Blade II, Hellboy I & II and Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro's upcoming Pacific Rim is a geek fantasy project come true, but the final stretch of marketing and hype-building will help determine if the blockbuster can appeal outside its main demographic (including, del Toro's loyal cult following). The film pays respect to the Kaiju ("giant monster") and Humongous Mecha ("giant robot") sub-genres, in a story about humanity staging a final stand against enormous creatures - who enter our world through an inter-dimensional portal located deep beneath the Pacific Ocean - by constructing huge human-piloted robots (called Jaegers) to fight them.
The cast is headed by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) playing Raleigh Becket and Rinko Kikuchi (The Brothers Bloom) as Mako Mori - a pair of Jaeger pilots - from opposite sides of the pond - who must (literally) expose their souls to one another, in order to help win the battle against extraterrestrial invaders that are as large as the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, Idris Elba (Luther) costars as the military leader, Stacker Pentecost, and Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) plays Dr. Newton Geiszler, a scientist who seeks to better understand the Kaiju (in the hope of stopping them).
Several new Pacific Rim images and behind-the-scenes photos - which include del Toro and his Oscar-winning director of photography Guillermo Navarro - are now available for you to peruse online. Check them out below (for additional concept art, head on over to Variety):
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These rain-soaked screenshots recall what del Toro has said in the past (like at the 2012 New York Comic-Con), about how Pacific Rim was designed to look and feel like a romanticized sci-fi adventure/epic - along the lines of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - with its gruff and eroded texture. The East-meets-West subtext of the film's narrative is further reflected in the film's "gothic tech," which includes the western-style sound effects for the Jaeger's movement and when the human pilots suit up (del Toro previously likened it to "the sound of spurs like a cowboy").
Pacific Rim, for all intents and purposes, looks to reward del Toro's fanbase for their patience, after five years of waiting for another film that he directed (the last one being Hellboy II: The Golden Army). But whether this blockbuster will become the next Dredd - a cult success that leaves fans begging for a sequel (a Pacific Rim followup is already in development) despite the original installment having under-performed financially - or the Dark Horse Winner of the Summer 2013 box office derby (or, more likely, something in between those two scenarios), remains to be seen.
Pacific Rim is directed by Guillermo del Toro, based on the script that he co-wrote alongside the original screenwriter, Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans).
It opens in regular and select 3D/IMAX theaters on July 12th, 2013.