In between the giant tidal waves, monsters and massive robots pounding each other to scrap, there's a little piece of Dundas hiding in Pacific Rim.
The film is set in the future, when a dimensional rift has opened and the Kaiju, monsters from another world, are invading Earth. Humanity is protected by giant robots called Jaegers — a kind of natural extension of the Voltron cartoons from the 80s.
The robots are mostly CGI magic. But if you haven't seen the film yet, look closely at the computers you see onscreen — they were all built at Hamilton Scenic Specialty in Dundas.
"We're just quietly chugging things out over here," owner Mike Kukucska told CBC Hamilton. Kukucska has seen the movie twice now, and says he's very proud of the work his company has done.
"They played quite prominently," he said. "It was neat to think these things were in a small Dundas shop and now it's in a Hollywood film."
Kukucska says counting "pure eyeballs that have seen the film," Pacific Rim is probably his company's highest profile work. "Though ironically, the movie isn't doing that well," he laughed. (The film cost $180 million to make and has made just under $100 million domestically).
But Hamilton Scenic Specialty is no stranger to big jobs. They've built sets and props for Warhorse, The Lion King, The Blue Man Group and The Toxic Avenger, to name a few. The company's first project was actually Mamma Mia in New York, which was the first major Broadway opening post-9/11, Kukucska says.
"It was a huge event. Red carpet, limos — it was pretty wild."
The Pacific Rim project was intensive — the 18 pieces the company was commissioned to build took about five weeks to complete. The film's design team sent specific designs to the company, which they then had to figure out how to build. Pieces were cut out little by little and assembled as units before the crew shipped them off to Paragon Props in Oakville for finishing.
Kukucska has been in the business of furniture and prop design and building for 25 years. He says there's a bit of a dip in the industry right now — but that ebb and flow is normal.
"Those 'mega-musicals' seem like they're dying a slow death right now," he said. "But that's just the nature of the beast, and it's always been that way."