ByFrankie Delos Trinos, writer at Creators.co
Too old for most things. Too young to know any better. More film opinions here: https://letterboxd.com/FrankieSays/
Frankie Delos Trinos

Anticipation is building for the sequel to the 2013 smash hit Pacific Rim after the unveiling of more teaser posters. With the release date set for March 2018, hype season has officially begun for fans of the Pacific Rim: Uprising franchise, as well as those looking to jump into the mecha-sized waters for the first time.

With the latest teaser drop, it becomes clear that we’re in for more streamlined versions of the Jaeger. No longer are they the clunky, ancient behemoths we saw from the first part, instead, they’re leaner and quicker than their predecessors.

The upgrades can only mean one thing: the future, as far as the ‘verse is concerned, is looking bright. Slicker designs and better weapons mean more money and support from the story’s higher-ups. Considering the Bigger People were using the Jaegers as a last resort in the first film, the implications behind this sequel appear promising.

'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]

Of course, the mecha upgrades also mean that mankind’s enemies, the monster Kaijus, are a lot meaner and scarier than before. It’s a development the official synopsis implies:

It’s been ten years since The Battle of the Breach and the oceans are still, but restless. Vindicated by the victory at the Breach, the Jaeger program has evolved into the most powerful global defense force in human history. The PPDC now calls upon the best and brightest to rise up and become the next generation of heroes. When the Kaiju threat returns, we will be ready.

From the way things are moving, it looks like humanity is actually winning the war against the Kaijus. The only teaser trailer released so far is a recruitment-style video, with GLaDOS herself hyping the Jaegers as machines that will take anyone past their limits. Gone is the Jaegers’ old image of being monsters to defeat other monsters. These new Jaegers are sleek, more modernized and reek of so much hyped new-ness that anyone would want to hop on board the Uprising project.

The differences are immediately clear once you see the trailers released for the first film and for Uprising:

The thing these new teasers are lacking is the desperate grit that defined the original film. Everything now is shiny and new, thanks to a younger generation taking the reigns from the last movie’s heroes. Humans are now on the winning side of the Kaiju conflict, even if they’re still hell-bent on cancelling the apocalypse. On the other hand, it seems mankind has gone past the mindset that inspired the desperate “Go Big or Go Extinct” motto to move on to the more generic, and more confident, “Rise Up.”

'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]

But what if this is the future the teasers want you to believe?

The Devil's In The (Falsely-Advertised) Details

Another film infamous for its hard-sell approach to military recruitment is the 1997 cult classic, Starship Troopers. In this movie, humans are up against another breed of large monsters — known only as the Arachnids. These bugs are just as large and varied as the Kaijus threatening the world of Pacific Rim, but like any colony, the Arachnids use their numbers to their overwhelming advantage. Instead of deploying gigantic Jaegers to quash the threat, the humans in Starship Troopers respond in kind by sending platoons of soldiers to fight numbers with even more numbers.

It’s a tactic that fails spectacularly, but this isn't something the average citizen is supposed to know.

It’s easy to assume that the humans are winning the war against the bugs, but once you actually get to watch the film, you’re told a different story. Because the military is running out of soldiers so quickly, it obviously has to step up its game to get more (gullible) recruits to join the cause. So if the propaganda in Starship Troopers convinced you of a more positive narrative, then it’s doing its job.

What if the Pacific Rim: Uprising teaser materials are doing the same thing?

'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]

In the first film, it was a proven fact that controlling a Jaeger single-handedly was a fatal health risk for the pilot. Even when they made the adjustment to have two pilots control one Jaeger, it was still difficult to find a pair that complemented each other perfectly. For a Jaeger to run at its maximum potential, both pilots have to be perfectly in-sync and completely open with each other. Once this happens, they become drift-compatible and qualified enough to take control of the mega-sized weapon.

Even then, there’s also the matter of manufacturing an entire fleet of the Jaegers. By the time the first movie ended, humanity’s resources were nearly shot, while all the heroic Jaegers that took center stage perished in the face of the last Kaiju attack. Even if ten years might have given humanity the time to replenish the Jaeger army, how can they claim to be doing exceptionally well against the Kaiju if the monsters were laying low in the same timespan?

It all boils down to overconfidence. By the end of the first film’s events, the Breach was successfully sealed. This meant that the Kaiju threat was put on hold — at least, until the beginning of the sequel. During this time gap, it's easy to assume that the humans rested on their laurels by simply mass-producing the Jaegers without having to face the threat of regular Kaiju attacks. Without Stacker Pentecost's stern leadership to rally their efforts, humanity might have gotten lax, leading them to make grand claims about taking on the Kaijus they struggled to defeat in the first film.

A Rematch Of Monstrous Proportions

Ten years is a long time, where practically anything is bound to happen. Maybe the trailers are right and humanity really did get better at exterminating the Kaiju threat. With the returns of Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman, we're assured that some knowledge from the original generation was passed on to the new. From the original line-up of Jaegers ranging from the ancient Mark-1 rank to the then-advanced Mark-5, the new roster boasts an impressive stable of four Mark-6 units and one Mark-5. Developments in pilot compatibility might have been made too, if the advertisements are so eager to mass-recruit pilots to join the cause.

'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]
'Pacific Rim: Uprising' [Credit: Universal Studios]

On the other hand, it's also possible that humanity is still getting its ass kicked — or is just about to.

We can't really say for sure until the release of more trailers and the actual film itself. But because the first Pacific Rim film was so self-aware and tongue-in-cheek about its shout-outs and geeky homages, it makes sense to hold its sequel to similar standards. Even if original director Guillermo del Toro isn't reprising his role in Uprising, he was still involved in production behind the scenes. More than his designs and vision, it's hoped that he passed on some of this self-awareness to his successor, Steven S. DeKnight.

Either way, much like the first movie, in any live-action rendition of giant robots duking it out with giant monsters, it's the humans who always win.

Well, at least those humans watching in the cinemas anyway.

What do you think about the teaser material released for Pacific Rim: Uprising? Should they be taken at their face value? Or does something more sinister lie in wait for the audiences?

(Source: Go Jaeger)

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