Director Guillermo del Toro was inspired by the anime and tokusatsu of his youth. He specifically cited Tetsujin nijûhachi-go (1963) as a major influence. Despite this, he wanted to avoid referencing other works of fiction in the design of the robots and monsters.
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Approximately a hundred Kaijus and a hundred Jaegers were designed, but only a fraction of them appeared in the film. Every week, the filmmakers held a vote for their favorites.
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Screenwriter Travis Beacham also wrote the graphic novel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero. Released along with the movie, "Tales from Year Zero" serves as a prologue to the film and is set twelve years before its events.
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According to Travis Beacham, in an earlier version of the script Mako and Raleigh spoke two different languages for a majority of the film. After connecting as pilots, they slowly began to understand one another, and before the end they heard each other speaking in their own respective languages. The only remnant of a language barrier is when Raleigh speaks to Mako in Japanese, and she is surprised he knows her home language.
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(At around 1 hour, 25 minutes) The inside of the building that Gipsy's fist smashes through was created using miniatures. Many of the components of the office cubicles were made using 3-D printers. The lighting was practical and done to scale. Once the set was ready, a large green mandrel was rammed through it. This was digitally replaced with Gipsy's fist.
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"Kaiju" is a Japanese word that literally translates to "strange beast." It is usually used to refer to giant monsters from Japanese science-fiction films, such as Godzilla (1954).
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Though the giant monsters were always intended to be computer generated, all of their designs were expanded from the notion that they could be "worn as suits," like in traditional kaiju films.
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Travis Beacham, the screenwriter, got the idea for the movie while walking along the California coastline on a foggy morning. The shape of the pier looked like a creature rising from the water, and he imagined a large robot waiting on the shore to battle it.
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A life-sized version of the robot cockpit was built on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Canada. It weighed about twenty tons and stood nearly four stories high. It was built on a gigantic hydraulic gimbal, which would move, shake, vibrate, drop and rock the entire set as if it were actually being piloted. A smaller version was also built with a smaller gimbal, allowing for different movements. The VFX team used some of the Conn-pod footage for reference while animating the robots. The set was also redressed to depict the interior of each robot differently.
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The sound for the Kaiju's roars were comprised of layer upon layer of animal roars and growls, which were filtered, sped up, and slowed down to create the roar of alien behemoths. Then, to add emotion and a sense of intelligence, supervising sound editor Scott Martin Gershin and director Guillermo del Toro added samples of their own voices.
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In Hungary, trailers for the movie couldn't mention the name of the main robot, Gipsy Danger, because it was offensive to the Roma, a large ethnic group in the country. The name is spoken freely in the Hungarian dubbed version, but it's left in English. It's a reference to a type of airplane engine, not the people in question.
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Visual effects supervisor John Knoll and director Guillermo del Toro spent several weeks discussing the physics of the giant characters and went into very specific detail, such as how the air displacement from a Jaeger moving between skyscrapers would shake the building's windows.
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The computer is voiced by Ellen McLain, who also voiced GLaDOS, the A.I. from Portal (2007) and Portal 2 (2011). This is in fact a cameo by GLaDOS, as Guillermo del Toro was such a fan of the games that he approached the game's developers, Valve, who approved. Del Toro said in an interview for the Toronto Sun, "I wanted very much to have her, because I'm a big Portal fan. But just as a wink. She's not cake-obsessed. She's not out to destroy humanity." He further explained, "Look, there's no A.I. I'd rather have than GlaDOS, but McLain's voice in the movie, due in theaters July 12th, has been modulated a bit to be less similar to the distinctive tone of Portal's unforgettable antagonist. The filter we're using is slightly less GLaDOS. Slightly. The one in the trailer I wanted to be full-on GlaDOS." The GLaDOS voice itself is inspired by the computer in The Thirteenth Floor (1999).
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Gipsy Danger is named after the "de Havilland Gipsy" aircraft engine. This was intended as a nostalgic nod to the World War II era, which was a major influence in the design of the robot.
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Striker Eureka, the white Australian Jaeger was initially chosen to be the "Hero Jaeger" of the film, but Guillermo Del Toro thought it's appearance was "too cold" and "arrogant".
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This was both director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro's first experience shooting with digital cameras. Navarro bought seven Red Epic cameras specifically for the film and used his own lenses, as he prefers shooting with his own camera equipment over renting it.
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When asked why the pilots yell out to one another despite being telepathically linked, Travis Beacham said that doing so helps them stay focused.
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Karloff, one of the kaiju from the opening sequence, is named after Boris Karloff. The nickname was given because the creature's head resembles the dessicated face of Karloff's The Mummy (1932) character, Imhotep.
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Ron Perlman kept the shoes he wore on this film. Later on, his wife had them melted down and converted into a pair of heels for herself.
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Guillermo del Toro did not shoot the film with 3D in mind and was initially opposed to the idea of converting it into the format when the studio suggested it. He agreed only on four conditions - that the scale of the kaiju and jaegers be maintained in 3D without overemphasizing the effect and miniaturizing them, that the conversion be given a generous 40-week schedule to ensure its quality, that the CGI elements were rendered natively in stereo 3D, and that he be allowed to supervise the conversion process.
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The Jaegers are a staple of Japanese anime, where they are often called mecha. Similar to many mecha anime series, Jaegers are controlled from within by human pilots, distinguishing them from other depictions of robots as automated, sentient, or externally controlled.
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The film takes place in 2013, 2020, and 2025.
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Gipsy Danger is painted and detailed to resemble a World War II fighter plane. There is nose art on its chest.
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One of the art directors said this is the first time they dressed a set using forklifts and jackhammers. Much of the set is made with real materials, unlike most sets.
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In March 2013, YouTube channel "Dumb Drum" created a "sweded" version of Pacific Rim (2013)'s trailer. Less than two weeks later, Guillermo del Toro commented on the video at WonderCon 2013, calling it a "masterpiece" and saying that it inspired him to create the second trailer for the film. He also invited the filmmakers to the Hollywood premiere. When the film was released on home video, Legendary Pictures contacted "Dumb Drum" and asked for their help promoting the release. In October 2013, they released several "sweded" versions of scenes from the movie. These new videos were made fifteen-second intervals for sharing on social media websites.
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The set was built as a non-destroyed Hong Kong, then destroyed and redressed to play as a different area, post-monster battle. The Hong Kong set was used as four different streets and sets, with the placement and dressing of elements changed each time.
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This was the first Guillermo del Toro film to feature Ron Perlman as a human character, since Cronos (1993).
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Cherno Alpha is likely named for Chernobyl, the small town in the Ukraine where a reactor at the nuclear power facility experienced a meltdown in April 1986, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. Cherno's head resembles a tall cooling tower, though the reactors at Chernobyl do not have that style of cooling tower.
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Guillermo del Toro drew inspiration from paintings, including Francisco Goya's "The Colossus" and Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa."
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The character of Mako Mori is much younger than Stacker "Marshall" Pentecost, although in real life, Rinko Kikuchi is only eight years younger than Idris Elba.
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The title screen does not appear until seventeen minutes into the film.
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(At around 55 minutes) A prominent street sign in Hong Kong identifies the intersection of "Tull Street" and "Fong Street." Thomas Tull is the president of Legendary Pictures (which financed the film), and Henry Fong is one of the film's concept artists.
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In the beginning before facing the Kaiju Knifehead, Gipsy Danger performs its "neural handshake" and then afterwards slowly puts her hands together like she's praying (with elbows out), except her left hand is closed and her right hand is covering it. This is a centuries-old greeting/salutation in martial arts between peers and combatants and was a sign of mutual respect (Specifically Chinese styles such as Wushu, Shaolin, and Wing Chun utilized this salutation) The closed fist represents the preparation to fight and the act of covering the fist is similar to keeping a sword sheathed until combat. This act is also a sign of discipline and restraint (from abusing its power), demonstrating it is no threat and has peaceful intentions without provocation.
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The movie is dedicated to the memory of "monster masters" Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion animator for movies like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), and Ishirô Honda, director of Godzilla (1954) and many other kaiju features. Honda was born on May 7, 1911. Harryhausen died on May 7, 2013.
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Several countries created their own Jaegars, including: The USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Russia, Singapore, India, The Philippines, Denmark, The United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.
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In the weeks before the film's release, several popular YouTube channels collaborated with the filmmakers to produce a short video titled "Pacific Rim: Training Day." The short even features a brief cameo by director Guillermo del Toro. The collaborating channels included Jesse Cox, Press Heart to Continue, Total Biscuit, Husky Starcraft, Game Grumps, Crabcat Industries, and The Game Station.
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This film was sent to movie theaters under the name "Still Seas."
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Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam have also shared the screen in Sons of Anarchy (2008) and 3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom (2012).
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Stellan Skarsgård was considered for the role of Herc Hansen.
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Names Aleksis and Sasha Kaidanovsky look to be allusion for the name of Russian actor Alexandr Kaydanovskiy (Stalker in Andrei Tarkovsky's movie). Sasha in Russian is a small name for Alexander.
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Even though the filmmakers stated repeatedly that they did not want to reference any other mecha or kaiju works, they have admitted to accidentally doing so. For example, "jaeger" is also the name of one of the mech designs from the FASA mechcommander universe of the Inner Sphere faction. Also, the scene with Otachi searching for Dr. Newton Geizler is very reminiscent of the film The War of the Gargantuas (1966), during which a giant monster looks for a main human character who is hiding underground.
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Otachi's tail was originally a feature of a completely different kaiju, dubbed "Meathead," which was cut from the film.
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Ron Perlman's character, Hannibal Chau, could be named after James Hong's character, Hannibal Chew, in Blade Runner (1982), as Guillermo del Toro has named the film as a huge inspiration for him as a director.
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The small badge on Stacker Pentecost's dress uniform is the U.S. Army's Air Assault Badge.
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(At around 1 hour, 25 minutes) When the Gipsy Danger is fighting the second Kaiju in Hong Kong, it punches through a building and sets off a set of Newton's Balls or Newton's Cradle. The scientist that the Kaiju was chasing is named Dr. Newton Geizler.
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The screenplay had forty pages of suit work, and Legacy constructed thirty-four suits for the movie.
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Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Aaron Paul, Luke Bracey, and Henry Cavill were considered for the role of Raleigh Becket.
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The aircraft carrier transporting the Kaiju carcass is the United States Navy's USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). The hull number, 74, is visible on the flight deck's island.
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Doctors Herman Gottlieb and Newton Geiszler share names with mathematicians Sir Isaac Newton and David Gottlieb.
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Director Guillermo del Toro and screenwriter Travis Beacham went through fifteen drafts of the script.
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The rolling end credits include "SPECIAL THANKS" to other genre directors who presumably inspired Guillermo del Torres: James Cameron (Avatar et.al.); David Cronenberg (The Fly et.al); Alfonso Cuarón.(Gravity); Alejandro González Iñárritu ( The.Revenant).
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Two actors who were considered for this movie happened to be in similar movies ("military personnel versus alien invasion" theme) around the same time: Taylor Kitsch (considered for Raleigh) in Battleship (2012) and Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow (2014).
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Drew Pearce did an uncredited re-write of the script.
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Charlie Day's Dr.Newt character talks about the Kaijus having a secondary brain, similar to that of the dinosaurs. This theory about dinosaurs was taught as late as the 90's, but has since been debunked by the scientific community. Also, only a few dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus were thought to have a secondary brain, because their skulls/brain were so small in relation to their bodies. Most of the Kaiju in this film had large heads, so that hypothesis doesn't translate for multiple reasons.
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A sequel called Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) was announced in 2017 and will be released five years after this film.
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Clara Wong's debut.
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When little Mako is in the alleyway, every object on the set was rigged to the same hydraulic system. Whenever the giant monster was to take a step, everything bounced or shook in unison, including the puddles.
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When Mako falls into her memory of being attacked as a little girl, the transition from the cockpit of the Jaeger to the Japanese street was all done on set.
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The one minute explosion countdown actually takes one minute to set off in the movie.
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During a NerdHQ panel in 2013, Robert Kazinsky talks about the fight scene between Chuck and Raleigh in the hallway, and how Charlie Hunnam broke his nose during that sequence. Kazinsky says the shot where Hunnam broke his nose remained in the film, and he also proudly states that he kept standing after it happened.
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