When you're making a movie about large robots fighting gigantic monsters, a lot of your action is going to be done through computer imagery. A director like Guillermo del Toro knows the best way to sell CGI is to mesh it with as much practical work as possible. In the latest featurette on the making of 'Pacific Rim,' del Toro talks about how he approached the special effects for his giant monster movie.
As he says, the robot heads were built as practical sets so del Toro could get his human cast to react as realistically as possible. The heads were designed to be like tanks where the characters were obviously acting within a lot of metal, but with these sets on gimbals, they could react to every movement in which the characters were engaged. Also, the sets could get flooded if need be.
Basically, everything del Toro says in this featurette makes the movie sound that much cooler, and 'Pacific Rim''s release date of July 12 can't get here fast enough. Here's the film's synopsis:
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.