“There is something very pure and very full of love [nb : for the creatures], in monster movies. Even more so in Kaiju movies”
And, oh, does he love his creatures !
In a decade overall populated by rather dull monsters (yes, you read that correctly. I will show it maybe in a future article) -to the greatest despair of monster-lovers like myself- Del Toro’s really did stood out for their originality and personality.
Of course the fauna of El laberinto del fauno jumps immediately to the mind. But even back in Mimic could you feel that he didn’t shaped his monsters to just fill the need of something non-human for the good guy to shoot at, run away from and destroy in a gigantic explosion in the end.
Ok, that’s exactly what happens in Mimic but .. still !
Pacific Rim is no exception and his Kaiju are very neat.
-By the way. Small moment of pedantry : “Kaiju” doesn’t mean “giant monster”. As the actress Rinko Kikuchi explain it in the interview above, it means “monster” (“strange beast”). The word for “giant monster” is “Daikaiju”.
And while we are at it, “Jaeger” doesn’t means “hunter” in German either. My personal theory is that it’s a hidden reference to “Jet Jaguar” (“Jetto Jagā” in Japanese), a giant robot hero from Godzilla vs Megalon.-
First, they are quite diverse. As some of the protagonist points it, no two Kaiju are alike. Crab kaiju, shark kaiju, lizard kaiju, strange knife-headed kaiju … A real effort was put in there, even for creatures that only appears on screen for a split seconds.
And then, they are original in their own right; very well animated; somehow believable (no spoiling, but later in the movie we get a glimpse of WHERE actually they came from; and Del Toro managed to create for them a coherent background. A feat which no previous Daikaiju film ever managed to make quite right -save maybe for The Host).
Only sliiiight disappointment : not much play around the colours. I guess they wanted to keep a constant colour scheme in order to give them coherence despite the diversity of shapes, but doing this they cut for themselves a great deal of creative possibilities and it was not really needed.
I mean : they are giants and they are monsters. That’s all the unity we needed. What could we have mistook them with ?
Last note about this movie. A handful of years ago I heard about the adaptation on the big screen of a board game called Monsterpocalypse which featured giant monsters (some of them somehow familiar …) fighting other giant monsters and robots. Never heard of the project since, but I suspect it may be among the hidden inspiration behind Pacific Rim. Seeing the board game isn’t credited, it’s entirely possible they decided to run(away) with the idea cutting the “middle man”. It would certainly not be a first for Hollywood who hate intellectual property thief only as long as they are not the robbers.