I didn’t see Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim in theatres. Mostly because everyone was boasting about the 3D effects and how it was a must to see them. Sadly, I have wonky eyes that don’t see 3D, so I decided to wait for the Blu-ray. Little did I know that after watching what was packaged as a monster action movie, it would take days for me to get through the incredible special features included in the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.
Del Toro is a true artist – and that can be considered in many ways. But what I mean by it is that he considers every last detail when he works. This means colors, shapes, and beyond. He doesn’t stop at the ideas that he brews in his brain, either. He pulls from existing art work and items he finds visually stimulating and pleasing. What del Toro has done, in my opinion, is taken a story like Cloverfield, given it depth and quality, and ultimately delivered a piece of art with a true storyline. I’ve seen a lot of comparison to Transformers as well, however, to even put the two in the same sentence is insulting. While the action aspect of Pacific Rim is still not my particular cup of tea, the fact that so much consideration went into making the movie, pushes it beyond the typical films it could reside by. Luckily, with the special features on this combo pack, del Toro’s true vision, which expands beyond what he could fit into the film itself, can be seen.
Now, there are tons of featurettes on this disc, each getting into del Toro’s vision in their own way. “Drift Space” expands on the main characters’ back stories, which is really neat and rarely done. Four deleted scenes don’t add too much considering the initial film ran just over 2 hours, and even that much time seemed to condense what the movie could have stretched to. Commentary with del Toro is actually just as informative as any visual feature would be – that is if you can fully understand what he is saying. His accent is easy to get through after a bit, and once deciphered, the wealth of information and his passion for the film and executing it correctly is terribly valuable.
The greatest special feature is only included on the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. As I have praised above, del Toro’s mind is an amazing place, and getting inside it for Pacific Rim is easy with the “The Director’s Notebook” featurette. It took me well over an hour to get through this nine page feature. Set up like an actual journal, there are sketches, notes on how del Toro wanted items implemented, videos of him discussing such things, and more. The execution of the feature, alone, is visually stunning – perhaps even a bit overdone in that it takes longer to get from piece to piece. However, to get inside the director’s mind and see how items were taken from concept art to production gives the film that extra bit of oomph it needed for me to be fully impressed.
Elaborating on this is “The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim” which again takes the designs of the Kaiju monsters and Jaeger robots and shows their stages of production. Costume and scenery is included as well. There are also 13 “Focus Points” features that more or less make up an hour long documentary that hits on every aspect you can think of from music to the scale of designs. “The Shatterdome”, again, includes a lot of concept art, as well, for the movie.
Pacific Rim itself is visually intriguing. Though half of sets were built, then fleshed out with CGI, the level of quality that del Toro painstakingly committed to cancels any type of hokeyness one would assume would come through in a monster/robot action flick. Combine this dedication with near perfect audibles running through surround sound and, really, you have a great movie that still has a real story behind it. Kudos to del Toro for going above and beyond all expectations.