Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim has gained a cult following since it punched its way into theaters in 2013. It's a movie that celebrates the simple pleasures in life—giant aliens, and the giant robots that fight them.
There are lots of reasons for Pacific Rim's enduring appeal: perhaps people are drawn to the diverse and lovable cast. Perhaps people just really love listening to Idris Elba deliver epic end-of-the-world speeches. Maybe people love the enigmatic relationship between Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) and Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam), who together pilot a giant alien-fighting mecha called a Jaeger. Personally, I fall into all three of those camps.
Thankfully, another Pacific Rim movie comes out March 23rd, although del Toro didn’t direct the new project. As we wait for Jaegers to punch their way into our hearts again, check out these nine other movies like Pacific Rim.
This gothic romance from Guillermo del Toro doesn’t have a single robot or alien in it, but it does have a very cool visual aesthetic and a ton of imaginative monsters that will probably appeal to Pacific Rim fans.
After her father is brutally murdered in a bath house, aspiring author Edith (Mia Wasikowska) marries Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a mysterious baron who moved to New York with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Edith returns with the Sharpes to their native England, where she joins them at Crimson Peak, their hilariously dilapidated and ominous mansion. Edith’s new husband is cold and distant, and her sister-in-law seems jealous of the new addition to the family. Over time, Edith realizes that she’s caught up in a horror mystery tale spookier than anything she could have ever penned.
Like Pacific Rim, Crimson Peaks subverts some tropes that are typically seen in genre movies. Many sci-fi or horror movies relegate women to love interests or titillating background for the stories of male characters, but both movies challenge those expectations.
Kong: Skull Island
What’s that? Crimson Peak doesn’t have enough giant monsters for you? Then perhaps Kong: Skull Island will be more to your tastes.
Set in 1973, it follows a group of cryptozoologists, journalists, and Vietnam War vets on an expedition to the recently-discovered Skull Island. Soon after landfall, the team is attacked by a massive ape (Kong himself!) who scatters them across the island. The survivors will face more danger from similarly enormous creatures, including giant ants and massive reptilian creatures called “Skullcrawlers." The remaining members of the team join forces with World War II soldier Hank Marlow, (John C. Reilly) who has been marooned on the island for decades.
Kong: Skull Island has an enjoyably giddy feeling throughout. It never takes itself too seriously, and delivers some serious giant-monster-on-giant-monster smackdowns.
One of the most memorable moments in Pacific Rim is when Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) delivers a rousing speech about humanity coming together to cancel the apocalypse. The only end of the world speech that compares is Bill Pullman’s iconic third act speech as President Whitmore from Independence Day. When aliens attack Earth over Fourth of July weekend, everyone must forego their barbecue plans in favor of punching aliens in the face and saving the planet.
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
Like Pacific Rim, Edge of Tomorrow features a man and a woman coming together as an elite fighting team to save the damn day. Based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, it features an incredible performance by Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski, a Special Forces fighter nicknamed the Angel of Verdun. Rita led the United Defense Forces in their sole victory against an invading alien race called Mimics. But now, the Mimics are winning the war.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) has no combat experience but finds himself thrown into battle as the Mimics invade France. When Cage is killed by a Mimic, he loops back in time to the day before. With the help of Rita, Cage learns that his contact with Mimic blood exposed him to the aliens' ability to reset time. The accomplished warrior and the pencil-pusher must work together to relive the day of the brutal battle over and over again to save humanity.
This Gareth Edwards-directed movie is a reboot of Toho's Godzilla franchise, and the 30th Godzilla movie ever made. The movie's cast of characters are a lot less developed than Pacific Rim's, but what it lacks in character development, it makes up for in scary shots of the King of the Monsters wreaking devastation across the U.S.. Whether causing a tsunami in Hawaii or wrecking Las Vegas, Godzilla's swath of destruction is epic and gripping. The climactic battle between The Big Lizard and another titanic monster is the dumb, fun high point of the film.
In Pacific Rim, the earth-wrecking Kaiju enter our dimension through a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. But in Stargate, we humans are the ones who use a portal to visit an alternate dimension and cause havoc (or be total heroes, depending on how you view the movie).
The first title in a now-sprawling franchise, Stargate features young James Spader as floppy-haired linguist Daniel Jackson. Jackson is brought to a military base to examine the hieroglyphs on mysterious stones discovered by a deceased archaeologist. While translating the marks on the stones, Jackson opens a wormhole through which he and some soldiers travel to a desert planet similar to ancient Egypt.
Unable to find the coordinates to return home, the team remains on the planet and learn startling truths about the origin of the ancient Egyptian god Ra. But soon Ra himself arrives, intent on murdering the Earthling newcomers and taking his anger out on the indigenous people of the planet.
If you like the giant-monsters-emerging-from-the-water-to-destroy-civilization aspect of Pacific Rim, then check out The Host. The 2006 movie from Okja and Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho opens with a malformed aquatic beast emerging from South Korea's Han River and wreaking destruction.
The creature takes off with Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung), and her bumbling father Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) must track her down. Daughter and father try to outwit the creature in order to reunite with each other, even as the government warns that the horrifying monster is actually host for something far more deadly.
This reboot of the Saban franchise features a charismatic cast, surprisingly bold writing, and, naturally, lots of mecha-on-aliens action.
When a group of small-town teens meet in the aftermath of an explosion at a local mine, they each take mysterious coins that they find in the rubble. Soon, they develop superhuman strength and speed, and return to the mine for answers. The group of five learn that they have taken on the mantle of the Power Rangers, an intergalactic fighting force that protects Earth from Rita Repulsa, a conniving space-witch bent on world domination.
The movie's goofy earnestness makes it seem like more than just a shameless bid to capitalize on the nostalgia of millennials and Generation X-ers who were raised on the franchise. By the time the newest generation of rangers take control of their mecha dinosaur suits to save their hometown from Rita Repulsa, you'll be sincerely rooting for these plucky teens.
The first movie in the Cloverfield anthology series, this 2008 film was hugely influential on the found footage genre. It uses footage from a video recorder found in the area "formerly known as Central Park" to tell the story of New York's last night.
Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is about to move to Japan, despite recently revealing his love for Beth (Odette Annable). During Rob's going away party, the city is rocked by what is first believed to be an earthquake. But it soon becomes clear to Rob and his friends that something is extremely wrong. As a mysterious creature destroys Manhattan, their desperate attempt to escape the island is told through claustrophobic (and occasionally nausea-inducing) footage.
Featured still from "Pacific Rim" via Warner Bros. Pictures
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