Pacific Rim: The Inner Workings Of An Epic Film by David S. Cohen (book review).

‘Pacific Rim: The Inner Workings Of An Epic Film’ also has another sub-title, ‘Man, Machines & Monsters’. I think it should also have included director, crew and actors as without them, this film wouldn’t have been made and they definitely have a large section devoted to them here. Which, if you think about it, is important to books such as this as these massive expensive films are not just the work of one man but the composites of many. Of particular note is SF illustrator Wayne Barlowe popping up and making a significant contribution to the monsters although no one seems to notice one of them on page 130 has the silhouette of a certain flame-breathed monster of old.  When it comes to the giant robots, none of them appear to resemble the Shogun Warriors, which is one of my earlier memories of such things outside of the early pulps.


Considering that this film combines giant monsters and even bigger robots to fight them, this has all the ingredients and tropes of a Japanese monster movie done American style but spread internationally across the world, although Hong Kong does get a trashing. Director Guillermo del Toro told his creative team to not reference the Japanese films in preparation although I do doubt if any of them have never seen them as the Japanese films have a bigger following in America than over here. As there is bound to be a direct comparison, then it has to be how much money is chucked at ‘Pacific Rim’ and that’s a lot. Whether Japan will raise their own stakes in such films remains to be seen but I suspect kids will love the battles.

Interestingly, as I discovered here, at least where the actors were concerned there was more actual effects than CGI, which was reserved more for everything else. I’m still a little confused how the telemetrics of these robots can be used by more than one person, especially as the duo and in one oriental case, the triplets, don’t always function as one. Having just read the novelisation, this has been made some what clearer although I would have thought one pilot and a back-up would have been more effective.

Oddly, the one thing I can’t work out entirely from this book is the plot of the story other than a massive battle between monsters and robots but as I’m reading the novelisation after writing this review, this gap in my information will be filled in. It is noted that the events in this film began in 2018 so presumably the divergence from our reality must have happened much earlier and makes me wonder why they went for giant robots when other weaponry is available.

There are a lot of interesting highlights. I do like the little touches like on page 104 of the dangers of being stepped on by these robots. The addition of moving ‘Pacific Rim’ into 3D is more to do with depth of vision than being attacked from the screen. Just when I was thinking that all of these monsters appear to be one-offs so how did they propagate, on page 144 we have Baby Kaiju. Cute little chap.

This book takes lessons from the earlier Vault books by containing stick-in posters and packages so be careful as you roam through the pages, especially as the decorative pattern can often blend with them. There is a closed envelope inside the back cover but it will take someone brave enough to open the hard to open seal to get inside to see what the contents are.

As ‘Pacific Rim’ is supposed to be another of the big films of this summer, it is more than made up for by the representation in this book which will undoubtedly be used by scratch-build model-makers as the templates to make their models. Watch whose footsteps you step in.

GF Willmetts

July 2013

(pub: Titan Books. 160 page large horizontal with extras. Price: £29.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-816-9)

check out websites: www.titanbooks.com and www.insighteditions.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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