It's not the first time, even within recent memory, that world events have overshadowed the silly little movies that we write about, but given the terrible events in Japan and the Pacific overnight, which are still ongoing, Guillermo Del Toro's new project "Pacific Rim" is looking like a rather less carefree proposition than it did when it was formally announced at the start of the week.
Legendary Pictures have been developing the project with "Clash of the Titans" scribe Travis Beacham, but it's been kept pretty much under wraps, other than it involving 'malevolent creatures' threatening Earth, and most assuming that it was a spin on the giant monster movie sub-genre. Now, News In Film have got their hands on a draft of the script, and, while the premise has crystallized somewhat, it's also, through happenstance, left something of a bad taste in the mouth this morning (and obviously if you don't know to know anything about the film stop reading here).
Beacham's script is apparently set in a world where, in November 2012, a giant creature, or kaiju, emerges from a hole in the Pacific Ocean and attacked Osaka in Japan. After this, more and more creatures have emerged over the years, causing even more devastation, and decades on, humanity has developed something called the "Jaeger" program.
This teams two pilots, with a neural link, who together operate enormous robotic weaponry capable of battling the monsters. One such driver is the hero -- 23-year-old Raleigh Antrobus, who's grieving the loss of his brother and co-pilot on a mission a year earlier. Raleigh is sent to Tokyo and teamed with another "leftover," a Japanese pilot called Mako Mori. Meanwhile, there's a parallel storyline going on with Felicity "Flick" Kincaid, the former fiance of Raleigh's dead brother, traveling the world to try and discover the cause of the rift.
The site also suggest that at some stage, the heroes will cross over to the "Anteverse," the other side of the portal, which they promise will give Del Toro a good opportunity for the world-creation that's become his trademark. The concept seems decent enough, for this kind of massive tentpole, albeit fairly derivative of Japanese anime, and News In Film praise Beacham's script to the skies, although we can't speak to its quality until we get our hands on it ourselves (hint...).
However, the big question here is how recent events will impact the film. Pre-production is already underway, and Del Toro's meant to begin shooting in September. While the scale of the destruction in Japan, and elsewhere in the Pacific, is still emerging (and it should hopefully go without saying that our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected) , we could barely stomach writing this article this morning, so we can only imagine that Del Toro and others will not be feeling so good about going to work on a film which, by concept, revolves around destruction in the Pacific.
Having said that, the disaster movie has proved extraordinarily resilient in the face of actual human tragedy -- the original "Godzilla" movies essentially derived from the dropping of nuclear weapons on Japan at the end of the Second World War, and, while some predicted the end of glorified big-screen destruction after 9/11, it took less than three for years for Roland Emmerich to once again trash New York in "The Day After Tomorrow," a film which grossed half a billion dollars worldwide.
Like we said, it's all still unfolding in front of us, but we suspect that the film's development won't necessarily be affected. More will emerge in the days and weeks that follow. In the meantime, for anyone concerned about loved ones in Japan, there's a Google Person Finder for Japan here, as well as a list of emergency numbers and shelters in the country.