Scott Weinberg had plenty of good things to say about Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim in his cinematic review, so there’s little need for me to discuss further. Needless to say, as a fan of del Toro, cheesy 1970’s anime, and the practical imaginativeness of the kaiju genre, I adored Pacific Rim. It was its own beast, but there were enough familiar features to its biology to make a genre fan smile. The sight of a giant robot’s head sliding onto its shoulders called to mind Go Nagai’s Mazinger, and despite claims to the contrary, one of the movies referentially-named Kaiju bore more than a passing resemblance to Gamera baddie Guiron.
All of these genre trappings, tied up in a deliciously non-cynical wrapper, manage to somehow be greater than the sum of the disparate parts. It manages to mix the aforementioned kaiju genre with a hard bitten war movie, with just enough humor and a tiny dash of sweet, innocent romance to make it a movie that appealed to both the wide-eyed child inside as well as the more grizzled adult I am on the outside.
The Blu Ray release is full of special features outlining the production, a total of 14 featurettes that spill from the main feature disc onto a second disc, outlining virtually every facet of the movie’s audiovisual design. There are some impressive revelations on the production, from the surprising amount of actual sets built (the seedy underbelly of Hong Kong and the sprawling Shatterdome were a blend of real locations and green screen) to the mechanical ingenuity that went into the design of the movie’s towering Jaegers (they were designed as fully functional machines, even though those parts were invisible to moviegoers). All of these are fleshed out with a certain degree of professional gushing on the part of cast and crew, as well as the innocent enthusiasm of del Toro himself. His excitement and nerdiness is positively infectious, as he rattles off inspirations and ideas, sounding equal parts the hard-working professional as well as a breathless fanboy. Pacific Rim is the absolute definition of a passion project, and that passion is on display in full, both in the fantastic movie as well as its behind-the-scenes materials.