Pacific Rim

Blu-Ray Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Max Crawford's film review of Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Toro further cements his reputation as one of the best commentary-track makers in the film business on the Pacific Rim Blu-ray release which, in keeping with its subject matter, comes with a monster set of extras. In high definition with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer, it looks beautiful, too - a detail you'll appreciate as del Toro details minutae such as a vespa tumbling from a kaiju-crushed shipping container or the parasites on the beasts' backs, all easily spotted thanks to the film's sharp palette. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and 5.1 surround tracks are also immersive belters, which is again entirely fitting for this sort of genre extravaganza. Plus, there are hard-of-hearing subtitles across almost all the extra as well as the feature (with the inexplicable exception of the five featurettes within the Director's Notebook), plus an audio descriptive track.

While virtually all the extras are well worth a look, del Toro's commentary undoubtedly leads the charge. Down the years, he has perfected the art of combining giddy levels of enthusiasm - "This is the most joyful exercise in image creation I have had in my life" - with insightful detail about the film itself and a surprisingly large amount of background information. During the course of the runtime, we learn how important it was for him that the film was "humanistic not militaristic" as well as his assertion that he wanted to give "eye protein not eye candy".

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He also reveals what may be the secret of the film's success: "We have to be nironic. We have to never be postmodern.". And although del Toro takes everything he does very seriously, he never forgets that he is talking about a piece of summer blockbuster entertainment. "I'm not pretending this is The Cherry Orchard," he says "But it had to be fresh." His observations are just that, as invogorating as an icy wave crashing over a jaeger, as he seemlessly moves from his own motivations to discussions of the original Japanese kaiju, including his love for Haruo Nakajima, who suited up as the original Godzilla, and on to the mythological aspects of the mecha genre. Somehow, he also finds time to detail his own colour palette choices, his shoe fetish, camera angles and staging decisions without ever seeming to miss a beat or go off on an unecessary tangent.

Much of what he talks about will go on to be illustrated in more detail by the plethora of featurettes on this double-disc set. On the main disc there are 13 in all and while none of them outstays their welcome, running at around four minutes apiece, they all offer a snappy insight into a different aspect of the production, from the casting choices to set creation and the physical demands put on the actors. The detailing of the kaiju and jaegers is fascinating, from the way the designers drew on nature to flesh out their creatures to the various war vehicles on which the human-operated killing machines were based on. Del Toro is around to inject a bit of wit in nearly all of them - from his assertion that the cast complaining about the daily workout are "cry babies" to his reference to the most masculine of the jaegers as displaying "Australian modest".

Over on the second disc is the Director's Notebook and while adults may find the navigation through its translated snippets and featurettes a bit cumbersome, 12-year-olds are likely to lap it up. The book contains six featurettes detailing specific parts of the production that draw on del Toro's detailed notes and drawings, including the propaganda posters and his ongoing love affair with umbrellas.

Also included on the second disc, is the neatly edited Behind The Scenes: Drift Space, which uses snippets of the Drift animation from within the film itself to illustrate the back story of the key characters of Raleigh, Mako, Newt and Gottlieb. Fans of art and design will be able to get their fill in the Behind The Scenes: The Shatterdome extra, which features a wealth of animatics and concept art for the creatures, machines, costumes and key scenery. Completing this impressive package are four deleted scenes (easy to see why they weren't used), a four-minute blooper reel (about as amusing as any of these ever are) and an UltraViolet copy of the film that can be shared with up to five other people. Yet another teriffic package which shows del Toro knows how to deliver for a home audience as well as those who have trekked to the cinema.

Reviewed on: 12 Nov 2013
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Pacific Rim packshot
Men operating giant robot suits are the last line of defence against sea monsters from another dimension.
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Product Code: 1000413927

Region: 0

Ratio: 1080p High Definition 16x9 1.85:1

Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 7.1

Extras: Disc One: Director's Commentary, A Film By Guillermo del Toro, A Primer On Kaiju And Jaegers, Intricacy Of Robot Design, Honouring The Kaiju, The Importance Of Mass And Space, Jaegers Echo Human Grace, Shatterdome Ranger Roll Call, Inside The Drift, Goth Tech, Mega Sized Sets, Baby Kaiju Set Visit, Tokyo Alley Set Visit, Orchestral Sounds From The Antiverse. Disc Two: Director's Notebook (including six featurettes), 4 deleted scenes, blooper reel, Behind The Scenes: Drift Space, Behind The Scenes: The Shatterdome (animatics and concept art).

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