Director Guillermo del Toro’s monsters versus machines film Pacific Rim is a summer spectacle that sets out to be different from other movies of its kind.

The Mexican-born filmmaker says he thinks of it as a family movie, since he deliberately tried to create the kind of story that would have won him over at age 12.

Set for release July 12, Pacific Rim features gigantic machines fighting monsters from the deep, hitting one of the Hellboy director's favourite themes: monsters.  

'I want to make the movie about when we are losing and we are the resistance and we are against an oppressive force that is so big that all we have left is each other'—Guillermo del Toro

"My love for monsters began literally when I was still in the crib. I fell in love with monsters because I love celebrating imperfection with really perfect images," del Toro said in an interview with CBC’s Q cultural affairs show.

"I like to create really beautiful images — really beautiful artificial moments — to celebrate people being imperfect and the world being imperfect. Pacific Rim is part of that," he continued.

Fear of big budgets

The Pacific Rim budget was more than $100 million US, a figure del Toro freely admits scared him, because he thought he would lose creative control. In fact, he tells CBC's Eli Glasner, it ended up being one of his most personal movies.

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Charlie Hunnam, left, as Raleigh Becket and Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori in the sci-fi action adventure Pacific Rim. (Kerry Hayes/Warner Bros. Pictures/Associated Press)

"It really was a creative freedom I’ve never experienced before," he said.

Del Toro also said he refused to make a film that serves as a recruitment video for the military.

"I tried to show, for example, not one ideology or one race or one country saving the world — it is a movie that is very anti-jingoistic, very international by design," he said.

He co-wrote the script to tell a story that was more about unity than about victory.

"I don’t want to make a movie about the beginning of war and when we are winning… I want to make the movie about when we are losing and we are the resistance and we are against an oppressive force that is so big that all we have left is each other," he said.

Del Toro calls this the "sweet heart" of his movie, which also avoids mass killing of people and harkens back to his childhood favourites such as Godzilla, where buildings and tanks are all that get crushed.

"Every decision in the movie is to create a summer spectacle that somehow goes against the grain of a summer spectacle," he said.

In the video above, del Toro talks about why he loves making movies in Toronto and why Pacific Rim is the most "light-hearted" of his movies.