BOOK REVIEW: Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters
The Inner Workings of an Epic Film...
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I love design/ art books made for movies and video games. Not only does this type of book provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the property, but they freeze-frame all the amazing creatures, vehicles, locations and gear for you to analyze in closer jaw-dropping detail. The latest such book is for Guillermo del Toro's giant robots versus giant monsters movie Pacific Rim. Opening in theaters July 12th, this fan film was tailor-made for an art book. In stores now priced at a SRP of $45 is Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters from publisher Insight Editions. This 156 page, 11.3 x 10.3 x 1 inch hardback book contains everything you need to know about this summer's special effects blockbuster.
Director Del Toro gets things started with a personal forward explaining how much making Pacific Rim meant to him. I know, every director says that about his/her latest film, but with Del Toro you get a sense of true honesty - for a man that openly loves monsters so much, making a movie about towering mechanical machines fighting crazy cool creatures can be nothing less but a dream job. I get the feeling that Pacific Rim may not be the most actor-driven movie made, but by golly a lot of thought went into the design and effects. This book is evidence of that.
David S. Cohen provides a great tone as the writer of Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters, kicking the book off with an engaging prologue on when Pacific Rim was first introduced to the public at San Diego Comic-Con 2012. In a nutshell, Del Tor was "absolutely petrified" by how fans would react to the preview, another indication of just how personal Pacific Rim is to him. After uproarious approval by the Comic-Con crowd, the mood is set to dive into the inner workings of the film. From the pilots (and actors) that control the Jaegers, to the war machines themselves, Kaiju creation, set designs and beyond, Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters covers it all in riveting detail. One of my favorite sections is on the Jaeger, each mech given at least a four page spread packed with concept art, schematics, and even a mini blueprint that comes attached in the book on a separate piece of stock paper. The multi-media approach to the book continues throughout, the publisher offering nice glossy passcards for the Jaeger pilots, stickers for the Jaeger unit's insignia, sketches from Del Toro and cool anatomical drawings of inside the Kaiju. Stuffed secretly away in the back of the book in an envelope are two gorgeous full-color Pacific Rim propaganda posters. The entire book is extremely polished and well-written. I had this wide fanboy grin on my face all while digesting the awesomness of Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters. About the only critique I have - which is to be expected with a book like this - is that there are some significant spoilers inside. If you don't mind finding out which robot/monster lives, dies and everything else in between, then dive right in. For the rest that want an untainted movie-going experience, skim through the pictures, but read the book after seeing Pacific Rim.
Whether or not Pacific Rim lives up to my expectactions (it will), Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters is just what the doctor ordered for this art book buff. Grab you copy now wherever books are sold, including Amazon where it's priced at just $30.78 for those with Prime.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Insight Editions
Last edited by JeffSaylor; 07-09-2013 at 05:19 PM.