July 10th, 2013
04:50 PM ET
Five years after "Hellboy II," Guillermo del Toro is back with another movie that has his signature all over it.
The filmmakers robots-vs.-monsters July 12 epic "Pacific Rim" has been a labor of love, but del Toro told CNN at the sci-fi thriller's Los Angeles premiere that he couldn't "be happier" with the way it's turned out.
"This is a Guillermo film on steroids," del Toro said at Tuesday's event.
"Pacific Rim" sets us up in the near future, when aliens arrive from beneath the Pacific ocean to lay waste to coastal cities like San Francisco. Pulling inspiration from flicks like "Godzilla," del Toro crafted a world where humans try to fight back against the monsters, called Kaiju, with Jaegers, humongous robotic soldiers that need a pair of pilots to operate.
Part of the challenge for del Toro was not to lose sight of the characters in all of that action.
"It's a movie that has complexity that I haven't encountered before," he said. "The movie has great humor and great emotion, but then you have to deliver a 25-minute action sequence called the battle over Hong Kong, that starts in the water and ends up in outer space."
Delivering that kind of sequence required not only technical skill, but imagination. "We designed the whole ['Pacific Rim'] world, we [take] a very unique approach to effects," del Toro said. "We make you feel that you're there in the action. I think we did an amazing job with the 3-D. It's truly one of the most immersive 3-D experiences you're ever going to have."
There are, however, some critics who'd beg to differ. Although the film's "assembled with consummate care and obsessive attention to visual detail," Variety says in its review, "'Pacific Rim' manages only fitful engagement and little in the way of real wonderment, suspense or terror."
Entertainment Weekly agrees, saying that "del Toro's monsters are so big, and shot in such unrelenting rainy darkness, that the audience never gets a chance to dissect and fetishize their monstrous anatomies and be swept away by their weirdness. ... [T]he film feels like a 48-year-old kid playing with gigantic action figures in the world's most expensive sandbox."
"Saw PACIFIC RIM earlier today. It's all right if you're into movies that are awesome and gut-punch you with brilliance," Patton Oswalt tweeted Tuesday.
And there was at least one critic was taken by del Toro's work:
"Guillermo del Toro is more than a filmmaker, he's a fantasy visionary with an outsized imagination and a fanatical specificity, a creator of out-of-this world universes carefully conceived down to the smallest detail," raved the Los Angeles Times. "His particular gifts and passions are on display in the long-awaited 'Pacific Rim' and the results are spectacular."
So what do you think - is "Pacific Rim" looking like one of del Toro's greatest, or do you suspect it's being over-hyped?
About this blog
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.