Pacific Rim Uprising - 2018
Director(s): Steven S. DeKnight
Writer(s): Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin
Cinematography by: Dan Mindel
Editor(s): Dylan Highsmith, Josh Schaeffer and Zach Staenberg
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman, Charlie Day and Tian Jing
Synopsis: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat (IMDB).
I remember being beyond excited for Pacific Rim before it came out back in 2013. I was, and still am, a huge Guillermo Del Toro fan and up to that point he had been focused on stories with monsters of a smaller scale. Yes, he had ventured to a big scale monster like the one in the first Hellboy, but compared to what he gave us in Pacific Rim, it looks like a puppy now. Giving Del Toro a blockbuster budget to essentially play with his toys produced one of the most entertaining movies of that year. My inner child was completely entertained. Giant monsters versus Giant Robots, shot in a compelling way with a paper-thin plot that is just enough to get us from point A to point B. The sequel attempts by Del Toro fell through on multiple occasions and I gave up hope on the project when he announced he was moving on to other projects (Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water). Del Toro now serves as producer and the directorial duties fall to director Steven S. DeKnight.
This time around the plot is even thinner than the original. The son of the hero from the original tries to both make his own path in the world and live up to the standards set by his father. Oh, it sounds familiar? Almost like you have seen it countless times before. Interesting. Fine, how about the new cadet that’s used to doing things her own way and is forced to learn to co-exist in the military? Still familiar? How about that same cadet facing push back from one of her fellow recruits but ultimately earning her respect? Nothing still…? Well it doesn’t matter we came here for the robots fighting the monsters.
Quick note: it’s not just that the script is drowning in warned-out tropes, the dialogue is at times annoying and mostly flat out cheesy. Charley Day is a funny man but in this movie he is horrible. Every time they cut back to his plot line I wanted to scream “Get back to the robots!”.
First time director Steven S. DeKnight is best known for his television work in Smallville, Daredevil and Spartacus. He is very well familiar with the framing and shooting of a fight scene. This time around he just needed to do it on a grand scale and for the most part he did a great job. The action is easy to follow, unlike a Transformers movie, and keeps the audience engaged and entertained, unlike a Transformers movie. My biggest qualm from his style is that he tips the scale a bit in the over use of slow-motion “cool” shots. Every now and again a well-placed slow-motion sequence can help elevate an action scene,but when it’s over used it becomes a little annoying.
The CGI this time around was less focused on being detailed oriented and more anime like. I felt I was watching a movie of the Gundam series and I liked it. The fights weren’t all at night and in the rain allowing the audience to appreciate the robots and the monsters as they destroy each-other and the city around them. It was funny that they had a very specific line that stated no humans where inside the buildings. So, the audience wouldn’t worry about the potential countless deaths.
Quick note: John Boyega is one of the most charming actors working today. Despite being paired with a human cardboard in Scott Eastwood (he can’t act his way out of an empty chair) he still shined. I came out thinking, what if he was in the original Pacific Rim instead of Charlie? Imagine the potential.
Pacific Rim Uprising is an ok movie. I didn’t feel offended by paying to see it, but I’m not jumping in excitement at the potential of watching it again like the original. The action is fine, the plot is more recycled than a cup of Starbucks and the acting isn’t anything to write about outside of Boyega. They teased a potential sequel in the end and I hope that if they pull the trigger they go on a more interesting route. I would still say that if you are a fan of the original, more than likely you will find some enjoyment from this sequel. Del Toro continues to be why I love movies.
Pacific Rim Uprising is currently playing in theaters. For fans of the original: go ahead. The rest, meh.
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