(2 / 5)
Pacific Rim was a grand painting of a nerdy dream with a genuine meaningful message underneath it all. It had a vision of giant robots (referred to as Jagers) and monsters (referred to as Kaiju) fighting and had a budget to bring it to life so it looked grander than it had any right to. However, it’s message was about the human race coming together in a time of bleakness and seemingly impossible odds and prevailing.
It seemed like a sequel would be a dream but four year’s later we have one. Guillermo Del Toro was busy making the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water so he has been replaced in the directing chair with Steven S. DeKnight.
Picking up the baton is Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Marshal Pentecost from the previous movie. He is content with not being a part of the military or anything official really, merely salvaging parts from the giant robots, partying and making a profit where he can. Until one day he gets wrapped up in the drama of a young girl Amara (Cailee Spaney), now both of them are pulled into the modern Jager program.
For the old characters, they do things I am not a fan of with sequels. They don’t ignore them but they certainly are not well utilised. Ones like Ron Perlman’s Hannibal Chow and Charlie Hunnam’s Riley are either simply mentioned or just forgot about. It does a disservice to the development that has gone into them in the first movie and the investment we initially felt for them because now we learn they go nowhere.
The Jagers are upgraded in this movie. They are more shiny and sleek, where previously they were muscle cars here they sports cars. Also, it seems like the technology has been developed to allow smoother and quicker movements of the limbs, even a few kicks, and rolls. A bit is lost from having this. The true sense of weight and scale seems decreased and seem more like humans in costumes put amongst a playset. I also felt the Jagers were too narrow in the hips to support the weight of these giant things.
As for the Kaiju. We get about 6 new ones for this installment. Each of them has a distinct silhouette, this is good because it makes each one distinguishable from its shape. A few new things are added to them too but to go into greater depth on that would be spoiler’s so I’ll let you watch the movie.
What is retained are all the little details that give the world character and gravity. For example, there are a lot of buildings that get smashed through the course of these gargantuan battles taking place and you can see every little piece of rubble and dust fall, crash and bounce off surfaces.
The movies passe is unrelenting, or at least non-stop. Something is always being said or an action scene is happening or a chase. That’s not necessarily a bad thing like we learned from Mad Max: Fury Road, we can have a movie constantly on the go, we just need to understand what is happening and who the characters are, as the action moves along.
Being that this is a sequel to an action movie it is expected that escalation would happen. It is handled in the most basic of ways, there are more robots and more monsters and they’re all bigger. Some other things are added to both the Jagers and the Kaiju which is an adding of the mythology. So there is originality going on.
This is a more shined-up, smashy sequel that does some cool things but a lot of it is simple. There is still plenty of fun to be had and it is never meaningless noise and I still believe the spirit of the first movie has been carried over here. There are so many worse big budget action movies that have been released but at the same time, there are also so many better ones.