Back then, the arm were battling Kaiju with big mech-robots called Jaegars, but after a few years, the Kaiju had evolved and the remaining Jaegars are no longer fit for purpose, so they had to do what they had to do to get rid of them and close the inter-dimensional breach which allowed the Kaiju in. Not an easy task, but if you have a spare 131 minutes, if can be done, it appears.
Ten years on, and with Idris Elba out of the picture, we move on to his son, Jake Pentecost, played by Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi‘s John Boyega.
Boyega really is a terrible actor. Why on Earth was he picked for those movies set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? There’s attempts at bromance between him and Scott Eastwood, as Nate Lambert – a smug Ranger who comes across as a character we’re meant to remember from last time, yet he’s nowhere to be seen. If they were going to bring someone back, why not Herc Hansen (Max Martini)? Unless they were just looking for someone younger and who also sported the unshaven look… anyway, don’t spend too much time worrying about such trivialities.
He’s partnered up with Amara Namani, played by Cailee Spaeny, who may be 21 in real life but thanks to being 4’11, she’s picked for the ‘annoying kid who grew up without parents but can still create and pilot her own Jaegar’ role, and that’s what a lot of others appear to do, whilst living off the grid or squatting in abandoned buildings in areas littered with Kaiju carcas -ses.
Returning to the series are Burn Gorman and Charlie Day (the latter forever trying to live on Christian Slater’s coat-tails but he’ll never be even a fraction as good), as Hermann Gottlieb and the hyperactive Dr. Newton Geiszler, respectively, the latter of whom is working for hot Chinese tech exec Liwen Shao (Jing Tian – Kong: Skull Island, and who said more words in the post-credits sequence than she did in the entire movie), who has souped-up Jaegars that can be operated remotely instead of having pilots go out in the field like last time.
Before I saw how this turned out, my guess of the outcome was… and will be behind a spoiler just in case I’m right:
Was I right? Watch the movie…
A few random observations while watching this:
- There’s an ’80s graphics-style version of the opening Universal logo, which is pretty cool.
- Like when I watched the first movie, I couldn’t stop thinking of the monetary cost of all the damage, either made by Kaiju or Jaegars when it all kicks off.
- Unlike Charlie Hunnam – who wisely gave this a swerve as his career has gone stratospheric since Queer As Folk, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) is back, but now as US Secretary General.
- Guillermo Del Toro had the aspect ratio spot-on with the first film being in 16:9, since as well as looking impressive on the big screen in IMAX as I’m sure they would’ve done, they also looked great on TV. Putting this film in 2.35:1 (and the same will go for any Jurassic Park/World movie which isn’t in 1.85:1) just makes the creatures look smaller in the home.
- Quite why the army is still running the Jaegar program when the Kaiju haven’t been seen for 10 years is anyone’s guess, but then governments do like to waste money.
- There were a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting…
I’m not really sure anyone was calling for a Pacific Rim sequel, given that it’s been five years since the first one, plus that Guillermo Del Toro only came on to join in the production duties. More importantly, though, the original’s budget was $190m and it only took $411m worldwide at the box office. Movies have to take around 2-3 times their budget to break even, so even if it could be argued that the first one just about made its money back, that wouldn’t be enough to warrant a sequel – the Hollywood bigwigs would want $800m to $1bn for that.
As things stand, this sequel cost $150m to make and has taken $290m at the box office, so a third film is highly unlikely – especially since all we’re presented with is a derivative chase movie – even though it suggests a possible one with a scene at the end. Without giving spoilers, after the film ends, it’s then that we’re shown the title (unlike it appearing around 17 minutes into the first one), after which comes that scene and then we get the credits proper.
If you do want spoilers, then the scene is described here:
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition. The visuals are pin-sharp and if you want to see mech-robots bashing each other into next week with all the clarity it deserves, that’s what you’ve got.
For the sound, the crash/bash/smash when bullets and rockets and everything else are fired, will all reverberate around your speakers with ease. Occasionally, there’s some dialogue… but mostly, it’s about the shooting.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes (6:56): 8 of them here – each with optional director’s commentary, the first one featuring the now ex-director of the eventual Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 James Gunn, who lost the job following some historical tweets on Twitter… but then too many tweets make a twat.
He is the unseen DJ in an early party scene, which confused me at first as there’s no audio in that scene, but then I guess they’ll all have been ‘dancing’ to zero sound when filming.
- Hall Of Heroes (3:25): Boyega uses his monotone voice to fill you in on the features and weapons in each of the Jaegers.
- Bridge To Uprising (4:39): This sets the tone for all the other sections as we have a series of brief featurettes which should really be all-in-one and chaptered. Here, it’s soundbites from the cast and crew mixed in with clips from the film. Here, it’s all about planning the sequel.
- The Underworld of Uprising (3:47): Some of the backstory.
- Becoming Cadets (5:58): Jake and Lambert have to train the newbies, i.e. cadets, and this includes their training sequences.
- Unexpected Villain (5:48): This reveals one of the twists, so DON’T watch before you see the film. I could tell you who it is, but then I’d have to kill y… I mean, you’d ruin it for yourself.
- Next Level Jaegers (5:08): More advanced Jaegers.
- I Am Scrapper (2:42): A look at the Jaegar built by Amara.
- Going Mega (3:21): Bigger is better in the Pacific Rim world, for the cast and crew.
- Secrets of Shao (3:14): # It’s Mrs Shao, yes that’s her name. That name again is Mrs Shao #
Well, I’ve no idea if she’s married, but it’s more info about Liwen Shao.
- Mako Returns (2:08): Rinko Kikuchi tells us that ever since the first film, she wanted to play as Mako again… and I’m sure that’s nothing to do with the fact that she’d get a big paycheque.
- Audio description track: In both English and French
- Audio commentary: with director Steven S DeKnight.
The main menu features clips from the film set to a brief piece from the score, there are subtitles in several languages as described below, and for once, we have a decent number of chapters with 20 spread across the 111-minute running time, which almost meets my ideal of one every five minutes.
Running time: 111 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Released: July 30th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: English Dolby Atmos
Languages: Dolby Atmos: English; DTS 5.1 HD-MA: French, Castillian Spanish, Arabic
Subtitles: English, French, Castillian Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, Arabic, Greek, Russian, Icelandic
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K) (3.4K), Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Steven S DeKnight
Screenplay: Steven S DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and TS Nowlin
Producers: John Boyega, Cale Boyter, Guillermo del Toro, Jon Jashni, Femi Oguns, Mary Parent, Thomas Tull
Music: Lorne Balfe
Jake Pentecost: John Boyega
Nate Lambert: Scott Eastwood
Amara Namani: Cailee Spaeny
Hermann Gottlieb: Burn Gorman
Dr. Newton Geiszler: Charlie Day
Liwen Shao: Jing Tian
Marshal Quan: Max Zhang
Jules Reyes: Adria Arjona
Mako Mori: Rinko Kikuchi
Cadet Suresh: Karan Brar
Cadet Jinhai: Wesley Wong
Cadet Viktoria: Ivanna Sakhno
Cadet Ryoichi: Mackenyu
Cadet Meilin: Lily Ji
Cadet Renata: Shyrley Rodriguez
Cadet Tahima: Rahart Adams
Cadet Ilya: Levi Meaden
Joseph Burke: Dustin Clare
Daiyu: Chen Zitong
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.