Given the still-developing horrors in Japan and other areas of the Pacific, there probably couldn’t be a worse context in which to consider Guillermo del Toro’s Japan-based disaster film Pacific Rim, details of which were revealed today in one of the more ill-timed confluences of entertainment and world events in recent memory. As reported earlier, del Toro moved quickly to direct what he described only as a “monster movie” for Legendary Pictures after his H.P. Lovecraft adaptation At The Mountains Of Madness fell apart at Universal—a swift decision based partly on del Toro’s impatience to get back behind the camera after being mired in the eternal delays of The Hobbit. Now News In Film has gotten hold of a draft and is able to shed some light on the premise, and it definitely doesn’t sound quite as fun as it did 48 hours ago.

Pacific Rim is set in a world where, in November 2012, giant monsters began emerging from a hole in the Pacific Ocean and wreaking havoc on Japan, leaving the nation devastated, and all but wiping out the population. The film mostly takes place some decades later, when the only hope for the “leftovers” are giant battling robots commanded by young pilots, two of whom will head through the monsters’ portal to find the “Anteverse” and fight them there at the source. Obviously, this sounds like a worthy concept for del Toro, what with the combination of fantastical creatures and advanced technology, and the chance for him to create one of his patented magical worlds in the alternate monster universe. And more than likely, the film’s development will not be significantly affected by the tragedy in Japan, given that it’s not scheduled to begin filming until next fall and won’t see release until 2013. Still, if we were del Toro, we’d probably be feeling a little squeamish about hitting the storyboards today.