Movie Review: “Pacific Rim: Uprising”
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) is the son of a Jaeger pilot legend, but had turned away from that life after his father was killed. Now, Jake is a mercenary of sorts who tracks down valuable Jaeger tech and sells it to the highest bidder. While on a job trying to get a valuable piece of equipment, Jake finds himself, along with a fifteen-year-old hacker named Amara (Cailee Spaeny), in trouble with authorities. Knowing who his father was and what he himself is capable of, Jake gets looped into helping 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 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 Jaegers. While it is unclear who is piloting the 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.
The Pros & Cons
The Action (+3pts)
The Characters (-10pts)
The Cast (+2pts)
The Plot (-10pts)
The Visual Effects (+2pts)
Dr. Geiszler (-5pts)
Pro: The Action (+3pts)
The action in this movie was fine. Not great, but fine. We have seen five Transformers movies, Godzilla movies, and the Pacific Rim movie, so this movie would have had to have done something truly special in order to give us fresh action. Unfortunately, the movie did not do that, but the action was not bad.
The action was just expected. There is plenty of big, larger than life, CGI action. If that is all you need from this movie, then you will certainly enjoy it. There are unique weapons, Jaeger on Jaeger fights, Jaeger on Kaiju fights, and more. It is an action filled movie. None of it is memorable, but there is a lot of it. If that is what you needed from this movie, it is in here.
Con: The Characters (-10pts)
The characters in Pacific Rim: Uprising were incredibly poorly written. There is not a single interesting character in this entire movie. Everyone is either incredibly generic or too poorly developed for me to care about them. Jake behaved as a stereotypical overly confident 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 a movie. That could be a result of great chatacter development, but this movie did not even have mediocre character development. 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 feel any emotional impact whatsoever. The filmmakers definitely phoned it in when making this movie and the uninteresting characters made that painfully obvious.
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 commend 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. Cailee Spaeny was surprisingly good. I have not seen her before, but she was able to show how talented she was with the little development her character had. 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, the writers just let them down.
Con: The Plot (-10pts)
Much like the poor writing that went into the characters of this story, the plot of the film was pretty weak as well. The connection the filmmakers made between the mysterious Jaegers and the Kaiju was pretty dumb. It was as if it was written by a child. Unfortunately, that was not the extent the movie’s plot issues. The movie is filled with poor plot decision after poor plot decision. Some are definitely in there as plot devices, while others do not seem to make any sense at all, but all of them are dumb.
The writers tried to make a reason for why the Kaiju were back. The writers tried to make a reason for why Jake and Amara had to be recruited. As mentioned already, the writers wanted mysterious Jaegers, but had no good reason for why there would be Jaegers fighting against the Jaegers. The whole plot was either stupid, or pointless to an embarrassing degree. The characters were bad enough, but making a plot this poor in addition to that results in an embarrassment to filmmaking.
Pro: The Visual Effects (+2pts)
I will be honest, my opinion of the visual effects is very much like my opinion of the action. The visual effects look incredibly detailed and all, but it does not significantly improve the movie because we have seen it all before. I will once again compare this movie to Transformers and Pacific Rim. The visual effects looked great in this movie, but the filmmakers failed to make anything spectacular as we have seen the visual effects done even better.
It was all just more of the same, but the visual effects were good quality. The motion of the monsters, the attacks, the detail on the skin, and the detail on the metal were all visually impressive. My only complaint is that the movie does not stand out, visually, as anything special when compared to other movies of it’s kind. At the end of the day, the decent visual effects were nowhere near enough to make up for the movie’s problems.
Con: Dr. Gleiszer (-5pts)
I have already mentioned how poor the character development was in this movie, but one character deserves 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 character that made sense. By trying to connect the plots of the two movies, they made Dr. Gleiszer feel very inconsistent between the two movies. I do not want to get into the details on what they did, but this character’s story was the dumbest character story that I have seen in a long time.
Grade: F (57pts)
Pacific Rim was had decent action and a plot that was nothing special. The movie was watchable, but it was certainly not good enough to justify a sequel. Nonetheless, we got Pacific Rim: Uprising which was a huge step backwards from its sub-par predecessor. It was a mess from start to finish and anyone involved with the script should be embarrassed.
The character development was poor or non-existent, and the plot was dumb and nonsensical. The movie was really bad and the majority of the blame falls 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 anything more than that, you should stay far away from this movie.