An increasing number of filmmakers are starting to utilize digital effects as primarily a complimentary tool, while relying more on actual constructed set pieces for their blockbuster productions. We've seen evidence of that recently, in the forms of the Helicarrier interiors from The Avengers, the Ampule Room created for Prometheus - and the multiple stage-spanning sets built for Guillermo del Toro's throwback to Kaiju cinema (re: Japanese giant monster movies), Pacific Rim.
Certain sections of Toronto have been transformed into a Japanese metropolis for del Toro's film, as evidenced by a new video and amateur photos taken on location in the Canadian city. The director and his production team look to be putting Warner Bros.' $150 million budget to good use, in order to craft what del Toro has previously described as a "beautiful poem to giant monsters."
Check out CBC News' video report on the Toronto shoot for Pacific Rim (sidenote: the film is referred to as Silent Seas here - possibly because that's the fake working title):
As referenced briefly in the news clip, Toronto stands to benefit financially from having expensive Hollywood productions like Pacific Rim and the upcoming Total Recall shot on location in the area. With regards to the benefits for us cinema geeks: this means more movies where the cityscape surroundings have an organic and live-in texture, as opposed to settings that have that recognizable (and distracting) digital polish to them - a la the Star Wars prequels, to name an
easy target obvious example.
For a better look at the post-monster attack "Japanese city' featured in Pacific Rim, check out these set photos:
Pacific Rim is somewhat of a gamble for Warner Bros. in the sense that both del Toro and the film's cast of fan-favorite stars (Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, etc.) have strong cult followings which are burgeoning on mainstream - but none of them are quite so bankable on their own as to guarantee that studio heads are going to make back their hefty investment.
Then again, Pacific Rim already has an effective, built-in marketing logline, in that it is a blockbuster about 25-foot-tall manned robots battling building-sized creatures from another dimension, as crafted by the "visionary" behind Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy movies. Suffice it to say, that alone should help to grab the attention of the general moviegoing public.
Pacific Rim hits theaters around the U.S. on July 12th, 2013.