At the moment, there exist two separate kinds of people: Those who are aware of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and those who are going to be pleasantly surprised by its existence momentarily.
Alright, here’s the situation: Guillermo del Toro, as you likely know, is one of our finest modern directors when it comes to fare most easily described as “science fiction,” “fantasy” or any of the other film genres that people who read a website largely focused on technology and video games would most likely find entertaining. Pacific Rim, in turn, is a modern reimagining of the classic “kaiju” subgenre of science fiction films: We know little of its plot, but what we do know paints Pacific Rim as a giant monster movie similar to live-action films like Godzilla and Gamera, or anime titles like Voltron.
Not excited just yet? Then perhaps you should scroll down a bit and hit “play” on the clip embedded below this text. That clip, presented as is without any specific nods to del Toro or the film’s production, is an example of viral advertising. While it doesn’t explicitly frame itself as an ad spot for Pacific Rim, it does set up all of the film’s key selling points — terrified hordes of fleeing civilians, frantic newsmen and women barely able to describe what they’re witnessing, largely unseen yet undeniably horrifying giant monsters — while also offering just enough vague information to motivate prospective viewers to take to the Internet in a quest to discover more about this intriguing, mysterious movie.
Now that we’ve sussed out this clip for what it truly is, let’s also fill in a few of its more notable informational black holes. First off, a release date: Barring any catastrophic changes of plan, Pacific Rim will make its US theatrical debut on July 12, 2013. Next, a cast: According to IMDB, Pacific Rim will feature a diverse cast including such noted thespians as Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi. Lastly, what little we know of the plot: We already covered the existence of the giant monsters, but the real draw for Pacific Rim may lie not in its antagonists so much as in the way humanity fights back against its nascent abominable foes. These being giant monsters, standard weaponry has little effect on them, so instead humanity takes a page straight of the Japanese giant monster fighting handbook by sending giant, human-pilotted robots to battle Earth’s latest menace. A quick Google Image Search reveals some minor images of these robots, and as you can see they feature aesthetics that are equal parts modern, Michael Bay-esque CGI, and classic Japanese monster movie-style fighting ‘bot.
Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, how are you feeling? Excited? Underwhelmed? A bit worried to see viral advertising already rear its ugly head in the lead up to a film whose premise should automatically sell the project to anyone who has any concept of what the word “cool” actually means? Regardless of how you feel, the important thing is that you’re now aware of Pacific Rim. With that, our job is done and we can collectively go back to awaiting what might very well be the resurrection of the painfully-dormant kaiju subgenre.