Guillermo Del Toro and the ‘Pacific Rim’ cast explain ‘the Drift’

One of the things I’ve heard a few people bring up several times when discussing Guillermo Del Toro’s new film “Pacific Rim” is the idea that you need to pilots to make the Jaegers work. I’ve heard people who readily accepted the premise of giant monsters versus giant robots hesitate suddenly when it comes to the notion of a neural link between the pilots in these things.

There’s a new featurette online today that explains a bit more about what they’re calling “The Drift,” which was one of the big ideas present from the very start when Travis Beacham first pitched the project. While it is definitely a big science-fiction idea, the reason it is part of “Pacific Rim” is part logic, and part emotional opportunity.

After all, it is established that the connection between these pilots is more than just a working relationship. It is a fully symbiotic psychological connection that happens. Indeed, it has to happen if they’re going to be an effective team. That’s one of the reasons Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is initially teamed up with his brother Yancy, and when Yancy is killed, that’s why Raleigh washes out as a pilot completely. There is a deep intimacy that exists between any team of pilots, and when Raleigh is finally brought back to the program, he is forced to build a new relationship with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), and much of the film’s tension is about whether these two people can open up completely to one another.

As much as I know Guillermo’s going to have fun with the massive monster vs. robot mayhem in the film, the reason I feel like it’s got a shot at being something special is because of the human element. This featurette gives you some examples of what sort of psychic intimacy is created by the Drift, and I think it’s the best explanation yet of the way it plays a role in the film’s plot.

“Pacific Rim” opens on July 12th.