Is it really an Uprising?

Sequel has heart, comedy and alien goo down to a science


Isabel Johnson, Broadcast Editor

Pacific Rim: Uprising, introduces monsters from another dimension the size of skyscrapers. Mechanical iron giants built to fight them, and a team of, essentially high schoolers, trained to wield them and their bizarre, but deadly weapons. This is a sequel, so naturally, spoilers ahead.

The first movie introduced us to the Kaiju. Beasts that were destroying city after city along the Ring of Fire, better known as the Pacific Ocean. Countries that had once been enemies, came together to build the only things that could stop them: Jaegers. They were the same size as the Kaiju, and had weapons we could only dream of.

The second movie introduced us to the Predecessors. An alien race who are actually the ones controlling the Kaiju. They are the size of humans, but have four eyes and closely resemble a frill-necked lizard. They are trying to re-terraform the earth. They send the Kaiju to get cities out of the way.

For a long time the leaders thought that the beasts were just trying to kill as much as possible. With three or four coming at a time, the humans had their work cut out for them. As the movie continues, it’s revealed that kaijus blood was incredibly reactive. In fact, so reactive, that if, by chance, a super Kaiju were to drop into Mount. Fuji it would erupt, set off a chain reaction of all the volcanoes in the Ring of Fire and put the entire world under ash. But that’s just an example.

With many twists and turns, the movie is absolutely heart-racing. A story about giant creatures coming from a deep ocean trench, and monsters built to destroy them, has to have so much action. The movie is fast paced and one that has people making ninja moves in their seat.

The technical and robotic side of using Jaegers is a bit of a stretch, since the Jaegers require a two-man pilot system. They use a neural bridge, otherwise known as the drift. The stronger the link, the better the fight.

Beasts that can spit molten venom, have electrical currents and can meld themselves together to create a super Kaiju, have to have beastly counter parts. The four Jaegers in the second installment all have their own fighting style. With names like Gipsy Avenger, Saber Athena, Bracer Phoenix and Guardian Bravo, it’s impossible to not feel like a winning team.

All of these mechas make it seem like they are alive on their own. Special effects did a magnificent job to pull you in and forget for a short second that you are watching a different version of Transformers, with an enemy of alien flesh and neon blue blood goo, instead of metal.

Director Steven S. DeKnight, known for multiple projects about Sparta and Producer Guillermo del Toro, known for The Shape of Water, Hellboy and The Hobbit Movies, hold a strong title for being the first movie to knock Black Panther out of the box office. DeKnight did a superbly good job of helping his actors really capture the exhaustion and strife of controlling a Jaegers monster. The special effects team made the mechas and the alien monsters come to life. It didn’t feel like one was in a video game, or that they were constantly in slow-mo.

The backstory for the two main females from the first installment and this one, is almost identical. Both the first and second seem to fail to pass the Bechdel test, a test that has very simple rules. Two named female characters, who talk to each other about something other than a man.

They came up with an alternative.

The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character, b) who gets her own narrative arc, and c) that is not about supporting a man’s story. Because of her character arch, the seemingly harmless test has become popular in action flicks that have a main female character.

Uprising does in fact pass both tests, however, when it came to unfolding the backstory, they showed it once, then never really discussed it again. Uprising lacks the true heart to hearts that the first movie does. It does however have epic speeches (which is always awesome to listen to). Epic speeches, which helped to make people all riled up to go kill some of the ugliest giant dinosaur bugs you’ve ever seen.

The movie is a riot. The plot and idea is ridiculous and at the same time, makes someone totally ready to enter the drift and control a skyscraper, humanoid fighting machine. Though the story is lacking some things (large backstory, any sort of romance and a strong female character arch), the way the Jaegers fight, and defeat the Kaiju, while falling from the sky, so they can defend an active volcano so the world doesn’t re-terraform, it just does something for the soul. You’ll have to see for yourself.