Warner Bros. And Legendary Pictures came into Comic-Con equipped with perhaps the most intriguing panel of the convention. Not only was there to be a first look given to Guillermo del Toro's giant monster movie PACIFIC RIM, but the audience would also be treated to some goods from a little “prequel” called THE HOBBIT, a teaser from Zack Snyder's MAN OF STEEL, an extended trailer for the upcoming comedy THE CAMPAIGN, starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Some big boys right there. And, rumor had it, another behemoth would be dropping by for a quick visit, a fellow named GODZILLA. While this was the biggest mystery of all, the entire block was the subject of some intense scrutiny. So what did we witness?
First up was PACIFIC RIM, Guillermo del Toro's “big f*cking robots versus big f*cking monsters” epic. Del Toro came out and in his usual eloquent and profanity-filled style (“I'm shitting my pants right now”) , introduced us to the first teaser for his new movie. Actors Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi were also in attendance, although to be perfectly honest, this was a del Toro show...
The footage: We start on a beach, as a man and his son scour the sand with a metal detector. All of a sudden, a gigantic robot steps out from the ocean, looking damaged. It falls to its knees and collapses. The CG is fantastic here, and this is most certainly NOT a Transformer.
- Shots of a monster (“kaiju”) attacking a bridge; it's foggy and we can't see it clearly, but it's big and very mean.
- Helicopters drop a giant robot into the ocean; we eventually see it going head to head with a kaiju. It looked to me like the kaiju had a big horn on its head that the robot had a hold of, but again, it was not easy to make out what was transpiring.
- Various shots of a city being devastated, humans entering the robots and controlling them. A brief glimpse of Charlie Day inside what looks like a bunker.
- A tagline comes up: “To fight monsters, we created monsters.”
- Idris Elba, evidently a general of some kind, gives a speech to his troops; the highlight quote is: “Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!”
The Q+A: Unfortunately, del Toro said that now they're going into “radio silence” on the film for the rest of the year, meaning it's unlikely we'll be seeing this trailer again anytime soon. (However, you just never know...) They were still shooting twelve weeks ago, so now begins the long post-production process. They've got just under a year to get it into shape.
- Del Toro likened being asked to direct PACIFIC RIM to getting a big Christmas gift. He also said it saved his life; most likely a reference to the disappointment of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS getting shut down by Universal – not to mention being forced to leave THE HOBBIT director's chair.
- Del Toro said that there will be set-pieces in PACIFIC RIM that have never been seen on film before. He describes it not as a war movie, but as a movie with a romantic sense of adventure and grandeur. He also spoke of operatic battles, and said that sometimes the camera can't even see the entire height of the beasts or robots, they're that massive.
- There are nine different monsters in the film: flying monsters, sea beasts, etc. None of them will be familiar from other source material; they're all original creations. Del Toro said they had something of an “American Idol” audition process while creating them; they created a whole bunch of them and had to agree on the best handful. He designed them from the “inside out,” so that they feel like real, physical entities.
- There are six or seven different robots (or “jaegers”). And we learned that there will be rocket punches, folks.
- ILM is doing the visual effects. There is no “f*cking motion capture”; del Toro did not want the robots of kaiju feeling like they were performed by a man in a suit, they're all key framed.
- My personal thoughts on what was shown? It's not easy to pinpoint exactly what this movie is, or how big the scale... But I absolutely trust del Toro in this situation; it's readily evident that he loves the prospect of an ultimate giant monster movie as much as most of us do, so I think that he's ready to stomp our butts into the ground with PACIFIC RIM.