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Movie Review: “Pacific Rim: Uprising”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Theatrical Release: 3/23/2018

Theatrical Release: 3/23/2018

Synopsis

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) is the son of a Jaeger pilot legend, but he turned away from that life after his father was killed. Now Jake is a mercenary of sorts who tracks down valuable Jaeger tech, selling it to the highest bidder. While on a job trying to get a valuable piece of equipment, Jake and a fifteen-year-old hacker named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) find themselves in trouble with the authorities. Knowing who his father was, the authorities convince Jake to help other Jaeger pilots against a new threat.

Among the other Jaeger pilots is Jake’s former partner, Nate (Scott Eastwood). The two have a checkered past, but they must work together to stop what is coming. This time, while the Kaiju are coming to attack a heavily populated city, they are joined by mysterious and powerful new Jaegers. While it is unclear who is piloting these other Jaegers or why they seem to be working with the Kaiju, Jake and Nate must find a way to put their differences aside in order to stop them.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Action (+3pts)

The Characters (-10pts)

The Cast (+2pts)

The Plot (-10pts)

The Visual Effects (+2pts)

Dr. Geiszler (-5pts)

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Pro: The Action (+3pts)

The action in this movie was fine. Not great, just fine. We have seen five Transformers movies, Godzilla movies, and the previous Pacific Rim movie, so the filmmakers of this movie would have had to have done something truly special here in order to give us fresh action. Unfortunately, they did not do that, but the action was not bad.

The action was just expected. There was plenty of big, larger than life, CGI action. If that is all you want from this movie, then you will certainly enjoy it. There were unique weapons, Jaeger on Jaeger fights, Jaeger on Kaiju fights, and more. It was a movie filled with CGI action. None of it was memorable, but there was a lot of it, and if that is all you are hoping for from this movie, then it will not disappoint.

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Con: The Characters (-10pts)

The characters in Pacific Rim: Uprising were very poorly written. There was not a single interesting character in this entire movie. They were all either incredibly generic or too poorly developed for me to care about them. Jake behaved as a stereotypical cocky protagonist, and every other character got too little development to be even remotely interesting.

The audience needs to be able to get behind the characters in any movie. That could be a result of great character development, relatable relationships, or interesting situations, but this movie had none of that. There was a lot wrong with this movie, but a terrible plot can still be enjoyed if the audience cares about the characters in it. Unfortunately, any and every character could have died in this movie and the audience would not have felt any emotional impact whatsoever. The filmmakers definitely phoned it in when making this movie and the uninteresting characters was unfortunate proof of that.

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Pro: The Cast (+2pts)

As bad as the characters were written, the actors did everything they could to save them. Unfortunately it was like watching a sinking ship, but I give credit to every actor in this movie nonetheless. They clearly cared about their roles far more than the writers did. John Boyega was the most notable example of this.

John Boyega gave the best performance he could, but he simply had nothing to work with. I also thought Cailee Spaeny was surprisingly good. While I have not seen her before, she was able to a lot more with what she was given then I expected her to. Unfortunately, as talented as some of these actors are, none of them were enough to save their characters from the poor writing. This was a talented cast that made the most out of the situation, but the writers just let them down.

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Con: The Plot (-10pts)

Much like the poor writing that went into the characters of this story, the overall plot was pretty weak as well. The connection the filmmakers made between the mysterious Jaegers and the Kaiju was pretty dumb, so dumb that it seemed to have been written by a child. Unfortunately, that was not the extent the movie’s plot issues. The movie was filled with poor plot decision after poor plot decision. Some were definitely in there as plot devices, while others did not seem to make any sense at all, but all of them were dumb.

The writers had to come up with a reason why the Kaiju were back, and the reason they came up with was to make characters make horrible decisions. They also had to explain why Jake and Amara had to be recruited, but their explanation just felt extremely convenient. The writers also clearly wanted these mysterious Jaegers, but they had no good reason for why there would be Jaegers fighting against the Jaegers. The whole plot was either stupid, or pointless, and I would honestly be embarrassed if I was one of the writers for this movie.

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Pro: The Visual Effects (+2pts)

I will be honest, my opinion of the visual effects was very much like my opinion of the action. The visual effects looked incredibly detailed and all, but it did not really raise the bar, as it felt like we have seen similar visual effects, and we have seen it done better. The Transformers movies showed us how great giant CGI robots can look. The recent Godzilla movies showed us how great giant CGI lizard-monsters can look. Pacific Rim even showed us how great these things can look together. In this movie motion of the monsters, the attacks, the detail on the skin, and the detail on the metal robots were all visually impressive. They just did not raise the bar from what other movies have already done really well, and they were not nearly enough to make up for the movie’s problems.

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Con: Dr. Gleiszer (-5pts)

I have already mentioned how poor the character development was in this movie, but one character deserved special recognition. The problem with the character development of most characters was that it was almost non-existent. With Dr. Gleiszer (Charlie Day), the character development was there, but it was garbage. This was another example of something that felt like it was written by a child.

The filmmakers tried desperately to connect this movie with its predecessor. The unfortunate reality was that they cared more about connecting the two movies than they did about creating a decent story with decent characters. By trying to connect the plots of the two movies, they made Dr. Gleiszer feel very inconsistent between the two movies, and made him make catastrophically horrible decisions, just so that the movie could happen. I do not want to get into the details on what he did, but this character’s story was the dumbest character story that I have seen in a long time, because it was completely out of character from who he was in the last movie. The filmmakers tried to explain this as well, but it was just more eye-roll inducing writing, that just felt like they were trying really hard to justify something that made no sense.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: F (57pts)

Pacific Rim had decent action, and it had a plot that was nothing special, but it was fine for what it was. The movie was watchable and even moderately entertaining, but it was certainly not good enough to justify a sequel, especially considering how much money it takes to create great looking CGI at this scale. Nonetheless, we got Pacific Rim: Uprising which was a huge step down from its predecessor, which was not great itself. This movie was a mess from start to finish and anyone involved with the script should be embarrassed.

The character development was either poor or non-existent, depending on the character, and the plot was either dumb or nonsensical, depending on what plot point you are talking about at the time. The movie was simply really bad, and the majority of the blame as to fall on the writers. The actors did the best they could, but they just had too little to work with. If all you need is mindless action from a movie you are hardly going to pay attention to, then go ahead and watch this. However, if you are looking for literally anything more than that, then I recommend staying far away from this movie.

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