Pacific Rim: Uprising
seen @ Movieworld, Douglaston, Queens NY
You know how in those old Godzilla movies, he stomps all over Tokyo but it's never as serious as it looks because it's SO OBVIOUS the sets are just models? Ever wonder what that might look like if it were real? Well, watch Pacific Rim: Uprising then, preferably on the biggest screen you can afford.
At first, seeing the jaegers (the robots) and kaiju (the monsters) battling it out amidst a giant cityscape is breathtaking as well as terrifying, though they do make a point of saying the population was safe in underground shelters, so one can watch the fights guilt-free!
After awhile, though, even these scenes have an air of artificiality to them, and not just because jaegers and kaiju don't exist (as far as we know).
They're almost too real. Jaegers, when operated by their two pilots, run, throw punches, even get tossed around like humans, even though they're hundreds of feet tall. It's the old comics cliche: how can something so big move so fast? As for the kaiju, you can see every scale on its hide, every tooth in its wide, wide mouth, every drop of water as it rises out of the ocean.
There ought to be some sort of medium in which these kinds of movies can look better than dudes in rubber suits yet maintain a level of... I dunno, low-budget, B-grade cheapness, for lack of a better term? Then again, maybe I'm still wedded to the way SF movies looked like back in the 80s, when I grew up. I'm sure that puts me in the minority. Fine, I'm used to it.
Uprising, regrettably, is little different from the first PR film. It wasn't until the final twenty minutes or so that I started to get into it. Eh. I knew this wasn't Black Panther. I just wanted a mindless action movie and that's what I got.
How about that John Boyega, huh? His ascension from no-name to rising action hero has been pretty quick, but that's what two Star Wars movies will do to you. Even when he played an inner-city hoodlum in Attack the Block, he had a certain magnetism that has turned into a youthful exuberance and strength that's nice to see. I hope he expands into other work: maybe a Shane Black-style crime comedy, or a Kathryn Bigelow-type war movie. He has definite potential.
There's this young girl in my writers group named Anna who has been hyped for Uprising for weeks, talking about the actors, the director, the previous film, all sorts of details, etc. Last Sunday, we talked about the movie and wouldn't you know it, she was let down big time.
We both agreed that Boyega was great, but killing [SPOILER] was a tremendous mistake. Anna also hated [SPOILER]'s heel turn, though it didn't bother me as much because I barely remembered the character from the first film. She said she complained to director Steven DeKnight on Twitter, saying he should've gotten her to write the screenplay! I guess that's the risk that comes with high expectations.