Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


Painting Graffiti for Pacific Rim: Uprising

Until this week I had absolutely zero desire to watch Pacific Rim Uprising. The original is famously either an awesomely terrible movie or a terrible awesome movie, and my impression from the (theatrical release) marketing was of a shorter, lower-budget, cash-in with a new director and dropping down a tier in actors. Its release date being put back a year cemented the opinion.

For the DVD release the marketing team at Premier arranged a graffiti workshop for press and, having got increasingly interested in art, I picked up an enjoyable freebie (the back of my head appears occasionally in the video), and rented a digital copy bracing myself for a review of ‘Go and watch the first one again’.

111 minutes later I’m actually impressed. Here’s the one line review: you will enjoy this film because you expect it to be awful. The last Indiana Jones had the opposite problem. This film is an excellent disappointing sequel, and that’s probably the way it is most in tune with the original.

Part of the low expectations comes from the first 20 minutes, in which we get unnecessary narration, poor chemistry and terrible dialogue, but that’s simply setting you up for the payoff of enjoying the rest of the movie.

Uprising has doubled down on its core demographic – our audience surrogate is now a defiant teenager, doing defiant teenage activities, with defiant teenage friends who end up having to pilot defiant giant robots to defiantly save the world. Bizarrely, John Boyega’s bad-boy-with-father-issues represents the upper end of the target age range. Antagonists are mostly authority figures. This movie is for teenagers.

Check out the video by Global Street Art of the Graffiti worshop below.

For that specific age range it delivers. Giant robots punch other robots in the head. The action compares favourably with the mess that it a Transformers action sequence, and the characters do what is expected of them, which is periodically look at a hologram and move the story forward to an action sequence. Occasionally somebody heroically, and defiantly sacrifices themselves.

On that note – John Boyega and Cailee Spaeny are pleasantly charismatic, after a rocky start. Burn Gorman and Charlie Day were the comic relief in the last film. Here they also have to do the exposition and the acting. It’s a heavy load but they remain the most watchable characters. Disappointingly in 2018, Adria Arjona’s character could be replaced by having the two male leads stop the movie periodically and say “This character is heterosexual” directly into camera.

Random fact – Pacific Rim grossed slightly more in China than in the US market (by comparison, Avengers, the previous year, grossed 7 times more in the US), and the sequel has adjusted its cast and indeed some of its visual style, appropriately. The adjustment helped – Uprising grossed almost twice as much in China than the US.

Rent the film, curl up on sofa.

Pacific Rim Uprising is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital!

Next PostPrevious Post


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.