Guillermo del Toro is one of the most famous and unique directors in contemporary cinema, having already given life to several highly acclaimed productions – such as “A Forma da Água”, “O Labyrinth of the Fauno” and the mini – ‘Hellboy’ franchise, to name a few. However, we are celebrating a title that may not be well known in the director’s filmography, but deserves our attention: ‘Circle of Fire’.
Released in 2013, the story centers around a horde of monsters known as Kaiju who rise up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to bring chaos and despair to the planet. To combat them, humanity is developing a series of gigantic robots, the Jaegers, each controlled by two people via a neural connection. However, even the Jaegers prove insufficient to defeat the Kaiju. Faced with this scenario, the last hope is an old, obsolete robot, who just happens to be commanded by a former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and trainer (Rinko Kikuchi).
Well received by critics, the film was praised for its visual effects and action sequences, in addition to receiving comments on its nostalgia character. With over $ 400 million in worldwide box office revenue, “Circle of Fire” is considered one of the great tributes to the anime, kaiju, and mecha aesthetic.
To celebrate its impending eight-year anniversary, CinePOP has put together a short list with some behind-the-scenes trivia, which you can check out below:
About a hundred Kaijus and a hundred Jaegers were created, but only a fraction of them appeared in the film. Each week, directors and producers voted for their favorites. Screenwriter Travis Beacham also signed the graphic novel “Circle of Fire: Tales of Year Zero”. Released at the same time as the film, the work enters as a prologue to the main events and takes place twelve years before the original narrative. Beacham got the idea for the story while walking along the California coast on a misty morning. The shape of a pier resembled a creature emerging from the water – and he imagined a grand robot patiently waiting to fight it.
Jaegers are part of Japanese anime culture, where they are commonly referred to as mecha. Like productions of the genre, Jaegers are controlled from the inside by human pilots, distinguishing themselves from other portraits of robots, such as those controlled from the outside or by the mind. For the film, Del Toro drew inspiration from paintings such as “El Coloso” by Francisco Goya and “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai. Several countries have created their own Jaegers including: United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Russia, Singapore, India, Philippines, Denmark, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and many more. Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Aaron Paul, Luke Bracey, and Henry Cavill were seen as the protagonist Raleigh Becket in the production. Eventually, the role went to Hunnam.
Karloff, one of the kaijus in the film’s opening sequence, is named after legendary actor Boris Karloff. The nickname was given to the creature because its head is very similar to that of Imhotep, the main antagonist of the classic “The Mummy” (1932), played by Karloff. “Circle of Fire” is dedicated to several “masters of the monsters”, including Ray Harryhausen (host of films like “Simbad and the Princess”) and Ishiro Honda (director of “Godzilla”). In the end credits, Del Toro also thanks names like James Cameron, David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. In Hungary, trailers could not mention the name of the main robot, Gipsy Danger, as the nomenclature is offensive to the Roma, a large ethnic group in the country. However, the title refers to the De Havilland Gipsy Major aircraft engine, not the individuals in question.
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