Pacific Rim Writer and Director Talk With Us About the Film's Humanity

Pacific Rim Review

Now that Pacific Rim is in theaters and taking the box office by storm, it seemed a good time to look back on some of the things that director Guillermo del Toro and screenwriter Travis Beacham told during an interview during New York Comic Con, when the pair were assembled by Legendary Comics to promote Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero, which had at the time just been announced. Back then, of course, fans knew very little about Pacific Rim, but the world-building that del Toro and Beacham had put into it was pretty clear even just from hearing them talk about the film. What was just as clear was the fact that they hoped to deal mostly with the human element, avoiding the trap of becoming another Transformers-style movie.

0commentsDirector Guillermo del Toro

"As far as my temptation goes I think Guillermo agrees, was to keep the kaiju and their purposes very mysterious because part of what's so terrifying about it si that if a monster comes out of the ocean and starts tearing up the city, you're not the President, you're not important, you're just you and you're probably not going to get an explanation," Beacham said. "When the second one comes, how do we know what it's going to do? We talked a lot of the human drama because there's something profound about the uncertainty. Even when you feel like they're winning--but they keep coming and you don't know how many they are--what does winning really mean?" "Literally, one of the chracters is eight years old when they see the kaiju for the first time," del Toro added, saying that each character approaches the world and its challenges differently. "The result is that character wants to face that kaiju and destroy it. Another one is full of hope in the beginning and is gung-ho, super-charged pilot and then through loss he gets brought back to earth." The director added that there's a sense of almost survival horror to this film that doesn't always exist in monster movies. "Essentially, the other thing is that the kaiju have created a perfect trap because they are not carbon-based organisms; they are silicon-based organisms," said del Toro. "So it takes a while to figure out something that is not carbon-based. How does it work--which are the organs, which are the heart? It's like opening an earthworm if you're a layman. It's like, "Is that the spleen or the brain?" And the second thing that that kaiju do is they decompose and they release an agent called kaiju blue that completely destroys the cities--makes the air impossible to breathe--and the blood is completely acidic. So they figure out that the basic fluid of a kaiju is ammonia-based so how do you neutralize it? But it takes a while because first of all it melts the pavement, melts the structures around it, makes a noxious gas. By the time they get rid of the kaiju in the first few attacks, they can't even get samples or corpses or pieces to analyze; the kaiju are essentially triggered to self-destruct if they fall so it's a very smart weapon." That line, about the monsters being silicon-based, is reportedly something that will play heavily into future sequels.