Films based on comic books are huge now a days, and this trend doesn’t seem to show any signs of dying off any time soon. With thousands of different super heroes, super villains, and universes to be explored, movie makers have plenty of source material to base their scripts on. But are there any instances of the movie coming before the comic book? The film Pacific Rim , the brain child of Guillermo del Toro, seems to fit that rare case where the world and events of the film’s story were created before the comic book.
Now, it is true that the comic book itself came out barely a month before the feature film, but the story for the film and the film itself were in production way before the comic book came into existence. Pacific Rim starts off in the year 2013 when the first ever Kaiju (Japanese word meaning “strange creature” or monster) appear through an inter-dimensional portal called “The Breach” in the ocean floor and begin to decimate coastal cities around the world. Fast-forward to 2025 after years of trying to defeat the monsters, world leaders decide to pull the plug on the Jaeger program, the human races’s only line of offense against the Kaiju. A Jaeger is a giant robot that is piloted by two people who act as the left and right sides of the brain for the robot. These pilots are hard to come by since they must be “drift compatible” or able to mentally connect with the other person to act as one conscientiousness. Stacker Pentecost, the head of the Jaeger program, brings retired pilot Raleigh Beckett together with Mako Mori, a young woman he had raised from childhood after she lost her parents during the attack on Toyko, to fight in the final battle between human-kind and the Kaiju.
The movie itself can definitely stand alone as its own storyline, and truly appears that way since (SPOILERS) the end of the movie results in “The Breach” being destroyed. Throughout the movie though there are quite a number of flash backs that range from focusing on Raleigh’s past, Mako’s past, and Stacker Pentecost’s past as well. Though these flash backs do give the audience a great deal of information and backstory into what happened at the very beginning of the Kaiju war, they still don’t quite explain everything.
The graphic novel recounts in detail the how the war against the kaiju began, how the Jaeger program began and how characters such as Stacker Pentecost and Tendo Choi ended up in the positions of power that they hold in the feature film. The comic was a result of having so much world building material and backstory planning left over from what they couldn’t fit into the film. In this instance, the graphic novel aids the movie, providing answers to questions about the beginning of the war that the movie isn’t able to answer due to time constraints. The film can easily be viewed without reading the graphic novel, since the film’s story stands alone, but reading the graphic novel before or after you go see the film wouldn’t detract from the experience Pacific Rim provides.