power they need to build a story around love or the jocks. The special effects look awesome and I will be in theaters but I was also there all alone for “Superman Returns” also.

  12. When will we get to see Charlie Day? I want to know what his role in the movie is!

  13. I have a sneaking suspicion this movie maybe nothing more than mediocre in box office sales unless it brings something VERY unique to the table. It better have plenty of WOW factor and not just big monsters. I personally hope it does very well, but there has to come a day when the public get tired of this sort of thing.

  14. I really hope it isnt corny.

    • I don’t mind it being corny. I just don’t want it to end up being an empty movie with fantastic visuals that you’ll forget as soon as you leave the cinema. This is usually never a problem with Del Toro films, but the concept has me a little worried about it. Ther’s nothing worse than seeing a movie with zero lasting impression when you can see damn well that extremelt talented people have created fantastic sets, costumes, vehicles, creatures, sound, music etc…

      If the script and story don’t draw you in, then it is all for nought.

      • *There’s* *Extremely* :(

  15. This movie will do well if it gets good word of mouth from viewers.

  16. This will be one awesome movie!!!

    But first, I’d like to comment on what some people have been asking throughout the blogosphere about this movie.

    1. Why use Mech Robots instead of conventional weapons or nukes?

    First of all, as del Toro commented earlier in an interview, these kaijus are not VECTOR-driven entities. They are not predictable to time/distance/direction calculations imbedded in the algorithms of today’s modern weapons. As del Toro stated, they can side-step and move around all over the place, and the more you hit them, the more you piss off the kaijus. Second, it would take too many bombs to attack these creatures, and using too many nukes would only endanger our own environment since kaijus tend to attack human settlements. Who knows also what effect they would have on creatures that are silicon-based instead of carbon. As del Torro mentions, the need for a grapple-like weapon within the same scale of these creatures was needed. Excellent point!

    2. Why have TWO pilots operate a jaeger when one is good enough?

    del Toro stated that it would be too taxing for one pilot to operate a 25-story mechanized robot. Makes sense! Today, why do we have two pilots fly a 747 airliner? Actually, an airliner is much easier to fly and one pilot can easily handle the workload provided a good automated system. Who can say that for a jaeger? These robots seem much more complex, are autonomous control systems (not some guy w/ a joystick in Nevada), and must engage in combat operations requiring strong situational awareness. That seems much more complex than flying an airliner point-to-point. Hence, neural-bridge connections for mission requirements!

    Looking forward to a summer blockbuster hit!

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