Pacific Rim Uprising

2018-03-23 08:18

What it's about:

Jake Pentecost in a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his own life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju.” Jake has since abandoned his training, only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But, when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, his estranged sister gives him one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy.

What we thought:

When Guillermo del Toro brought out the first Pacific Rim, it was a surprise for everyone that this serious horror director got at the helm of a CGI-fest of robots smashing monsters – but it ended up being quite entertaining for most.

Five years later, although many may not have felt there was a need for a sequel, Del Toro handed over the directorial reins to Buffy and Angel TV writer Steven S. DeKnight and what we ended up with a goofier film that still remained as much fun as the first – if not more. We have a strong cast helmed by the most charming John Boyega who somehow manages to have chemistry with the wooden Scott Eastwood and newcomer Cailee Spaeny is the epitome of girl power. Pacific Rim Uprising is what Transformers should have been if Michael Bay had stayed far, far away from the writing room.

It’s been 10 years since the Battle of the Breach and the victory over the Precursors, and the world has returned to a life pre-Kaiju. A new threat however appears from within those meant to protect the world, and it’s up to a new generation of Jaeger pilots to cancel the apocalypse.
Boyega plays the son of sacrificial hero of the first Pacific Rim Stacker Pentecost, played by smooth-talking Idris Elba, and is the typical ‘can’t-live-up-to-his-father’s-name’ thief who is forced to return to the Jaeger defence-force after getting in trouble with the law.

He’s less serious than Charlie Hunnam’s character in the first one, and the director does not shy away from Boyega’s comedic talent. The actor also has this ability to burn chemistry with the whole cast, making everyone comfortable and giving their best. Eastwood has never really been more than just a pretty face, but his verbal tussles with Boyega breaks through that Eastwood glare and gets him to act with some range. Boyega was also a good booster for Spaeny, who plays a teenager that manages to build her own small Jaeger and is placed in the pilot programme after getting arrested. Her character is decently written without being the love interest of anyone, similar to Rinko Kikuchi in the previous movie, and she is just generally amazing.

Although it’s not the most complicated story, Pacific Rim Uprising has quite a good script for such a CGI-heavy movie and ties up the whole plot into a neat package that’s logical and goofy at the same time. A four-star rating may seem high for this kind of film, but it’s not trying to compete with the Shape of Water – it’s a good movie in terms of its genre and its refreshing to watch a coherent script being played out that doesn’t depend on its smash-factor to keep the audience entertained – both kids and adults.

I would however recommend that you see the first one if you haven’t yet, as key characters return and it’s good to know their backstory in order to understand what’s happening in Uprising. It’s set a standard in the world of monster movies, and the Monsterverse of King Kong and Godzilla should take notes (Transformers is too far gone to recover any resemblance of a good movie).

Although I am sure that the Asian markets will devour Pacific Rim Uprising at the box office, I just hope it sells enough seats to get us the third one – which they have set up nicely so far as long as Boyega returns. 

I am however wary of turning this into a franchise, as it does not have the kind of longevity to keep audiences interested like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars. There is also a possibility of it crossing over with the Monsterverse, which I am also hesitant by, as Kaijus and Jaegers already work well enough in their own contained universe – why mess with a formula that works?

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