Hey everybody. As is customary now, let me remind you all to follow the Yeti Crew on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on entries and podcasts. Now that the corporate shilling is out of the way, we have to talk about yet another sneak preview I got to see this evening. As a sequel to a fantastically underrated bigger-than-life action film, Pacific Rim Uprising has some big shoes to fill. I’m a fan of the first film and although I was a bit hesitant to see the sequel, I feel like it mostly hit the right notes without too much muss or fuss. Lemme get into it!
From what I’m to understand, the sequel takes place a decade or so after the first film. I think it’s about ten years anyways, as it’s mentioned a few times that the “war was won” about that long before the film’s present. There’s a quick catch-up at the film’s start where we’re introduced to the main character, Jake, who is the son of one of the heroes from the first film (Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba). He talks about how the war was won, none of the aliens have been seen in a while, and how he’s not his father’s son. Where his dad was a grand man who was integral to the war being won, he is a slacker and a bum. Pretty safe to say that by the end of the movie it’ll change. Predictable but whatever. I’m not looking for a life-changing experience when I go to a movie about giant robots fighting giant aliens.
The actual film starts with Jake being a bum, thieving parts from decommissioned Jaeger (giant robot) plants. The part he’s looking for is stolen by a young lady and he follows her to her base of operations where she’s building her own Jaeger. It’s against the law to have an unsanctioned Jaeger, so they’re arrested together. Jake avoids sentencing for both of them by re-enlisting them in the Jaeger robot army. We get some internal struggle with the recruits as is expected in a film of this nature. We also get the crux of the plot in finding out that the human-controlled Jaegers are going to be obsolete as they’re replaced by automated ones. The automated Jaegers are being built by the Shao Corporation, with Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day, from the first movie) heading up R&D. When the automated Jaegers are powered up, things go awry. Of course they do. They’re powered by Kaiju (aliens from the first film) and integrated with the Jaeger technology. This could spell disaster for the good guys!
It doesn’t spell disaster. Obviously. It provides some struggle as those automated Jaeger/Kaiju hybrids open up rifts to the alien dimension and some Kaiju aliens come through. The Jaeger bases are totally messed up by the hybrids and the Kaiju aliens make their way to a very element-rich location. Kaiju react very intenselywith the rare earth elements in an explode-y kind of way as is explained. Mt. Fuji in Japan is an active volcano and is rich in the rare elements. I guess their plan is to act as suicide bombers in an effort to kill all life and terraform the globe (I think that’s the same plan from the first film). I don’t know if it was meant, but seeing giant aliens fight giant robots in Tokyo was awesomely reminiscent of Godzilla for me. I enjoyed it a lot and was even more jonesed when the three Kaiju aliens pulled some Power Rangers trickery (with the help of alien/robot nanite things sent by an evil Dr. Geiszler) and combine to form one giant Kaiju. It’s pretty sweet. The giant alien beats some robot ass and only in a clever atmospheric-drop plan by Jake do the protagonists emerge victorious. Huzzah and celebration all around.
I know I skipped over some of the finer details. Scott Eastwood is in the film and both a scientist and Asian lady reprise their roles from the first film. The unsanctioned Jaeger from the beginning of the film and the financier of the Shao Corporation play important roles in the film. There’s some other things that happen. You know, film plot points and whatever. Doesn’t matter because it’s all filler in this case as anyone going to see the movie wants aliens, robots, and CGI destruction. The special effects are ace. The fights are pretty great. I could voice some contention for the lack of excitement that the first film had. I mean, Pacific Rim was new and exciting. It just felt more fun than your usual monster and robot destruction films. The sequel was decent though, and contained an excellent ratio of robots and monsters to plot (like probably 90/10 if I’m being fair). I’d pay to see it again and probably will as a few friends will inevitably want to see it. If you want smashing, explosions, destruction on a city-wide scale, and want to turn off your brain for a couple hours; Pacific Rim Uprising will help you achieve all of that. It’s a good start to what will hopefully be a pretty big cinema summer.