Film Discussion

2018 Movie Preview – Pacific Rim Uprising

There are few movies that I adore more than Pacific Rim. Guillermo del Toro’s Rock-Em-Sock-Em robots blockbuster is a gem, a delightful and hopeful film set in a dystopian future that felt like a breath of fresh air compared to more soulless, generic series like Transformers. Pacific Rim is a world where people literally have to work together to save the day, where friendship and communication are the most important tools in your arsenal. Plus, there’s a scene were a Jaegar pulls out a previously unknown sword to stabs a kaiju mid-air, and it’s the best. This movie is incredible.

Pacific Rim Uprising is bringing back the kaiju and the Jaegars, but not much else. The synopsis:

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his 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, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi)—who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war.

Del Toro will not be back to direct, instead handing the reigns over to Spartacus and Daredevil showrunner Stephen S. DeKnight. It’s the first movie for a primarily TV guy, and that doesn’t always bode well. It’s also being touted as a ‘standalone’ film, where it functions as its own thing instead of a direct sequel. Here’s the first trailer:

The trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising doesn’t seem to have the same vibe as the original, and seems a little more by-the-numbers blockbustery, in comparison to Pacific Rim’s pure id, with insane character designs and scenes straight out of an anime. This trailer could easily be mistaken for Transformers 5 in a lot of places.

The most troubling thing is this plot detail, mentioned in Collider: Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny) is a scrappy teenager who has learned how to pilot a jaeger all by herself. Does this mean we’re abandoning the whole ‘two people working together’ motif? Scrapping the importance of being drift compatible, finding a partner who you can communicate with through a deep, unspoken psychic link and replacing that with the standard “I don’t need anyone” action hero is a Bad Move. Hopefully, I’m misinterpreting that piece of information!

However, one thing Pacific Rim: Uprising really has going for it is the new lead: John Boyega. The Star Wars star is poised to be the next big action hero and he could not be more made for it. He’s got the charisma and the presence required to carry a big film like this, and he’s always fun to watch.

Regardless of any hesitations I may have, Pacific Rim: Uprising is pretty much my number one most anticipated of 2018. John Boyega vs. kaiju should be enough to get anyone to the theatre.

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