Release date: July, 2013. While Pacific Rim is an American movie (by Legendary Pictures) and it was distributed by the Warner Bros Pictures, it was also created by a diverse team of filmmakers; most of the movie’s scenes take place in South Asia and while the movie was not a major success in the US, it performed well abroad, especially in China.
In a short introduction in the beginning of the movie it is explained that in 2013 an interdimensional portal opened up under the Pacific Ocean. Through this breach a giant monster, a Kaiju emerged, which destroyed the city of San Francisco and the surrounding areas and killed thousands of people before being hunted down itself. The attacks later continued and several other Kaiju came through the portal, and approached cities all around the breach, in the Americas, Japan, Australia, China, Russia and the Pacific Islands. The arriving monsters were bigger and stronger every time and their appearances were getting more frequent. The most affected nations began to build enormous robotic war machines, called Jaegers. Jaegers were operated by two-two pilots, that were linked together and to the machine with a neural link. The Jaeger program proved to be successful against the Kaiju threat.
The story begins in 2020 in Alaska, when a new monster emerges from the Breach. American Jaeger pilots Raleigh and Yancy Becket seem to be victorious over the Kaiju, but then the monster manages to fight back and kill Yancy. Raleigh destroys the monster and pilots the damaged Jaeger “Gipsy Danger” back to the shore.
Five years later the Jaeger program gets shut down, deemed too expensive and ineffective. Humanity appears to be losing the war and the anti-Kaiju walls fail. Commander Stacker Pentecost finds Raleigh Becket on a construction site in Alaska, and convinces him to join his small army of remaining Jaegers and their crew in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong Shatterdome Raleigh gets introduced to his fellow soldiers, the Russian couple that operates the tank-like “Cherno Alpha”, the Chinese triplets who pilot the three-armed “Crimson Typhoon” and the Australian father and son duo in the strongest and fastest Jaeger “Striker Eureka”. Raleigh also meets a young Jaeger technician, Mako Mori, who shows him the repaired Gipsy Danger.
The crew of the Shatterdome is planning a final battle, in which the remaining Jaegers would deliver a nuclear bomb and destroy the interdimensional portal. Scientist dr. Geiszler manages to gain access to a Kaiju brain and discovers that the giant monsters are only the weapons of an invading species, the Precursors. Meanwhile Raleigh Becket is yet to find a matching co-pilot, he recognizes Mako’s desire to become a Jaeger pilot. During their first test Mako gets overwhelmed by her traumatizing memories and Raleigh learns that Mako lost her family during a Kaiju attack against Tokyo. He also finds out that commander Pentecost piloted the Jaeger that saved Mako’s life and that Pentecost raised her after the Tokyo incident.
Soon after two Kaiju come through the portal and approach Hong Kong. In the following battle Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon are destroyed, and Striker Eureka becomes inoperable, leaving the city at the mercy of the giant monsters. Commander Pentecost reluctantly allows Raleigh and Mako to board Gipsy Danger. The action turns out to be a great success; Gipsy Danger defeats the two Kaiju, saves the city and Striker Eureka.
For the final mission it is Raleigh and Mako that board Gipsy Danger, along with Striker Eureka, where commander Pentecost replacing the wounded Australian pilot and teams up with the younger Hansen. Their plan fails when Striker Eureka gets damaged in the underwater confrontation with three monstrous Kaiju. The pilots of the Australian Jaeger decide to sacrifice themselves in order to clear a path for Gipsy Danger. After the nuclear explosion that destroys Striker Eureka and two of the Kaiju, Raleigh and Mako take the dying third monster into the portal.
Raleigh is forced to eject Mako from the damaged Jaeger; she is thrown out in an escape pod and reaches the surface safely. Raleigh overloads the nuclear core of the war machine: before entering an escape pod he sees the dying world of the Precursors. After his pod is ejected, Gipsy Danger explodes and the explosion kills many Precursors and Kaiju and also closes the interdimensional breach. Raleigh’s pod surfaces and the movie ends with Mako and Raleigh embracing each other, as the recovery crew arrives for them.
Pacific Rim was directed by Mexican film maker Guillermo del Toro, based on Travis Beacham’s screenplay. Mako Mori was played by Rinko Kikuchi of Japan and three English actors, Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket), Idris Elba (commander Pentecost) and Robert Kazinsky (Chuck Hansen) were casted in the other leading roles. The movie’s soundtrack was composed by Ramin Djawadi.
Following the tradition of the Japanese Godzilla and mecha movies, Guillermo del Toro tells a story of friendship, sacrifice, loneliness and honor. Besides the detailed and entertaining action sequences, the movie largely focuses on human relationships, such as Raleigh Becket’s initial distrust and later deep loyalty toward Mako, the tension between the Hansens and Mako’s inner fight (Mako respects Pentecost’s wishes and is willing to put away her own desires to fight). The Kaiju and the Jaegers were designed one by one, to give each one of them character and detail, to make them active and distinct parts of the film, just as the humans were.
Supporting media: the movie’s novelization was written by Alex Irvine, and there was an art book titled Man, Machines and Monsters, by David S. Cohen. A comic book Tales from Year Zero, written by Travis Beacham is the official prequel of the movie. NECA released the Pacific Rim action figures, such as Striker Eureka, Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha and Coyote Tango – and Kaiju Knifehead, Scunner, Trespasser and Leatherback.
Pacific Rim was a box office success and received positive reviews from the critics. The sequel is scheduled to be released in 2017.
Fan contribution: the movie has a large and very creative fanbase. There are dozens of cosplayers at every conventions that recreate the character of dr. Geiszler, dr. Gottlieb, Tendo Choi, Mako Mori, Raleigh Becket and there are awesome Jaeger cosplays as well. Fan comics and other art are available on the internet, along with thousands of fanfictions. I would like to mention tumblr user Gataro’s Pawcific Rim universe, which features dogs as the notable characters of the movie, with great amount of love and understanding towards the world of Pacific Rim.