Pacific Rim is in theaters right now and star Idris Elba‘s Stacker Pentecost character is no doubt doing his best to cancel the apocalypse. Shortly before it hit theaters, Hip-Hop Wired spoke to the film’s director, the renowned Guillermo Del Toro, who offered some insight into the creation of his man plush machine versus monsters flick.
“Kaiju” is Japanese for “strange beast” and came to mean the “giant monsters” like Mothra and Rodan who wreaked havoc in OG monster flicks. The films should br familiar to at least older Hip-Hop heads. Same way Wu-Tang Clan put the spotlight on kung-fu movies, acts like MF Doom shined light on giant monster movies that also came on Saturday afternoon television. The latter’s alias, King Geedorah, is an ode to the three-head dragon King Ghidorah from Godzilla films.
Anyway, we asked Del Toro for his top five Kaiju films and he had plenty more to say.
Hip-Hop Wired: What are you top five Kaiju films?
Guillermo Del Toro: I grew up with so many movies that maybe my choices are a little weird. But I love Frankenstein Conquers the World, The War of The Gargantuas, I love the original Gamera movie, I love the original Godzilla, and probably Destroy All Monsters. Which is like great, great action.
HHW: definitely continuing with that is that why you love Gamera so much?
GDT: Gamera, well for me it was the notion [was] so outlandish when I was a kid of a flying turtle and with those sort of saber teeth. The design in theory it shouldn’t work [but[ it has great personality. Every kid in my generation dreamed of getting a giant robot or getting a giant domesticated kaiju and Gamera offered that mixture of silliness and charm with the staples of a great kaiju movie its really just anything that Honda directed that was just great
HHW: No spoilers, but one particular scene reminded me of Rodan.
GDT: Well Rodan I loved as a kid. But [Pacific Rim] has this slant visually that it’s almost a dark fantasy. I wanted a moment that was sort of a great dragon moment. Rodan was great. In the Rodan movies I love what Rodan used to do when he’d fly you would see the earth or stuff move being a swirl of smoke moment. It’s just me getting off on my own supply. [laughs]
HHW: The viewer never forgets how massive these Jaeger machines are.
GDT: It was instrumental for me to keep the scale, I want a new generation of kids to become absolutely giant fans of monsters and robots like I was as a kid and one of our main demands was to keep the scale of the movie and also was to keep the scale of the robots and monsters gigantic and keep a beautiful human story
HHW: Almost as soon as the film starts you can’t help but think these would make great toys. Was that in the back of your mind?
GDT: You know it was very important that they looked like real robots and great monsters. And great monsters and robots by byproduct they look like great toys. But it’s never putting the carriage before the horse, it’s the horse before the carriage.
HHW: A sequel is in the cards right?
GDT: Oh yes, yes. We are already four to five weeks into writing an outline and we presented it to Legendary [Pictures]. I think that its really very unique, we go to places that the first movie doesn’t go to so that’s going to be a big surprise, if we are able to do it.
HHW: The concept that these monsters came from the sea and not space or via radiation, was that there since the story’s inception?
GDT: It comes from [Godzilla director Ishiro] Honda from Godzilla. The birth of Godzilla is the sea so its really quite important. Honda did create the basic mythology of Kaiju with Godzilla emerging from the ocean. I knew I wanted [to come] full circle to start the movie in the ocean and end the movie in the ocean.
Photos: Warner Bros.