I am a huge fan of the inventive yet simple first film. It is a guilty pleasure of a film that includes giant robots and monsters, but has enough development of characters that I have something to latch onto. It also helps that Del Toro’s imagination helps build not only some fantastic beasts, but a great world to have the action focus on.
This sequel, while almost stand alone, doesn’t have as much in any of those departments. The characters are pretty flat. The relationships between the characters are barely developed (like between Pentecost and Lambert, or Pentecost and Amara). The film lacks any heart or soul to it. Yes, there is lots of action, lots of Jaegers fighting Kaiju, but it almost feels rote. While the fight scenes in the original film are masked in night and rain, the fight scenes in Uprising take place mostly in the bright day light. I figured that would make for something exciting, but the action mostly falls flat. Maybe, it’s because there aren’t any memorable touches in the fight scenes like the original like Newton’s Cradle or the funny items falling out of cargo containers used as weapons.
Even with this said, I did enjoy the film for what it is, a film that aims high, but falls quite short of it’s original. The film is carried by John Boyega who’s charisma makes the film very watchable. The casting of newcomer Cailee Spaeney was also great, she has a future ahead of her. I didn’t much care for Scott Eastwood who does really emote anything other than “stern” or “annoyed”.
I do wonder what happened to some of the other characters that survived the original film. What happened to Raleigh Becket? How come he’s not with Mako Mori who shows up in this film? How come Herc Hansen is not leading the Shatterdome? And where in the hell is Hannibal Chau? The script doesn’t bother to fill us in on these interesting characters from the first film.
The score was taken over by Lorne Balfe and was fairly forgettable until he uses Ramin Djawadi original Pacific Rim theme in the third act.
The ending seems to open the door to a third film. I would prefer them not to make one if it’s just going to be a bad photocopy of the original, just like how this film was a bad photocopy of the original.
The story for the film was pretty thin, except for the twist which sets off the big fight in the third act. I actually thought the twist of flipping Newt to be the bad guy was brilliant since Newt is the last guy I would think could be a bad guy.