A Synopsis of an Epic Battle Between Jaegers and Kaiju
On July 12, 2013, fans of robot and monster movies alike were in for a treat, as that was when Guillermo del Toro’s film Pacific Rim finally hit theaters. Only this time, the robots weren’t called robots and the monsters weren’t called monsters – the robots in this film are referred to as Jaegers, a term derived from the German word for “hunter,” and the monsters are called Kaiju, with “kaiju” being Japanese for “strange beast” and the genre that gave us films such as Godzilla and Gamera. But what’s the deal with this film, and what can you expect from it if you haven’t seen it yet?
Yeah right... you’ve seen it plenty!
(Spoiler Warning – Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You...!)
The backdrop for this film is the rise of the Kaiju; big, monstrous creatures that emerged from the sea and took millions of lives in the process. They began emerging from a dimensional portal on the floor of the Pacific Ocean in 2013, the same year as Pacific Rim’s release. In an effort to put a stop to these beasts, giant robots were developed and piloted by two humans mentally linked to each other. These robots were christened Jaegers and were pretty much the only weapon we had against the seemingly unstoppable Kaiju threat.
Still, the efforts of these Jaegers weren’t enough in many cases, and one of the longest-serving of these robots, America’s Gipsy Danger, was retired after one of its pilots was killed in a battle against the Kaiju called Knifehead. While the monster eventually fell to Gipsy Danger, co-pilot Yancy Becket was killed, devastating his brother and co-pilot Raleigh, who eventually retired from piloting Jaegers.
With mankind at the mercy of the Kaiju as of 2025, Jaeger commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) did what he could to launch a final salvo against the monsters, and that included convincing Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) to pilot Gipsy Danger for the first time since 2020, when his brother was killed in the battle against Knifehead. Becket would team up with a new co-pilot, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), the woman in charge of an ongoing Jaeger refurbishment initiative. Becket and Mori are essentially humanity’s final hope against the ever-powerful Kaiju, but one question the movie asks is whether they can work together as a team despite their own traumatic experiences (Mori was orphaned by a Kaiju attack) and Mori’s inexperience?
Aside from Hunnam, Elba, and Kikuchi, Pacific Rim also starred Charlie Day as scientist Dr. Newton Geiszler, Ron Perlman as black marketer Hannibal Chau, Robert Kazinsky as Australian Jaeger pilot Chuck Hansen, and Max Martini as Chuck’s co-pilot and father Herc Hansen. The film was developed by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
All in all, it could be said that Pacific Rim was a critical and commercial success. It was filmed on a budget of $200 million, and grossed $101.8 million in North America. However, it was most popular in global markets, grossing $309.2 million outside of the U.S. and Canada, for a total of $411 million.
The film was especially successful in China, where it ranks as the sixth-highest grossing American film in the country’s box office history.