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10 Films To See Before Pacific Rim
A beginner’s guide to kaiju classics

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim sees the Earth under attack from extra-dimensional monsters capable of crushing cities with the swish of a tentacle. It’s an original story, but one that’s rooted in the traditional of Japan’s “kaiju” movies, the giant monster mashes that followed in Godzilla’s wake and – for the most part – from the same legendary Toho Studios. So here, ahead of Del Toro’s effort, are the films you should see to brush up on the genre…

WORDS HELEN O'HARA, GAVIN SMITH
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10 Films To See Before Pacific Rim | Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla (1954)

The granddaddy of the genre and the one that all others must be measured against, Godzilla is still worth a look. Sure, it’s obvious now that that’s a toy car bursting into flames under Godzilla’s onslaught and that the rather shonky effects were often accomplished by a man in a suit, but the storytelling is sufficiently strong that such dated practices don’t derail it. And the effects were lauded at the time: this was the most expensive Japanese film ever made at $1m, costing twice as much as Seven Samurai and ten times more than the average (but selling over 9m tickets just in Japan). Essentially a response to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with its depiction of a devastated city burning in the night, Godzilla found a way to tap into Japan’s shock and horror and offer a fictional happy(ish) ending. No wonder this is the movie that has spawned 27 more films and a Hollywood remake we don’t talk about (and, hopefully, a worthier upcoming Gareth Edwards version).

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Your Comments

1 Robot Jox
Totally agree! Robotjox & Crash & Burn must be huge influences for Del Toro! I'm there is even sequences in the Pacific Rim trailer straight out of RobotJox!! Fist Palm Clench! More

Posted by robmanley78 on Wednesday May 22, 2013, 15:58

2 Not the correct list
Oh, this is not even the correct list of movies to see before Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. This is an entirely another list, more suitable for introduction of movies like Rolland Emmerich's Godzilla. For Pacific Rim, you should do a list of animes like Mazinger Z, Voltus V, God Sigma, Gundam, Patlabor, and especially Neon Genesis Evangelion. You may even add Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those ARE the correct list of introduction to Pacific Rim. More

Posted by guusebumps on Wednesday March 6, 2013, 15:55

3 Not the correct list
Oh, this is not even the correct list of movies to see before Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. This is an entirely another list, more suitable for introduction of movies like Rolland Emmerich's Godzilla. For Pacific Rim, you should do a list of animes like Mazinger Z, Voltus V, God Sigma, Gundam, Patlabor, and especially Neon Genesis Evangelion. You may even add Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those ARE the correct list of introduction to Pacific Rim. The one who wrote this article clearly didn't know what he/she was talking about and clearly not an anime mecha vs monster fan. More

Posted by guusebumps on Wednesday March 6, 2013, 15:49

4 Not Entirely Without Merit
Think what you will of the Emmerich re-make, Patrick Tatopoulos' re-design of Gojira is fantastic - and that's Shere Khan's mandible, don't you know. More

Posted by Litshttam on Tuesday September 4, 2012, 18:32

5 Forgot the 80s
I echo DanTDavies (11.05) Robot-Jox was a film I watched when I was a pre-teen, and it was the first film that sprang to mind when I heard the meagre plot details of del Toro's Pacific Rim. I think an Empire article should be forthcoming on this, um, "classic" (it's available on Netflix). More

Posted by antsdavies on Monday September 3, 2012, 11:10

6 And anime?
Del Toro is Mexican. He's just a tad bit older than me. So my educated guess is that he very likely grew up with the likes of Mazinger Z, Kotetsu Jeeg, Gaiking, and other anime mecha series that aired as part of 'El Festival de los Robots' ('Robot Festival') throughout the late 70s and 80s. I think these shows must have been an inspiration for this movie, alongside other anime mentioned here in the comments (such as Evangelion), and--of course--the Gundam franchise. More

Posted by HighwayJoe on Saturday September 1, 2012, 00:02

7
no mention of Robot Jocks? Classic 80's featuring giant robots punching each other in a cold war stylee? More

Posted by DanTDavies on Friday August 31, 2012, 11:05

8 What about the Anime influence, Empire?
Surely, Pacific Rim also has a flavour of animes such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Rah Xephon, Gun Buster and the like? There's a whole genre of robots vs. monsters. Also, Weta did some preliminary artwork for a Neon Genesis film about 5-7 years ago, didn't they? Obviously, GDT's story will be his own (because he's unique and awesome and tekkers) but there have been people that have wanted to do something like this for a while. So glad Guillermo's the one to finally do it! More

Posted by Nicky C on Thursday August 30, 2012, 14:26

9 No Gamera?
Really thought you would mention Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. Pure classic More

Posted by Toxin on Thursday August 30, 2012, 13:31

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