I don’t know who’s more excited about this movie: me or John Boyega. As both leading man and executive producer, this is very much his baby and he’s been promoting the hell out of it for quite some time now (as anyone who follows him on social media will be well aware).
He founded UpperRoom Entertainment Ltd in 2015, after finding mainstream success with Star Wars and it sounds like this was one of the first movies to cross his desk, during a general meeting at Legendary.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is, of course, a sequel to the 2013 Guillermo Del Toro movie, although this time around the legendary director’s been replaced by Steven S. Knight, better known for his television work, including Marvel’s Daredevil. In fact, this is his very first time directing a feature film.
So for those of you who don’t know, Pacific Rim is a (giant) monsters versus (giant) robots science-fiction action flick with some rather magnificent world-building as a backdrop. It’s set in a future where Earth is at war with the Kaiju, colossal sea monsters who emerged through an interdimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
In an attempt to defeat the Kaiju, humanity comes together and creates gigantic humanoid mechas (think Transformers but different) called Jaegers. Each Jaeger has two pilots, whose minds are joined via a mental link.
The first movie focuses on the later days of the war, following Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnan), a washed up Jaeger pilot pulled out of retirement and partnered with a rookie, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), as part of a final attempt to defeat the monsters. Idris Elba played Beckett’s commanding officer, General Stacker Pentecost, a role originally offered to Tom Cruise, who turned it down.
Several of the original cast, including Rinko Kikichi are reportedly reprising their roles for the sequel, in which General Pentecost’s son, Jake (John Boyega), takes a stand against an evolved version of the Kaiju as well as a rogue Jaeger, the double-sword-armed Obsidian Fury, alongside Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old hacker Amara (Cailee Spaeny). Charlie Day and Burn Gorman also star.
There’s usually an overriding moral or ethical question in science-fiction or some sort of philosophical undercurrent, at the very least. Here, the very machines created by humans to fight monsters are developing the potential to become monsters themselves. There are several potential lines of debate in there and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
And for the record, Boyega would still pick the Millennium Falcon over a Jaeger. I can’t say that I blame him.