As the lights went down to start the Warnerbros/Legendary panel, something peculiar began to happen. The black curtains, which had rimmed the entirety of the room for every panel so far that day, pulled away to reveal two more giant projection screens on either side of the center panel, projection screens which began showing readouts of the mechanical workings of what we can assume to be a giant mechanized robot.
After being introduced by an executive of Legendary Pictures, Guillermo Del Toro and his cast took the stage. Del Toro informed the crowd that the film had been completed only 12 weeks before, and that the footage we were about to see was produced specifically for us, and no other audience in the world.
The footage began with a father and his soon in the frozen tundra of what we assume is the arctic. They feel deep resonate vibrations in the ground, and cracks spread out in the ice around them. They look up to see a gigantic robot, one arm ripped clean off, stagger towards them and collapse on the ground.
The rest of the footage is very montage oriented, cutting between battles of the robots (called Jaegers) and giant monsters (called Kaiju) while giving us a glimpse at the colorful world of the last surviving humans. Idris Elba gets an impassioned call to arms in what appears to be some sort of hanger bay, and the look of the film has a wonderful ripped-from-the-pages-of-a-graphic-novel aesthetic. Colors are vibrant, in stark contrast with other washed out post-apocalyptic landscapes, and the whole movie has a grandiose quality that fits nicely with the subject matter.
The lights came back up, and Del Toro informed us that this was the only footage screening of any kind that would occur before 2013, and that there would be no further marketing for the film until that point, so if you’re looking to feast your eyes on some Pacific Rim action, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to wait.
Here are some snippets from the panel:
There will be 9 different monster designs in the movie, and 6-7 distinct Jaegers. The designers held an American-Idol style competition with 40 finalized designs to pick the ones in the film.
The script was an original pitch, something unheard of in Hollywood these days, particularly on this kind of scale.
Del Toro worked hard to “dirty up” the camerawork, taking great pains to make it appear as though the battles were filmed with actual cameras, preventing them from being able to capture the entirety of the robots or the creatures in a single frame.
All the sets in the film are practical, to the point that the production built several city blocks with giant hydraulics beneath them to actually shake the pavement in time with the robot footsteps.
Ron Perlman was glad that Guillermo’s standards are “low enough” to keep casting him in projects, and keep dragging him to Hall H.
The cast signed on to the project without seeing the script. Del Toro’s name was enough for them to commit to it.
The giant robots are piloted by two operators sharing a telekinetic bridge, each working with one hemisphere of the robot’s operation. Del Toro assured us that we’ll see what happens when only one pilot is driving a Jaeger in the film.
On to Zach Snyder and Man of Steel.
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