Hollywood has long sought to make the consummate monster movie. While, as it stands, no such movie exists, there have been some admirable efforts over just the last couple of years. Most prominent of these is 2013’s Pacific Rim. Anyone who went to the theater looking for a complex character drama likely went home disappointed. But that was never the point of the movie in the first place. What it managed to do was show just how much fun a mindless action movie featuring robots and monsters could really be.
Much of its creative direction can be credited to director Guillermo del Toro, a man with an amazing grasp for movie monsters. The Kaiju he devised were every bit as terrifying and formidable as any of their film contemporaries. On the other side, we had the Jaegers designed to fight off the Kaiju, tasked with defending our world from the onslaught of certain doom. That simple formula (with some character dressing on the side) gave us one of the best monster movies of the last decade, and really it’s not even close.
Bombastic and thrilling action sequences defined Pacific Rim: Gigantic Jaegers fought off Kaiju using container ships as blunt objects. The Kaiju battled back, as each one came out of their inter-dimensional rift bigger and badder than the last. There were giant swords, inspirational speeches from Idris Elba, and of course the defining characteristic: The defying of tradition by not including an unnecessary romantic subplot. All the pieces came together to make a movie that’s eminently re-watchable and best experienced on the biggest screen humanly possible. This being so, we have every reason to be excited for the follow-up effort just announced today by Legendary from its official Twitter account.
PACIFIC RIM 2, the follow-up to the epic action-adventure Guillermo del Toro created, will be released on Friday, August 4, 2017 #Summer2017
— Legendary (@Legendary) April 24, 2015
Specific details concerning the sequel have been sparse, but what we do know comes straight from del Toro in comments made in June, when he stated that “the characters I love will return.” This will include our two main characters, Raleigh and Mako, as well as a host of others. He continued on to note that Pacific Rim 2 will take characters “into a fresh territory that will display amazing sights and battles.” It’s both delightfully vague and non-descriptive, but at the same time it’s reassuring to know that they’re not simply attempting a rehashing of events from the first installment.
More comments reported by Screen Rant tell us that we’ll see more of the Kaiju’s world through the rift, but that’s the extent of the details del Toro would disclose. Whatever we do end up seeing though, the world of franchises is far better off with a Pacific Rim sequel. Take for example the tragedy that is the success of the Tranformers saga. In it, we have some shared elements: giant fighting robots, aliens, explosions, the whole nine yards. But what it lacks is the well-shot, somehow believable action sequences that don’t end up feeling like unnecessary filler. There are clear stakes and consequences to every battle between the Kaiju and Jaegers, unlike Michael Bay’s strategy of tossing 15 robots into a battlefield to roll around wildly, while no one in the audience has any idea what’s actually going on.
We’ll have to wait until August 2017 to see for ourselves, but the safe money right now is on a solid sophomore effort for the young franchise. Waiting four years between movies may end up serving it well, preventing the very real temptation to rush out a hastily made product to make a quick buck. Del Toro’s never been one to mindless pump out blockbusters, so needless to say, a fair amount of TLC will go into this particular sequel. As long as it features more robots hitting monsters over the head with boats, we’ll have a hard time not getting excited.
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