Pacific Rim Uprising
|Pacific Rim Uprising|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven S. DeKnight|
by Travis Beacham
|Music by||Lorne Balfe|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$290.1 million|
Pacific Rim Uprising is a 2018 American science fiction film directed by Steven S. DeKnight (in his feature-film directorial debut), and written by DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin. It is the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rim, with Guillermo del Toro, the director of the original, serving as a producer. The sequel stars John Boyega (also making his producer debut), as well as Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona, and Zhang Jin, with Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman returning from the original film. Set in the year 2035, the plot follows humanity again fighting Kaiju, the giant monsters set on destroying the world.
Principal photography began in November 2016 in Australia. The film was released in the United States on March 23, 2018, by Universal Pictures, in 2D, Real D 3D, IMAX 3D, and IMAX, and grossed $290 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews from critics; with some calling the film inferior to del Toro's and criticizing the scope, pacing, story, as well as the absent characters from the previous film and underdeveloped new characters, while others praised the visual effects and performances of Boyega and Spaeny.
In 2035, ten years after the Battle of the Breach, former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost – son of Stacker Pentecost – makes a living by stealing and selling Jaeger parts on the black market in the Los Angeles area. After he tracks part of a disabled Jaeger's power core to the secret workshop of fifteen year-old Jaeger enthusiast Amara Namani, both are arrested by the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps after an altercation between Amara's small, single-pilot Jaeger Scrapper and the Jaeger November Ajax. Jake's adoptive sister and PPDC Secretary General Mako Mori gives Jake a choice between the prison or return to PPDC as an instructor with Amara as his recruit.
Upon arriving at a Shatterdome in China, Jake starts training Jaeger program cadets with his estranged former co-pilot Nate Lambert. Nate and Mako reveal to him that the Jaeger program is threatened by Shao Corporation's drone program, which offers to mass-produce Jaeger drones developed by Liwen Shao and Dr. Newton Geiszler. Mako is due to deliver a final assessment to determine the authorization of the drones at a PPDC council meeting in Sydney, but is killed by rogue Jaeger Obsidian Fury before she can report. Her death prompts the PPDC council to authorize the drone program and order their immediate deployment. Moments before her death, Mako transmitted the location of a defunct Jaeger production facility in Siberia before Jake failed to save her. Jake and Nate travel to the area in their own Jaeger, but Obsidian Fury destroys the complex and engages them in battle. Upon destroying its reactor, they find that Obsidian Fury was controlled by a Kaiju's secondary brain, which testing shows was grown on Earth.
When the drones reach their respective locations, they are taken over by cloned Kaiju brains and simultaneously attack Shatterdomes worldwide, inflicting heavy casualties on the PPDC forces and incapacitating almost all Jaegers. Hermann Gottlieb seeks out Geiszler for help, only to discover that Geiszler is the mastermind behind the attack. Geiszler’s mind has been taken over by the Precursors, the alien race who created the Kaiju, due to his regularly drifting with Kaiju brains. Seeking to destroy the world for the Precursors, Geiszler, now their emissary, commands the Kaiju-Jaeger hybrids to open new breaches all over the world. Although Shao is able to destroy the drones, three powerful Kaijus named Raijin, Hakuja, and Shrikethorn – emerge from the breaches and unite in Tokyo. The team realizes that the Precursors' goal is to activate the Ring of Fire by detonating Mount Fuji with the Kaiju's chemically reactive blood, spreading toxic gas into the atmosphere and wiping out all life on Earth, terraforming the planet for Precursor colonization.
The cadets are mobilized while Gottlieb and Shao repair the PPDC's four remaining Jaegers; Gottlieb invents Kaiju-blood-powered rockets, which launch the team to Tokyo. Although the Jaegers initially repel the three Kaiju, the Precursor Emissary merges them into a Mega-Kaiju that quickly overpowers the Jaegers, injures Nate, kills Suresh and destroys three of the four Jaegers leaving Gipsy Avenger as the only operational Jaeger. Jake and Amara pilot it against the Mega-Kaiju, with Shao remote piloting Scrapper and aiding them by locating a rocket and welding it to Gipsy's right hand and sending the Jaeger into orbit and allowing to freefall back to earth, colliding into the Mega-Kaiju which kills the Kaiju as Jake and Amara survive by transferring into Scrapper. Afterwards, Nate takes the Precursor Emissary into custody.
Some time later, the captive Precursor Emissary threatens that Precursors will attack the world over and over again. Jake replies that next time, humanity will be the ones attacking the Precursors.
- John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost, the stepbrother of Mako and Nate and Amara's partners.
- Scott Eastwood as Nate Lambert, Jake's estranged co-pilot and partner who piloted the Gipsy Avenger.
- Jing Tian as Liwen Shao, a businesswoman and technologist who joined the allies with PPDC against the Precursor Emissary.
- Cailee Spaeny as Amara Namani, a street orphan who created a civilian Jaeger, Scrapper, and Jake's partner after Nate is injured by the Mega-Kaiju.
- Madeleine McGraw as Young Amara Namani
- Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, the former pilot of Gipsy Danger and the stepsister of Jake who is now the head of the reorganized PPDC and becomes the Secretary General working with Hermann.
- Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, a scientist and officer who stayed and continued to work in PPDC with Mako.
- Adria Arjona as Jules Reyes, an officer of the PPDC.
- Zhang Jin as Marshal Quan, a commanding officer in the PPDC.
- Charlie Day as Dr. Newton Geiszler, a brainwashed former scientist and officer in the PPDC who becomes the Precursor Emissary after his mind is taken over by the Precursors.
- Karan Brar as Suresh Khuran, Ilya's partner and cadet who piloted the Jaegar Guardian Bravo.
- Ivanna Sakhno as Viktoriya "Vik" Malikova, Ou-Yang's partner, a cadet who piloted the Jaegar Bracer Phoenix and starts out as Amara's rival.
- Mackenyu as Ryoichi, Renata's partner and cadet who piloted the Jaeger Saber Athena.
- Lily Ji as Meilin Gao.
- Wesley Wong as Ou-Yang Jinhai, Vik and Amara's partner and cadet who piloted the Jaeger Bracer Phoenix.
- Shyrley Rodriguez as Renata, Ryoichi's partner who piloted the Jaeger Saber Athena.
- Levi Meaden as Ilya, Suresh's partner and cadet who piloted the Jaeger Guardian Bravo.
- Rahart Adams as Tahima Shaheen
- Zhu Zhu as Juen.
- Nick E. Tarabay as Sonny, an associate to Jake Pentecost.
- Ellen McLain as the AI of Gipsy Avenger.
- Jamie Slater as Captain McKinney, a military captain.
- Dustin Clare as Joseph Burke.
- Dan Feuerriegel as Lieutenant Allan Gronetti, a military lieutenant.
In 2012, prior to the first film's release, del Toro noted that he had ideas for a sequel, noting in 2014 that he had been working on a script with Zak Penn for several months. In June 2014, del Toro stated that he would direct the sequel, and that it would be released by Universal Pictures, Legendary's new financing and distribution partner, on April 7, 2017. In July 2015, it was reported that filming was expected to begin in November, though production was halted following conflicts between Universal and Legendary. As the sequel's future became unclear, Universal indefinitely delayed the film. Still determined to have the film made, del Toro kept working and by that October announced that he had presented the studio with a script and a budget.
After the sale of Legendary to Chinese Wanda Group for $3.5 billion, observers noted an increased likelihood of Pacific Rim 2's production being revitalized because the first film was so successful in China.
In February 2016, the studio, and del Toro himself via Twitter, announced that Steven S. DeKnight would take over directing duties, with a new script written by Jon Spaihts, marking DeKnight's feature directorial debut. del Toro remained on the project as a producer. Derek Connolly was brought in on May 12, 2016, to rewrite the script again.
Cast announcements began in June 2016, with John Boyega accepting a role, and news that Scott Eastwood was in talks appearing later that month. Further announcements took place in September and November. A notable absence from the cast was Charlie Hunnam, who could not join the project because of his scheduling conflicts with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Principal photography on the film began on November 9, 2016, in Australia. On December 14, 2016, the official title was revealed to be Pacific Rim Uprising. In February 2017, three new Jaegers for the film were revealed. On March 8, 2017, filming started in China. The Battle of Tokyo sequence was filmed in Seoul and Busan in South Korea using drones. Filming was completed on March 30, 2017.
Composer John Paesano was originally slated to be writing the score for the film, replacing the first film's composer Ramin Djawadi. However, in January 2018, it was announced that Paesano had been replaced by Lorne Balfe.
Legendary Comics released Pacific Rim: Aftermath on January 17. 2018. The six-issue comic book series serves as a bridge between the two films.
Pacific Rim Uprising was released on March 23, 2018 in the United States, in 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D, by Universal Pictures. Originally scheduled for release on April 7, 2017, the date was postponed multiple times. The film was pushed back to August 4, 2017, then to February 23, 2018, and one final time to March 23.
Pacific Rim Uprising grossed $59.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $230.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $290.1 million. Due to a production budget between $150–176 million, and at least another $140 million spent on total promotion and advertisement, the film needed to gross at least $350 million worldwide in order to break even.
In the United States and Canada, Pacific Rim Uprising was released alongside Midnight Sun, Sherlock Gnomes, Unsane, and Paul, Apostle of Christ, and was projected to gross $22–29 million from 3,703 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $2.35 million from Thursday night previews, down from the original's $3.5 million, and $10.4 million on its first day (including previews). It went on to debut to $28 million, becoming the first film to dethrone Black Panther (which made $16.7 million in its sixth week) for the top spot. It fell 67% to $9.2 million in its second weekend, finishing 5th.
In Korea, the film ranked first on March 22, with 82,486 admissions. In China, the film opened at number one, grossing $21.36 million on its first day and $25.84 million on its second, for a two-day gross of $48.59 million. It went on to have a debut of $65 million in the country, as well as $6.9 million in Korea, $6.8 million in Russia and $4.9 million in Mexico, for an international opening weekend of $122.5 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 43% based on 202 reviews, and an average rating of 5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Pacific Rim Uprising won't win any points for subtlety or originality, but it delivers enough of the rock 'em-sock 'em robots-vs.-kaiju thrills that fans of the original will be looking for." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 44 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from the first film's "A–", while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an overall positive score of 78%.
Mark Kennedy of Associated Press called the film "cheer-at-the-screen fun" and awarded it 3.5 out of 4 stars, lauding Boyega's performance and his chemistry with Spaeny, while also commending DeKnight for using daylight instead of the rainy night settings of del Toro. Mel Evans of Metro gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, calling it "very loud, mighty fun, but not much more," while also applauding Boyega for his performance and noting his chemistry with Eastwood. Ethan Sacks of New York Daily News gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, and was also positive of Boyega's and Spaeny's performances, comparing Boyega's character to Han Solo. However, he criticized the dense backstories of the characters, noting that, "a movie about massive monster-fighting robots doesn't need so much engineering."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying: "The climactic battle drags on forever and looks like a high-tech update of a monster movie clash of the titans from a half-century ago. Even the sight of the residents of Tokyo scrambling for their lives as a giant lizard monster stomps through the city serves only as a reminder we're sitting through a glorified B-movie with nothing new to say." David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C–", calling it a "generic and diverting sequel that corrects some of the original's biggest mistakes while also highlighting some of its more eccentric charms."
Cary Darling of the Houston Chronicle gave it 1.5 out of 5 stars and called it the worst film of 2018 so far, being especially critical of its bland premise and pandering attempt at international marketability. Darling concluded, "Pacific Rim Uprising is a lot like the city-crunching monsters it stars: big, loud and as dull-witted as Homer Simpson roused from a medically induced coma. It's a rote, paint-by-numbers blockbuster that would be offensive in its mediocrity if it also weren't so relentlessly uninspired," and "all that's left is the robot brawling and the marketing." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club called the film an "impersonal sequel," stating "simply put, it lacks its predecessor's curiosity about its world—its fascination with colorful backdrops and machines. Del Toro's movie [...] had an idealistic vision for its anime-influenced hobby-store pursuits [...] Pacific Rim: Uprising offers only its spare parts." Similarly, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that "DeKnight doesn't attempt to invest his monsters with majesty, the way Guillermo del Toro did in the previous film. With DeKnight it's just a lot of pounding, smashing and driving, purely functional."
Pacific Rim Uprising is a springboard for a cinematic universe, where DeKnight revealed "If enough people show up to this, we've already talked about the plot of the third movie, and how the end of the third movie would expand the universe to a Star Wars/Star Trek-style [franchise or series] where you can go in many, many different directions... You can go main canon, you can go spin-offs, you can go one-offs. Yeah, that's the plan." DeKnight also talked about the possibility of a crossover with the MonsterVerse, as co-writer T.S. Nowlin is a member of its writers room.
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