Pacific Rim Uprising
Pacific Rim: A Loud, CGI-heavy sequel with a Lackluster Storyline
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Pacific Rim: Uprising opens with a clichéd introduction of Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and gives away its storyline, right at the beginning. While his father, Stackler Pentecost (Idris Elba) was a celebrated pilot and known for his heroism, all that Jake does is parties and sells stolen Jaeger parts for living. He is not interested in doing anything serious or even following in the footsteps of his father. Following a tussle between Jake and a fearless teen, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) who builds her own Jaeger from scrap, both Jake and Amara find themselves in the Jaeger training academy.
The debut directorial of Steven S. DeKnight, a sequel to the 2013 science fiction movie, Pacific Rim is a blatant showcase of CGI effects riddled and yawn-inducing robotic actions. The lead characters Jake, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and Jules Reyes (Adria Arjona) lack the depth seen in the characters of the original film. Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Dr. Newton Geislzler (Charlie Day) retain get to play their characters from the original and they outshine the lead characters in performance and induce pure nostalgia.
In Pacific Rim: Uprising, the Kaijus are back, but as Jaegers with Kaiju brain and blood. The 2013, movie had less of robots and pure Kaiju action, reminiscent of Godzilla and the monsters in Power Rangers. The sequel tends to have more of robots and less of Kaiju action, more reminiscent of the Transformers franchise.
Among the lead characters, Amara excels in her role as a spunky teenager, who puts up a great fight against the Kaijus, especially in the climax sequence. The sequel also chooses to create a remix of the original Pacific Rim soundtrack and does complete disservice to it. It also doesn’t help that the tracks are completely unnecessary in certain sequences. The attempted humor between Nate and Jake also falls flat and the chemistry between Jules and Nate is unconvincing.
The 2013 Pacific Rim had a certain level of earnestness to it, which the sequel sadly lacks. Director Guillermo del Toro went on to direct the Oscar-winning film, The Shape of Water after stepping down for the sequel, paving the way for director Steven. The sequel tries to increase the scale of the production trying to make it bigger and better but it turns out to be mindless and loud in parts.
The climax hints another sequel to the movie. It remains to be seen if director Guillermo would be back at the helm in the movie’s third outing with his old cast with less of CGI-induced action and more of Pacific Rim’s core narrative.