John Boyega stars as Jake Pentecost. (Photo by Getty Images)
“A movie that combines my nerdy love of sci-fi monsters, interdimensional travel AND the nostalgia of growing up watching Creature Double Feature every Saturday afternoon? Sign. Me. Up.”
That was me, five years ago when the first Pacific Rim opened. I couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen! And when I did? I couldn’t wait to NEVER see it again. (cue sad trombone)
I loved the story idea of humans fighting Godzilla-like sea monsters from another dimension while wearing gigantic Transformers-ey Rock-Em-Sock-Em robot suits! (I mean, come on! WHO wouldn’t!!??)
Sadly, even the comic relief of Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) or the ‘I chew up every scene I’m in’ uber-handsome Idris Elba (BBC’s Luther, HBO’s The Wire, Thor: The Dark World) couldn’t drag me back for a second viewing. The special effects were ok, the plot was ok, but it just fell flat. It was all very...how shall I say? MEH.
SPOILER ALERT: THIS SEQUEL IS A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER!!!!
If you’re like me, you may have been wondering whether or not John Boyega (Star Wars: A Force Awakens) has the chops to survive OUTSIDE the Star Wars nerd-verse? Wonder no more. He’s dynamic, charming, a pleasure to watch in this flick, and most assuredly LEADING MAN MATERIAL!
As the movie opens, we find Pacific Rim’s future Earth recovering ten years after the Kaiju-Jaeger War (nerd translation: Human VS Monsters).
The interdimensional portal the Kaiju (giant sea monsters) crawled out from has been closed, and Boyega’s Jake Pentecost (son of Hero Marshal Stacker Pentecost, played by Elba in the first film) has quit the family business of Jaeger piloting (the folks that get to DRIVE...er...I mean PILOT the big super-cool “Jaeger” machines built to fight the Kaiju) for more lucrative exploits in the criminal underworld.
He soon runs into Amara, a 15-year-old Jaeger ‘hacker’, (played by newcomer Cailee Spaeny) who shines as the scrappy kick-ass girl who built her own Jaeger machine out of stolen junkyard parts - “just in case the monsters come back."
The two end up inside her junkyard robot warrior running from Johnny Law, and action-packed, thrill-ride sci-fi nerdery ensues. Giddy Up!
Pacific Rim Uprising is the movie the Transformers sequels so desperately tried (and failed) to be. A fun futuristic sci-fi thrill ride for all ages. PARENTAL NOTE: there is a bit of snarky teen humor, but nothing too off the rails for the younger crowd.
The cast is rounded out by Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) sporting some seriously handsome inherited DNA, (yes, he’s Clint’s son), as a fellow Jaeger pilot to Boyega’s Jake Pentecost. SIDE NOTE: I’m really loving the fact that Clint Eastwood’s hunky son is playing a glorified Ken-doll looking side-piece in this predominantly international cast.
No one is more shocked than I am, (well, except maybe my equally sci-fi nerdy boyfriend), how much I LOVED watching this film! It is action packed, the Jaeger-Kaiju fights are AWESOME, and it’s just corny enough without giving you a FULL-ON eye-roll attack.
Pacific Rim Uprising is one of those rare cinematic occurrences where the sequel is FAR better than the original. Go see it, and on the biggest screen possible.
(Pacific Rim Uprising arrives in theaters Friday, March 23rd.)