Writer on Daredevil (the Netflix series) and Smallville, Steven S. DeKnight is directing his first feature film here with this Pacific Rim sequel. Five years after the first installment directed by the genius Del Toro, Uprising is now released in theaters preceded by unflattering preconceived ideas. But are they not justified for all that?
The first Pacific Rim was a unique film in more ways than one. Even if one could easily reproach him for his stereotypical characters and his headliner close to “ misscasting ” (Charlie Hunnam is much more convincing in James Gray as a manly adventurer than in the role of a hero with a thousand and one faces on which the viewer is supposed to project himself), the footage had for him an entirely original universe and mythology inspired, among other things, by the incredible animated Neon Genesis Evangelion .
After having repelled the Kaiju, giant extraterrestrials, for the first time in the first Pacific Rim of the name, the Jaeger, robots piloted by human beings, here again face a new threat likely to destroy the world. Exit the hero of the first film, Raleight Beckett, it is the turn of Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) to take over here and embody the new hope of the resistance.
Too busy making his formidable The Shape of Water , Guillermo Del Toro therefore gives way here to the inexperienced Steven S. DeKnight who signs his first film as a director. With a marketer selling a work more resembling Michael Bay than Guillermo Del Toro, and equipped with a more conventional aesthetic than in the past, Pacific Rim Uprising could presage a mediocre result at best.
This bad impression is confirmed by the very first minutes of the footage. Starting with hasty images from the previous part commented on by a voice-over which prosaically sums up the past facts and the present context, Uprising seems from the start to have nothing to do with immersing its audience in a yet fabulous universe. All that matters here is getting the information out. Which we cannot actually adhere to since they are not connected to an emotion and / or a real vision of a filmmaker. For these reasons, the art of dramaturgy is non-existent.
character introduction targeting a teenage audience where we see a John Boyega partying to electro music, the film will prove incapable of being a little bit entertaining (a shame in sight). of the subject’s potential). As proof, you have to see what the footage does with its most crucial moments within the story. The death of an important character is thus summed up in Uprising to a simple comma in the flow of the story, a fact which again boils down to banal information devoid of emotional prioritization.
In the same way, a flashback taking again that, sublime, of the film of Del Toro where a girl was found chased by a Kaiju in the destroyed streets of Tokyo after having lost her parents, is found in this sequel recycled in a shameful way. All the poetry, the sense of gigantism and the sensitivity of the author of Pan’s Labyrinth here give way to a sequence that looks more like a joke than a real presentation of the trauma of the character concerned. Badly written, badly edited and badly filmed, the scene is then made the admission of failure of this second Pacific Rim to exploit its heritage however so rich.
Worse, the famous action sequences supposed to be the heart of the film never manage to be at least impressive. Del Toro’s precise division here gives way to money shots lacking in inventiveness. More generally, the staging is impersonal and powerless to arouse the slightest interest despite what takes place on the screen. We then witness, bored, a dehumanized product made of noise and massive destruction beside which the Transformers could pass for models of avant-garde experiments in the field of realization.
The idea of the climax, exciting on paper and probably stemming in part from Del Toro, thus becomes in DeKnight a long and tiresome sequence that seems to have been produced by special effects technicians and not by someone normally qualified to tell a story.
Pacific Rim Uprising therefore looks like the worst in current Hollywood cinema. The film comes to evoke after only two minutes of projection the recent Kong: Skull Island (the pretty pulp aesthetic in less) and Independance Day: Resurgence in their way of treating imaginaries without ever extracting their essence. If we are not going to reproach Steven S. DeKnight for not reappropriating the mythology set up by Del Toro in the first Pacific Rim like a James Cameron with Aliens , we can only note with incomprehension the inability of the director to exploit even the concept of his film.
On the film poster, we can read the tagline: “ Revolt “. A slogan that future viewers of the work should perhaps finally take in the literal sense of the word.