Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (2013) initially reminded me of the Gundam and Ultraman series. Well, it really was a Gundam inspired movie. But once Pacific Rim was up on the big screen, I forgot all about the mentioned series and fell absolutely in love with this world where Kaiju and Jaeger exist.
Of course, I don’t want to live in such a place. It just so happens that del Toro’s Pacific Rim is so clever.
Do you still remember how Jaegers are operated? Since they are giant mechs, two Jaeger pilots are needed – one for the right hemisphere and one for the other. Together they undergo the process of “Drifting” where they share memories, instinct and emotions leading to a full synchronization with the Jaeger itself. Cool, right?!
Besides that, Pacific Rim doesn’t fall short of action and character development. Remember when Newton Geiszler, Charlie Day’s character was in Hong Kong in search for a fresh Kaiju brain and all hell broke loose? That part was so intense, it was my favorite. Moreover, all the characters are interesting and had a vital role to play.
Now fast forward to the Uprising, the long-awaited sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 fan favorite. Sadly though, del Toro did not direct it.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is writer/director Steven DeKnight feature debut. He is best known for being the creator, head writer, and executive producer of the Starz series Spartacus, including Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Spartacus: Vengeance, and Spartacus: War of the Damned.
Honestly, Pacific Rim was enough.
BUT there is no such thing especially if you want to build a franchise, right? So let’s talk about it anyway. The truth is I love the sequel’s premise because it makes sense.
Who drifted with a Kaiju brain? That would be our favorite duo: Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman); however, it was Geiszler who first attempted to do it alone. This prompted Precursors to send Kaijus in Hong Kong to silence him.
Now, do you remember what Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman) told Geiszler in Hong Kong? Drifting is a two-way street.
Clearly, there is no problem basing the continuation on that. Unfortunately though Pacific Rim Uprising failed to “Drift” due to the presence of various unneeded characters. This caused little branches of stories that doesn’t really contribute anything like the love triangle. I know the father and son duo isn’t there anymore for some emotional punch at the end but there’s another great new character under the name Amara.
But the number one reason why it wasn’t as great as the first is the lack of heart, soul and a del Toro.
I’m not dragging writer/director Steven DeKnight but it is bound to happen. Pretty sure even if it wasn’t DeKnight, people involved in the sequel and the story itself will still be compared to the original. The way I see it, del Toro is the heart and soul of Pacific Rim. He has his ways of presenting a weird or unique idea giving it life and charms.
I just wish DeKnight maximized Mako Mori and our favorite scientists – Newton Geiszler and Hermann Gottlieb as they still have a lot to give in the sequel. But I guess it’s too late for that. Hopefully, the third film (if there will be) will be better.
Despite those shortcomings, I found Pacific Rim Uprising fun and entertaining. I love the idea of younger pilots, new Jaegers, and “a mother of all” Kaiju! Since the story takes place 10 years after destroying the Breach, the Jaeger movements are now more polished and lighter. I think it was a decision they have to make so that the battles would look great on screen especially since most of it happened above the surface. However, that does not erase the weird feeling seeing them in broad daylight. 😉
If you failed to see Pacific Rim, you can catch it on Netflix. Also, Pacific Rim Uprising is still in theaters! 6/10 IMDb