So I saw three movies this weekend:
A Quiet Place (which I wrote about first, because I knew it would draw the most interest),
The Death of Stalin (which I wrote second because I think people SHOULD be interested),
and now we have Pacific Rim: Uprising.
What is there even to say about this movie?
Nothing. It was bad.
3 out of 10
Okay, okay. In all seriousness, Pacific Rim: Uprising is about as bad as you’d expect. It is mindless, lazy, sloppy entertainment.
Everything just seemed slapped together out of obligation, as if this was some sort of lazy cash grab. All of the acting was meh. All of the dialogue was expository and lame. The jokes were the same as the dialogue.
My brother and I saw it together, and we both came to the same conclusion:
It was bad in the most inoffensive way possible.
John Boyega is a walking action-movie stereotype. I can’t say that he was bad in the movie, but any sort of potential he had for greatness was squashed by such an uninspired script.
His partner, Scott Eastwood, is about the same.
Boyega is a loose-cannon renegade who doesn’t play by the rules. Eastwood is an uptight boy-scout who gets bothered by Boyega’s snark. It’s something you’ve seen before a million times, and it’s done nearly the exact way the standard formula demands.
Almost all of their relationship development is done through uninteresting exposition.
Half of the cast members are teens who have joined the Jaeger academy. Their character arcs are either exposited out of obligation, or are non-existent. They are struggling students who have a hard time piloting the Jaeger robots until, no joke, the Kaiju come back and kill LITERALLY every single Jaeger pilot, except for John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and our merry band of young adults. In fact, these survivors make up the perfect number of pilots to control the only four Jaegers that the Kaiju didn’t destroy.
It was the funniest, most convenient thing in the world. It’s as if the writers couldn’t even care to make any of this story original or authentic.
By the way, the leading lady of the young adults, played by Cailee Spaeny, is an orphan with a chip on her shoulder that is primarily defined by being… take a guess.
Here, I’ll give it to you in multiple choice format:
A. Strong and Independent
B. Strong and Independent
C. Strong and Independent
Now as I was leaving this movie, I kept thinking to myself, “Why in the world was the cast in Uprising so child-heavy when the original film had almost no children?”
My theory is that the corporate executives that owned the dead husk of this franchise thought it might sell better if they marketed more heavily towards kids; when my brother and I saw it, kids from the ages of 8 to 15 made up the majority of the audience. I would not be surprised in the slightest if Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon suddenly starts making a “Pacific Rim” TV show. Mark my words.
The only thing that was really fun to watch was the action scenes and the animation. The majority of the action sequences are inundated with cheesy jokes and bad writing, but they were still fun nevertheless.
The Kaiju and the Jaegers were both well animated and creatively made.
The soundtrack was… honestly, I couldn’t tell you as I have already forgotten.
Also, apparently Charlie Hunnam (who played the protagonist in the first installment) no longer exists in this universe. The movie CONSTANTLY references Idris Elba‘s character to the point of unintentional comedy, but not Hunnam. Honestly, the fact that Idris Elba gets mentioned so many times just made it more glaringly obvious that Hunnam was ghosted.
The fact that this movie is so lazy, uninspired, and generic really just shows how much of a miracle the first film was.
I know people might think I don’t like Guillermo del Toro because of how critical I was of The Shape of Water, but I don’t dislike him at all. I think he’s a talented man. More importantly, I think the only reason the first movie was so much better than it was ever supposed to be was because del Toro directed it as well as helped write it.
Without him, the movie lost its ability to spark intrigue, character development, interest, or all around story flow. What we’re left with is a standard action movie with a script that feels like it was written by an action movie algorithm.
With that said, if you want to watch a harmless action movie with your young son or daughter, they will probably like this movie. Otherwise, it’s a big, fat nope from me.