Thursday 29 March 2018

Review: Pacific Rim - Uprising

Pacific Rim: Uprising (3D)
Cert: 12A / 111 mins / Dir. Steven S. DeKnight / Trailer

Now, I'm not saying that Pacific Rim: Uprising is derivative of vast swathes of pop culture, but it opens with John Boyega living in a post-war wasteland, scavenging derelict hulks for parts which he can trade for food, while fighting off other wasters trying to do the same. Or to put it more simply, Finn is Rey now. And not even the cool kickass Rey, but the Rey in a vaguely unambitious spinoff comic.

So after a botched attempt at retrieving a power cell (or something) from the shell of a destroyed Jaeger robot-suit, we move to Finn Jake having a bit of a rumble in a mini-Jaeger courtesy of Cailee Spaeny's Amara, then they're both picked up by the robot police and escorted to military school for some Ender's-Game-style 'no, we have to train the kids to do it' antics, some Iron-Man-2-style 'automated defence technology is clearly a terrible idea' capers, and some Lethal-Weapon-style reluctant buddy-cop shenanigans with Scott Eastwood, the appearance of whom makes the audience start pining for the emoting ability of a 500 foot tall armoured war machine.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is, make no bones about it, A Summer Movie™. And not a particularly good one. The fact that Universal have shoved the film out in March suggests much about their faith in its ability to compete in the blockbuster-marketplace. While I didn't find the script as cringe-inducing as the first installment's, the whole thing is far more boring; devoid of the corny personality which at least had a thing for massive robots last time*1.

Charlie Day and Burn Gorman return as the comic relief and closest things the screenplay has to a macguffin, their roles interacting with everyone else's to the point where they could be assembled using out-takes from 2013. Imagine taking five years and coming up with this, though. It's like a Transformers film, if the only thing which changes is the audience's proximity to a migraine.

A two-hour effects-reel, when The Giant Robots are fighting The Giant Monsters, it's basically fine. Although for a film about giant robots fighting giant monsters, the audience spends a lot of time not watching giant robots fighting giant monsters.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is the perfect cinematic equivalent of popcorn; expensive, messy, and while it'd probably save you from starvation in a pinch - you wouldn't want to try and live off it…

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Transformers films, Independence Day films, Ender's Game.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
If you're a fan of This Sort Of Thing, I guess it is.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
No really, watch it in the cinema if anything.
This will lose all of its presence in your living room

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Quite possibly.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
I have no idea; anything in the film which isn't a quiet, expository conversation is basically white noise.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: FN-2187 is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And I see there's still no feasible explanation of why a battle-suit shaped like one human requires two humans to control it. The whole left-brain/right-brain thing doesn't really wash when both pilots are doing largely the same things in unison, and when each of those humans manages to get around outside the suit using only one brain themselves. The mind-meld itself is an interesting concept, but imagine pairing up with Scott Eastwood for a mission. It'd be like being trapped in a flatpack wardrobe... [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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