Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

Pacific Rim
Man, Machines & Monsters
The Inner Workings of an Epic Film (Hardback)


Author: David S. Cohen
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £29.99, US $45.00
ISBN: 978 1 78116 818 9
Publication Date: 18 June 2013

Ah! The summer has finally arrived and with it a host of genre films to pack the cinemas to delight the young and the young at heart. One of those films will be Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim and with every blockbuster a plethora of film related merchandise will rain from the heavens, some great and some trash.

One of the staples of summer films is the tie-in book and Pacific Rim is no different with the book of the film written by David S. Cohen, I haven’t seen the film but if it’s half as good as the book, I’m already in love. Published by Titan Books it is fitting, for a film about scale, giant monsters, and giant robot suits, that the book should be equally, ridiculously big. This sucker is eleven and a half inches by ten and a half and heavy.

On the outside it has a good quality, shiny dust jacket, in fact ploughing through this mammoth of a book the word quality returns again and again. Venturing into the book it consists of good quality, heavy paper, which shows off the illustrations and photographs perfectly. One oddity, which is immediately noticeable, is that there are few page numbers and the ones that exist are tiny. So, we will have to take a tour via the general concepts displayed.

The book opens with a one page forward by the man himself, Del Toro, a quick introduction to the film and his feelings about it. The book is roughly broken up into four sections, each looking at a different aspect. The first quarter of the book opens with a section on Monster in the Mist, which covers the script, story and characters, before moving on to the individual factions which contribute to the project.

Part two, The Crazy Kids in the Submarine, takes a tour through the art and design, skips through storyboarding before arriving at the massive suits. Each suit has a number of pages devoted to it. Part Three, Doing it for Real, takes in shooting and production, special effects and the sets, leaving the last section, Simulating the Apocalypse, to cover effects, music and the monsters.

I’ve collected a lot of these books over the years and they generally follow a standard design, this, however, was something special. Sure, the book is big and heavy, certainly the paper is high quality, but it’s the contents which blow you away as well as the thought which has gone into them. The scale allows for pictures which are twenty-two inches across, and the paper brings out the best in both photographs and illustration, of which there are an overabundance.

The first things which sets this book apart from the usual fare is the text rich pages, this is not a book which is going to cost you twenty quid for a bunch of pictures and little else, regardless of how lovely they may be. The book goes into depth when looking at the making of the film. Usually to get both you would have to buy two different books.

I might be a big kid at heart but the thing which really impressed me was the stuff which was stuck between the pages, you get character ID passes, reproductions of Del Toro’s actual notes and original drawings, pieces of reproduced art scans of the suits and even stickers. Just about the only thing you don’t get is a copy of the film and a seat in the production meeting, but it comes pretty close.

It’s fair to say that this is probably the best tie-in book I have seen for a very long time and so I’ll end the gushing with a big fat, perfect...


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.