REVIEW: Pacific Rim Uprising
I recognize that I was in the minority, finding Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim loud and boring. Still, it made a ton of money encouraging Universal to release a sequel. What we got was the equally loud and just as uninvolving Pacific Rim Uprising, out tomorrow on disc from Universal Home Entertainment. The film cost something like $150 million to make and with a worldwide gross of $290 million, clearly didn’t connect with its audience, hopefully ending the franchise.
With Del Toro merely supervising, the film was handled by first-time director Steven S. DeKnight, better known for his screenplays. We have the perfunctory robots hitting kaiju with destruction raining on the poor populace but we are disengaged from the characters and without emotional connections, the film falls flat.
The film picks up a decade later and while the world has been rebuilding, the Kaiju threat we saw at the end of the first film, is ready to erupt. Keeping us safe fails to Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Stacker Pentecost, who collaborates with scrappy Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) who pulls a Riri Williams and has built her own Jaeger suit out of spare parts she has scavenged. Both are pressed into service when the monsters come back. They are supposed to take orders from Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), but we know better.
All the story beats are familiar as are the archetypal characters, leaving us with little to be thrilled or surprised by. There is absolutely nothing exciting about the character arcs or the fights, which are, oddly, slowly paced.
Thankfully, the 1080p high-def transfer is strong and you can enjoy metal versus muscle fights in the comfort of your home. The Dolby Atmos audio track is also fine, more than up to the needs of the special effects.
The combo pack of Blu-ray, DVD< and Digital HD comes with a handful of Special Features that are just as adequate and uninteresting as the film itself, We start with alternate and deleted scenes (6:56), with optional commentary from DeKnight; Hall of Heroes (3:25) with Boyega narrating a piece about the Jaegers; Bridge to Uprising (4:39), with cast and crew talking about building a sequel; The Underworld of Uprising (3:47); Becoming Cadets (5:58); Unexpected Villain (5:48); Next Level Jaegers (5:08); I Am Scrapper (2:42); Going Mega (3:21); Secrets of Shao (3:14); Mako Returns (2:08); and, Audio Commentary: Director Steven S. DeKnight, which shows how much thought and effort went into the planning for the film, but doesn’t explain why it fails to excite.