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24 Behind-the-Scenes Facts from the Original 'Pacific Rim'

Updated June 20, 2020 54.2k views24 items

Pacific Rim is every 12-year-old's dream... giant scary monsters versus huge robots? C'mon! With a $200 million budget, the sci-fi film's creators made a robot battle look as totally insane than the most imaginative pre-teen's fantasy. When it comes to furious action and intense fight scenes, the movie delivered. 

The CGI effects plus the endless charm of actor Charlie Day made Pacific Rim the fun romp it was advertised to be. American audiences liked it and foreign audiences loved it. It turned quite a sizable profit with all those foreign sales. Overall, the film grossed a little over $100 million in the US and a little over $300 million abroad, totaling $400 million dollars-plus. It also spawned great Pacific Rim fan theories. And, of course, it led the way for the 2018 sequel, starring John Boyega and Scott Eastwood: Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Before we start dreaming about what future madness the Kaiju and the Jaegers may be bringing in the form of anime to Netflix sometime in 2020, let's take a look at all the work that went into the original 2013 film, directed by the legendary Guillermo del Toro, known for “Mimic,” “Hellboy,” and the Spanish-language film “Pan’s Labyrinth." There are many cool little intricacies you may have missed while things were being punched and slammed.

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  • One Robot's Name Proved Controversial

    In Hungary, the trailers for the movie could not mention the name of the main mech suit, Gipsy Danger. The name was seen as offensive against the Roma, who are divided between the Romungros or Gypsies and form a large ethnic group in the country. In the dub of the movie itself, the name is spoken out freely, but it's left in English. The name is a reference to the "de Havilland Gipsy" aircraft engine, not the people in question. This was a nostalgic nod to the World War II era, a major influence in the design of the robot. Other Jaeger names included Striker Eureka, Crimson Typhoon, and Cherno Alpha.

  • Del Toro Wanted the Movie's Message to Be a Life Lesson

    Director Guillermo del Toro created the movie as his homage to the Kaiju movies he watched as a kid in the theaters of his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. But the message behind the movie had more meaning than just a love of robots. He said, "The pilots' smaller stories actually make a bigger point, which is that we're all together in the same robot [in life] ... Either we get along or we die. I didn't want this to be a recruitment ad or anything jingoistic. The idea of the movie is just for us to trust each other, to cross over barriers of color, sex, beliefs, whatever, and just stick together."

    He wanted it to be a simple, straight forward message: we can only be complete when we work together.

  • The Sets on the Film Were Extremely Unique

    According to one of the art directors working on the movie, this was the first time dressing a set using forklifts and jackhammers. The set was first built as a non-destroyed Hong Kong, then destroyed and redressed to play as a different area. The Hong Kong set was used as four different streets with the placement and dressing of elements changing each time.

    Actor Charlie Day, who played scientist Newton Geiszler in the film, said of the sets, "Just the amount of detail — I don’t know if Chris Nolan or whoever, works like this, I imagine he does too — if you look at one of these broken cars on the set, if you look inside there’ll probably be a receipt from a store that would exist in the movie.  That’s how much detail there is.  I think at one point we were doing a scene on the Hong Kong streets, it was pouring rain, and we cut and I just walked into one of the restaurants that they had.  And even down to the blue stained fingerprints they had on the menus, because the people have the blue Kaiju blood on their hands, and stuff like that.  So the amount of detail really blew me away.  And it’s just exciting to put yourself in the world and then run around and live it, it’s cool."

  • The Kaiju Sounds Are Part Roar, Part Growl, and Part Human

    Kaiju voices were created with layers of animal roars and growls. These were filtered, sped up, and slowed down to create the roar of alien monsters. Then, to create emotion and intelligence, supervising sound editor Scott Martin Gershin and director Guillermo del Toro added samples of their own voices.