“Pacific Rim,” the new film from director Guillermo del Toro, offers moviegoers plenty of crowd-pleasing spectacle with its visually stunning sequences of giant Jaegers battling alien kaiju in a near-future world.
In an appearance last week at an advance screening of “Pacific Rim” at the Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26 & IMAX in Long Beach, part of the Hero Complex Screening Series, the filmmaker discussed his approach to designing the wild creations in the movie, which features an ensemble cast that includes Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Ron Perlman, among others.
“Any time I want to design a monster, the last thing I want to reference is a monster,” Del Toro said, explaining that the creature designs grew out of the classic “man in a suit” tradition. “If I was making this movie in 1968, you could still make this movie.”
As for the Jaegers, the massive robots piloted by two humans, he said that each fighter was intended to represent its country of origin in some significant way. America’s Gipsy Danger, for example, was inspired by Art Deco buildings and iconic movie cowboy John Wayne.
“I wanted Gipsy to move like a gunslinger, have the hip sway, completely American,” Del Toro said. “The Russian Jaeger was meant to be a walking nuclear reactor…. The Australian Jaeger was like a Land Rover, very masculine, very testosterone driven.”
The conversation took a deeper, more philosophical turn as well, with Del Toro articulating how “Pacific Rim,” like his earlier work, presents his world view. “Every movie is political, every single movie,” he said.
“I try to celebrate diversity … it’s not singing ‘Kumbaya,’ it’s just saying that we all need each other to survive, which is a message that’s on ‘Hellboy’ or ‘Devil’s Backbone’ in equal measure. We need to trust each other because metaphorically we’re all in the same robot. If we don’t trust each other, we don’t move.”
– Gina McIntyre | @LATherocomplex
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