Pacific Rim: Uprising
Pacific Rim: Uprising is the definition of an un-needed sequel. Director Steven S. DeKnight fails to capture the same energy and magic as Guillermo Del Toro's first film, instead pumping out a film that feels heartless, loud and void of any redeeming values.
Steven S. DeKnight‘s Pacific Rim: Uprising is a surprisingly unnecessary sequel that follows the original story of Pacific Rim, which was helmed by the great Guillermo Del Toro in 2013. Uprising has many faults, including a piss-poor story and shallow characters, but its greatest failure is that it lacks heart and imagination, with Del Toro’s previously large and immersive world getting traded in for a copycat Transformers film that looks and feels like all of the rest.
It has been years since the portal was closed, vanquishing the alien Kaiju creatures from wreaking havoc on Earth. The Jaeger program is slowly starting to outdate itself, with a new company promising drone machines that can replace the man-powered mech suites that once saved our world from complete annihilation.
But something’s off and soon what’s left of the Jaegers must face their greatest challenge yet against a new breed of Kaijus that are looking for some serious revenge.
Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim still holds up to this day as one of the better blockbuster movies of recent years. Del Toro’s attention to detail and appreciation of scope and scale knocked even the best Michael Bay Transformers film flat on its ass.
Pacific Rim was big, bad ass and most of all important — creative. Del Toro’s ability to create monsters and worlds is unlike any other, which made this sequel an instant step-down, not to mention the fact that the original film did poorly in the US and this sequel was basically greenlit to please overseas audiences.
A sequel automatically pushed forward for the sole sake of international money is never a good thing, especially when the original director and man that put his heart and soul into it walked away from the project during its early stages.
Gone are basically all of the important characters of the first film and in are John Boyega (of Star Wars fame), Scott Eastwood (of no fame) and Cailee Spaeny (of no idea).
Oddly enough, Scott Eastwood isn’t the worst part of the film.
That’s not saying that he’s all that great, but he’s equally unimpressive, when compared to Boyega and Spaeny. The cast seems about as uninterested in the film as most audiences and it bleeds through the screen.
Boyega tries to spin on his sweet charms and smiles and it occasionally floats a joke across the barrier of emotionless void, but most of Pacific Rim: Uprising plays as a film unconcerned with emotion or internal drive and instead fueled by pointless monster/mech mayhem.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good old-fashioned CGI slobber-knockers, but not when there are no stakes. The first film was driven by a story that was backed up by impressive CGI sequences.
The second film moves stiffly from scene-to-scene solely just to come up with an excuse to showoff some of the budget. Gone are the details of Del Toro and in are DeKnight’s zoomed-up and polished camera techniques.
There’s absolutely no feeling for space or size here. The Jaegers could be twenty feet tall or five-hundred feet tall for all I knew and that confusion is because of DeKnight’s inability to place the camera anywhere special or different.
Del Toro managed to capture the awe and general massive nature of the mechs and monsters, but DeKnight simply wants to capture them jumping around and firing off bullets. Cities are conveniently evacuated in under five minutes, so that these battles can just roll on wherever and whenever they please.
There is absolutely no sense of caution or urgency.
I walked into Pacific Rim: Uprising prepared for the worst, but hoping that maybe something about it could be big, fun and brainless and boy was I right on that last one. Big, not sure, hard to tell. Fun? Not really. Brainless? Check.
Nothing about Pacific Rim: Uprising makes any sense and that’s okay, because audiences are simply asked to jam some sugary sweets down their mouth as their eyeballs try to follow what is going on the screen, without ever really needing to know why or how.
Nothing about Uprising should have ever left the concept stage, but studios got to get their cash somehow.