Guillermo del Toro is a master of genre and commands a legion of fans, in part because he himself is open about his favorite movies and influences. He has been praised both for his originality and for his talent at paying homage to the classics. On Pacific Rim, he spoke of being influenced by Asian monster movies and other classic directors, but it’s clear that contemporary movies were on his mind, as well.
Here are seven movies that Pacific Rim seems to have borrowed from — and what they have in common.
1. Independence Day
The Crazy Quotable Speech By The Leader Who Returns To His Fighter Past
After they defeat the bad aliens the first time, they come back stronger than ever. So, you could see Independence Day as a prequel and it all falls into place.
The Ignored Scientists Who Make Brain Connections With Aliens And Figure Out Their Plans
In Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum’s nerdy-hot scientist character, David Levinson, is working to predict the timing of alien attacks. The wacky, alien-fetishing Dr. Okun is trying to get inside their bodies, and ends up tapping into their brains, which fries him but good.
In Pacific Rim, Charlie Day is charming and credible like Goldblum (his partner is the math whiz doing the predicting), and taps into the brain just like Okun.
2. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Monsters vs. Metal
Sure, the technology has most definitely gotten better, but the concept of an otherworldly monster from the bottom of the sea fighting a mechanical foil recalls this 1974 classic. Funny twist: the flesh and blood (well, rubber suit) Godzilla was the good guy in that movie.
Just An Overall Distaste For Bridges
Bridges provide the perfect target; they are conveyor belts of helpless humans, who can do nothing but stare and scream as a monster swats away the feeble ground on which they are suspended above the vast depths of cold water that promise certain death.
Incidentally, Legendary, the company that produced Pacific Rim, is also behind the upcoming Godzilla reboot, due out in 2014.
3. Tron: Legacy
The Female Hero With A Bob Haircut And The Hard-Jawed Blonde Male Hero
The costumes are pretty similar too.
Big. Freaking. Robots. With Swords
True, there are only so many forms a gigantic robot can take, but still, this is well-trod ground.
5. War of the Worlds
The Aliens Who Want Earth’s Resources and Hospitable Climate
We’re not the only ones who have been abusing the natural splendors of a resource-filled planet; in fact, other species on other big balls of rock have been even more reckless, which is why they’re trying to get their hands (tentacles?) on Earth’s forests, water, etc.
Also, these shots are pretty similar, no?
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Attempt To “Explore” Another Person’s Brain
To operate the big Jaeger fighting machines, two pilots in Pacific Rim have to “drift” together — meaning that they connect brains and can see each other’s thoughts and memories, the latter of which they’re always trying to ignore. In Eternal Sunshine, the two lovers try to erase their own memories, but nefarious doctors tap into their minds, and they end up trying to escape the deletion of past traumas that shape their very beings.
7. The Avengers
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