Throughout March, the movie Black Panther has been the rage and has been number one in the box office for quite some time. However, starting Friday, March 23, Pacific Rim Uprising has dethroned the new Marvel feature with its opening week. Pacific Rim Uprising, the second movie in this particular franchise, is an action packed science fiction film about trained soldiers fighting an evil from another world in glorified robots. After watching the movie to find out what everyone has been talking about, I am able to tell you it is just another futuristic film involving stopping evil to save the world.
The movie picks up ten years after the previous war between the Jaegers and the Kaiju, discussing the destruction and reconstruction of the world. The Jaegers are gigantic robots that are piloted by the Army and serve as defense against the alien creatures that have previously attacked earth (Kaiju). Jake Pentecost, son of an infamous war hero and once promising Jaeger pilot himself, is now nothing like his father and works in criminal businesses selling old Jaeger parts for money. On one of his raids, he encounters a young girl called Amara Namani who was building her own Jaeger, Scrapper, to prepare in case of another Kaiju attack. Eventually, Amara and Jake are placed in the army where Jake will train Amara along with other recruits to pilot a Jaeger and fight the Kaiju. When the Kaiju return and the Army is forced to rely on the young pilots to save the world from being obliterated, will they be ready? Or will they all be destroyed?
The protagonist, Jake Pentecost, is played by John Boyega, who also stars as Fin in the Disney Star Wars trilogy. Boyega does a decent job at playing his character, which is similar to his character in Star Wars, as the guy that rebels against his old ways to do his own thing. The other cast members acted poorly. Cailee Spaeny, the actress starring as Amara, is over the top, giving her a dorky appeal. On top of that, there is not much chemistry established between her and the other young co-cast members playing the young Jaeger pilot trainees. The plot is also overrun by the uptight nature of Jake’s old friend Lambert, played by Scott Eastwood, therefore focusing more on their unsolved problems than the task at hand, which was training the young pilots for battle. The villain, Dr. Newton, was portrayed by Charles Day, who makes the character appear as humorous more than evil.
Although typically despising these types of films, the plot was very intriguing. The suspense of watching the Jaeger pilots race to stop the Kaiju from destroying the planet keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The CGI was also very effective in establishing the unearthly look of the Kaiju. The intricate detail of these ominous monsters brings the audience to fear these creatures, and the intricate designs Jaegers also brings for a cool setting, captivating the viewer’s eyes to the screen.
The plot was intriguing, yet there were several mistakes that cannot be left unclaimed. The timeline just moved way too quickly and left unconnected ties everywhere. Jake was supposed to be personally training Amara, but there was no true connection between the two until the very end. Additionally, Jake and his partner Lambert were supposed to be training the new recruits on Jaeger piloting, but they spent most of their time bickering about events that happened in the past instead of focusing on the present. Then all of a sudden in the middle of the movie, Lambert randomly forgives him. Also, the plot moved way too quickly from a guy that wanted nothing to do with piloting a Jæger to a super war hero that saves the world in literally two battles. On one of the Kaiju attacks, nearly the entire fleet of Jaegers and their pilots were wiped out and the only people left to defend the globe were a bunch of young, scrappy teenagers along with their two instructors. One would think that under an attack that threatened the extinction of humanity, they would have a lot more jaegers and trained pilots prepared. The movie was spoiled for me due to the poor connections between characters and the rapid movement of the plot.
This science-fiction proved to host some difficulty in finding the theme or moral. I mean, what’s the moral behind a bunch of robots fighting alien-looking lizards? However, after witnessing the personality of the characters and the determination to save the planet, it’s safe to say that the overall message of Pacific Rim Uprising was to remain strong in the harshest of moments and never give up, especially when people are counting on you. This is clearly displayed when Amara is struggling through training, and Jake is trying to help her catch up with the rest of her trainees. He witnesses emotional times of her past when she lost her family to a kaiju attack and remained strong as she prepared for the day of their return by building a Jaeger of her own. When the monsters do finally return, she was ready to avenge her family and not give up until total defeat.
The soundtrack was nothing extraordinary. In fact, most of it was just techno, futuristic beats that resemble the theme music in any other science-fiction film out there. That is the problem with these types of films. Their songs all sound very similar to each other. When I heard some of the theme music, the first thought that came to my mind was when is Tron going to ride out on his light motorcycle.
Overall, the movie was okay. The plot was interesting, but with all of its failure in cast chemistry and plot structure, is it actually worth it? I would give it a C because it was just an average movie. It was like every other futuristic science fiction movie with the same type of music, common plot and end product of saving the world. Although, this one was slightly worse in that it was just a cheap knock off of the Transformers franchise. If you’re into that stuff by all means go see it, but otherwise I would not recommend.