‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ Continues a Good Thing

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I loved Pacific Rim and was expecting more of the same. I would have been satisfied with that. Pacific Rim Uprising is a sequel. This is a movie that anyone can enjoy but a Kaiju fan get special enjoyment out of.

What I got was an intelligent, thoughtful, science fiction movie with consistent internal logic. A movie that forged its own path in the monster mythos while paying subtle homage to the great monster movies that came before it. A movie that built upon the solid foundation laid down by the origin story Pacific Rim created.

I appreciated how someone who had never seen a Kaiju movie before could come to the theater, watch Pacific Rim Uprising and enjoy the movie. A viewer doesn’t need to have decades of lore to understand what’s going on. This is a movie that anyone can enjoy but a Kaiju fan get special enjoyment out of.

Pacific Rim Uprising is respectful to the cultural importance of Kaiju first created Toho with their iconic Godzilla and to the fan base. This movie is yet another love letter from the directors, writers and everyone involved to the fans of Kaiju movies. The call backs to Pacific Rim are brilliant and not crude. They’re subtle and effective.

The new characters are interesting and engaging. The old characters are wonderful. I confess that there were several moments when I had doubts during the movie. Several moments when I thought I knew what they were going to do. There were plot twists! I was surprised! It was fantastic! I can’t emphasize enough how delightful and unexpected some of the plot twists were.

Yes, of course I love all the new Jaegers. I will buy much merch. But what I love more is that they augment the story. The story isn’t sacrificed for them, they are part of the story. Same for the Kaiju. I don’t want to give spoilers. I will tell you that I felt a sense of welcome and familiarity with the way the movie paid homage to iconic Kaiju movies from the past, especially Godzilla. Yet, even with that I was seeing something new. An old story told in a new way.

Pacific Rim Uprising is the best Kaiju movie I’ve ever seen not because it has a huge budget but because it is clear that the creators are deeply familiar with and have an abiding love of Kaiju movies. Much like Ready Player One appeals to people who get all of the pop culture references, Pacific Rim Uprising demonstrates a deep knowledge and understanding of Kaiju history and its social impact.

I appreciate the attention to detail. The emergency shelters, a small, but important example, have been seriously upgraded since the original attack in Pacific Rim. It’s a few seconds of screen time that convey the thoroughness with which this universe has been crafted and realized.

Yes, of course the CGI was amazing. It was gorgeous to look at. Like everything else with this movie, in my opinion, the decisions on how to allocate budget were thoughtfully and carefully made to be as effective as possible.

Everything about Pacific Rim Uprising makes me think the entire creative team went about making this movie with careful, deliberate thought as to what would be most effective to tell their story. How they could most efficiently, yet beautifully convey the tale. I appreciate being treated as an intelligent being. I appreciate having my fandom handled with such care.

If you are ambivalent about Kaiju and giant Jaegers battling it out, go see this movie. You won’t be sorry. If you love Kaiju and giant Jaegers…don’t miss it. I feel almost ashamed to say it but I think Pacific Rim Uprising is the single best monster movie I’ve ever seen. Almost ashamed because much of what Uprising manages to do is only possible because of the myriad movies of the genre that came before it and laid the groundwork. Not the least of which is Pacific Rim and, of course, Godzilla. Especially Godzilla. And Gundam.

Go. See Pacific Rim Uprising. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

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