Pacific Rim Uprising is an action sci-fi film which takes place 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim. Unlike its predecessor, Pacific Rim Uprising is directed by Steven S. DeKnight who has taken over the reins from Guillermo del Toro. Together with John Boyega and Scott Eastwood, the three combine their talent and craft to create the Pacific Rim sequel.
So, I hate to break it to you, but Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost is dead. He died in the last film. This is not a spoiler considering the original film came out 5 years ago. As the folks behind Pacific Rim Uprising understand we need some sort of continuity and eye-candy, we’re presented with Star Wars famed actor John Boyega to play the role of Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s character.
Jake is nothing like his authoritative and responsible father, living life day to day by stealing Jaeger parts from scrapyards, trading materialistic items for food and finding shelter by squatting in abandoned parts of the city that were never rebuilt after the Kaiju War. When Jake finds himself in trouble with the law, he is given an ultimatum to either go to jail or to become a Ranger and train new cadets to pilot Jaegers. Clearly, he chooses the second, otherwise we wouldn’t have a film. Everything is protocol and fine until a rogue Jaeger decides to come out to play and smash things.
I loved John Boyega. I think he’s so charismatic and cheekily charming as his character Jake. He doesn’t want to be back at the base for various reasons, but when he’s needed, he takes charge effortlessly and without question. I honestly would have liked to have seen more depth in his character and the storyline in general, but I believe the screenplay is to blame and not Boyega’s acting abilities. I did however enjoy the cheesy pop-culture references Jake subtly makes throughout the film.
Scott Eastwood plays Ranger Nate. Nate’s relationship with Jake isn’t really addressed in detail as I would have liked. They bicker a lot, but not much is shown nor mentioned about their past. So, I guess all we have are two pretty boys who have difficulties working with each other. Also, whilst there are fleeting moments of a possible love story for Eastwood’s character, nothing really comes of it. Scott Eastwood has a lot less screen time than I expected. Perhaps his character had a bigger role to start with the love story playing a bigger part in the original script, but I guess we’ll never know now.
Cailee Spaeny has a much bigger role in the film as Amara, a 15-year-old girl who is smart, feisty and has a genuine passion for Jaegers. Spaeny is still relatively new and an upcoming actress, so I understand all the promotion being anchored by both Boyega and Eastwood. I liked Cailee as Amara but strangely, I feel like I know more about her backstory than both Boyega and Eastwood’s characters combined. Once again, I’m blaming the screenplay.
I liked the use of music in Pacific Rim Uprising. In fact, I’m quite fond of the song choices on the soundtrack and may give it a spin after I’m done writing this. I also loved the visuals, especially the design of the Jaegers. Having grown up watching anime and Transformers, I must say the machines in Pacific Rim Uprising are some fine-looking robots. My personal favourite is the orange sleek blade-wielding Jaeger, Saber Athena. I also loved how Gyspy Avenger looked similar to Gypsy Danger, the main Jaeger from the first film which was a nice little tribute to the first Pacific Rim. The only thing that annoyed me about the visuals was when they showed ‘Tokyo, Japan‘, which I recognised instantly as Hong Kong, but that’s just me.
I watched Pacific Rim Uprising in both normal cinema 3D and IMAX 3D. When I viewed the film in normal cinema 3D, I feel that it didn’t really make a difference and I was just wearing glasses. But when I saw Pacific Rim Uprising in IMAX, I was jumping in my seat when weapons flew at me and Kaiju looked like they’d pop out of the screen towards my seat. I also enjoyed the film a lot better the second time around in IMAX. Perhaps it’s because the giant robots and Kaiju looked huge because I was watching the film on the largest screen in the world. Or maybe, it’s because the 3D effects actually popped out at me and I felt like I was part of the movie. If you have the chance, I highly recommend watching Pacific Rim Uprising at IMAX. Just trust me on this one.
Pacific Rim Uprising is not meant to be a serious film. I mean, there are a lot of things that happen that aren’t knowingly possible nor plausible. But you don’t watch Pacific Rim Uprising for those reasons, you watch to see giant robots smash things, fight with large monsters and other giant robots. Pacific Rim Uprising doesn’t have as much depth as I would have liked compared to the original. It’s fun and ridiculous nonsense, but still a fun ride nonetheless.