Book Review: Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters
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Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters
Written by David S. Cohen, Foreword by Guillermo del Toro
Hardcover | Insight Editions
254 x 279mm | 160 Pages
Release Date: June 18, 2013

When hordes of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, start rising from the Pacific Ocean, a war begins that takes millions of lives and consumes all of humanity’s resources. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special weapon is created: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled by two pilots locked in a neural bridge that allows them to share memories, instincts, and fighting skills.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), Pacific Rim is easily one of this summer’s most anticipated blockbusters, a sci-fi action adventure that pits giant robots against giant monsters in an all-out battle for mankind. Now, thanks to Insight Editions, you can go behind-the-scenes of del Toro’s film and see the artists and craftsman responsible for bringing del Toro’s world to life.

Written by David S. Cohen, Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters chronicles the production of del Toro’s film with stunning concept art, on-set photography, and cast and crew accounts of the shoot.

At 160 pages, Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters is an enormous archive of the technology, sociology, mythology, and science behind the giant monsters and machines of del Toro’s film. The bulk of Insight Editions’ hardcover art book is devoted to conceptual art of Jaegers, Kaiju, and the film’s epic set pieces. There are diagrams of the Jaeger robots that show the massive machines in full detail along with battled-damaged versions, 3D wireframes, and 3D gray models before ILM added texture and color to the designs.

Also included are designs for logos, signs, zonings, pamphlets, ID badges, consoles, wardrobe and behind-the-scenes photography of physical sets. Del Toro and his crew recreated entire blocks of Tokyo and Hong Kong only to destroy them, mounting sets the size of houses on hydraulic gimbals.

The book is broken down into four chapters: Part I: Monsters in the Mist, which details script and story and the film’s cast of colorful characters; Part II: The Crazy Kids in the Submarine, which focuses on art and design aspects of the film including storyboards and, as mentioned above, detailed diagrams of the Jaegers. Part III: Doing it for Real covers the shooting and production of the film as well as the film’s numerous sets. And finally, Part IV: Simulating the Apocalypse breaks down post-production, visual effects, sound design, music, 3-D conversion and the Kaiju themselves.

Reckoner, Knifehead, Axehead, Onibaba, Leatherback, Otachi – those are just a few of the giant monsters in del Toro’s love letter to Kaiju (Japanese for “Strange Beast”) films. Full diagrams of the Kaiju are included in Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters, from details illustrations of their skeletal systems and inner organs.

Del Toro had this to say at the beginning of chapter 4:

“I adore monsters. I think they are the greatest thing. If you really, really love monsters, it’s like when you love anybody else or anything else: You want the best for them. So you seek the best for your creature – from design, lighting, color, how they move, where they live, what happens to them. If you have to kill them, you kill them great.”

If you’re a fan of gorgeous coffee table art books or just big-ass monsters fighting big-ass robots, then Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters is a must-have. I should warn that the book reveals numerous revelations about the film, so if you intend on going into Guillermo del Toro’s epic poem to Anime, Mecha, and Kaiju spoiler-free, you may want to hold off on reading Cohen’s jam-packed book.

With a screenplay by del Toro and Travis Beacham, Pacific Rim stomps and smashes its way into theaters on July 12. You can order your copy of Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters now over at Amazon. I would highly recommend it for anyone who shares Guillermo del Toro’s passion of monsters and filmmaking.

Check out this cool over-the-shoulder trailer for the book, courtesy of Insight Editions:



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