Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim made a whole lot of money in 2013 thanks to the international box office, but domestically, fans and critics met it with a resounding shrug. One of the criticisms leveled at it was that the movie, while visually stunning, was very light on a plot that made sense and well-rounded characters - after all, we already have the Transformers franchise for that. While the box office numbers were impressive, the overall feeling was one of disappointment.
Lead Charlie Hunnam agrees that the original film went a bit too far into the realm of spectacle and moved away from the character development. While speaking with EW earlier for his ultra sultry photo shoot for King Arthur, the actor revealed that for the sequel, he'd love to see less reliance on special effects this time around.
When it becomes very technical, those technical aspects create a rigidity to the process. Then all of the sudden, you have to find where your little place to fit into that process is, as opposed to the whole thing being about you.
Lest you think he means that in a self-centered way, let me say I understand where he's coming from. Acting is a very vulnerable process; it takes much more mental preparation than people realize. Being reduced to a small cog in a giant machine has got to be difficult, a strange thing when you realize that many of your lines are being sacrificed for a few more minutes of an explosion, or that you suddenly have to perform within the strict confines of a very limited scope because it all has to work within the context post-production.
Hunnam was quick to point out he was very proud of the first film, but felt that some of the smarter elements of the film were definitely sacrificed on the altar of studio pandering:
I think world creation and monster creation and all of that stuff is exciting as a secondary element of storytelling. When it becomes more important than storytelling, I get very nervous, and you sort of lose me a little bit. Although we tried very hard on Pacific Rim to marry those two elements, I do feel like ultimately it got weighed heavier on the side of spectacle than storytelling.
And indeed, the marketing was focused so heavily on showcasing the Jaegers and Kaiju that the human element was a bit of an afterthought: "Oh yeah, and there are actual humans in this movie, too." Still, he hopes that they can fix some of that imbalance the second time around, and with more than two years before Pacific Rim 2's release, they should be able to.
Pacific Rim 2 is in theaters on August 4th, 2017.