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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to 2013's Pacific Rim. Like the first movie, it has tons of explosive, large-scale action/fantasy violence. The giants shoot and beat one another up with fists and various weapons, leading to massive destruction and offscreen deaths. There's also some creepy, alien-related imagery, a little blood, and fighting/punching. Two men have a crush on the same woman; she kisses them both on the cheek, but nothing more comes of it. Language includes a smattering of words like "s--t," "ass," "bastard," "bitch," etc. An adult character drinks a couple of times. Guillermo Del Toro didn't direct this one as he did the original (he was a producer this time around), but it's still surprisingly fun, with some very likable and fairly positive, diverse characters who work together well as a team. John Boyega and Scott Eastwood co-star.
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What's the story?
In PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, 10 years have passed since the big battle between the invading giant monsters (the "Kaiju") and the human-made giant robots (the "Jaegers"). Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of fallen hero General Pentecost, now passes his time stealing and selling items on the black market. While trying to nab a valuable power source, he loses it to another thief, a young girl named Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), who's building her own mini-Jaeger. They're caught and sent to the Jaeger base, where Amara trains to become a cadet and Jake to take his place as a ranger. Before long, a rogue Jaeger attacks, and Jake and his fellow ranger, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), underestimate it and lose. But when they follow a clue and discover who (or what) is piloting it, it leads to a long-gestating plot: The Kaiju will rise again.
Is it any good?
This monsters vs. robots sequel is, surprisingly, much more than a dashed-off afterthought; it's speedy, nimble, fun, and -- best of all -- it doesn't take itself too seriously. Guillermo Del Toro, who directed the original Pacific Rim (2013), opted not to hold the reins for Pacific Rim: Uprising, instead taking a back seat as producer and handing the project over to Steven S. DeKnight, a TV director and producer who makes his feature directing debut here. He turns in a shorter, leaner movie, spending less time on exposition in favor of quick, potent, and often funny interactions.
In addition to creating likable characters, the band of screenwriters actually came up with a decent reason for a second movie, digging into the first one and coming up with believable roots for a new attack. Meanwhile, the battle scenes are as effective as ever: huge, colorful, and with a genuine sense of weight, scale, and height. The clever idea allows for cutting to the fighters inside the robots, guiding their actions and adding a human element to the fights. All in all, that's what viewers of this kind of movie actually want to see: an awesome, massive, roller coaster-sized spectacle. Pacific Rim: Uprising has it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is Amara a positive role model? How does she change over the course of the movie? Is she admirable? What about the other characters?
How did teamwork help the characters achieve their goal? If you'd been on the team, which character(s) would you have wanted to work with? Why?
- In theaters: March 23, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 19, 2018
- Cast: Cailee Spaeny, John Boyega, Scott Eastwood
- Director: Steven S. DeKnight
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 111 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language
- Last updated: January 9, 2020
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