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Pacific Rim: Uprising Movie Review

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Pacific Rim: Uprising: When giant robots and giant aliens battle on the big screen everyone wins, right? Well, maybe not the unlucky suckers who happen to live in the cities playing host to the fight. And maybe not anyone who sat through any of the Transformers movies (thanks for nothing, Michael Bay). Pacific Rim: Uprising delivers on the promise that the Transformers movies didn’t — making giant robots awesome again. This sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film brings super-sized fighting and big fun, despite being predictable at times and not breaking any new ground. Even with the movie telegraphing some of its next moves, it manages a few surprises, and pleasant ones, at that.

Pacific Rim: Uprising Movie

If Harrison Ford has taught us anything, it’s that settling for one movie mega-franchise is unnecessary. Pacific Rim Uprising stars John Boyega, who, buoyed with Star Wars fame, took a page from Ford’s playbook and staked his claim on his own extra-curricular franchise. Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, son of military legend Stacker Pentecost, portrayed in 2013 by Idris Elba, who did not return for the sequel. Also not returning was Charlie Hunnam. Boyega approaches this character with charisma and humor, just as he does in his Star Wars role, though with much, much more swagger in Uprising. The hilarious Charlie Day, who immeasurably lightened the original film, reprises his role, but gets a bit lost in the shuffle this time around.

Action movies are only as good as their villains. In this case, it’s a mixed bag. Giant monster aliens make for a good spectacle, and look cool smashing up cities, but don’t bring much nuance. Of course, anyone looking for nuance in a giant-robot-and-alien movie is really looking for disappointment. To the extent that the villains come up short in Uprising, I’d argue it’s not really their fault. Every couple months, a new big-budget, CGI-driven tentpole movie hits theaters. And every couple months, audiences must endure the vicarious stress of saving the world from complete destruction. If the stakes are global annihilation every time, what’s special about this time? Why should I care? Sometimes spectacle is enough to smooth over gaps that greater movies fill in clever and unexpected ways. Other times, spectacle plays like a cynical money grab by studios (I’m looking at you, Justice League). Luckily, this film’s charms compensate for its minor shortcomings.

Pacific Rim: Uprising Movie

No, this isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie. In its own way, that’s a kind of movie perfection. I’ve often said it’s more fun to like things than to dislike things. Still, you have to choose that way of looking at things. Rollercoasters are exciting, even though you probably move faster driving on the freeway to the amusement park. Focusing on that fact doesn’t make the ride any more fun. I could choose to nitpick dialogue that felt forced and plot points that were predictable, or I could simply enjoy the ride. Well, I did enjoy the ride, even though I drove faster on the freeway.

Pacific Rim: Uprising Movie Review

Pacific Rim: Uprising
  DIRECTOR:  Stephen S. DeKnight
STUDIO:  Universal
GENRE:  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
MPAA:  PG-13
RELEASE DATE:  March 23 2018
AUTHOR:  Jason M. Brown
Jason MBrown Seattle native Jason M. Brown traded liquid sunshine for the real thing when he recently moved to San Diego. Jason graduated from Washington State University with a Humanities degree focusing on English and has worked as a copywriter. An avid fan of comedy, horror, and almost any movie that started as a comic book, Jason lives in California, but still loves Seattle Seahawks football, apologies to the Chargers.

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