Day 22 of ? – It’s Been a While

23 Mar

Yes, it’s been a while. A while since I’ve published an official movie review here on DieHardThree.com!

In fact, it’s been so long I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually written one. This is my 368th post and while most of them are unforgettable, many are just a blur. I’ve dabbled in politics, discussed the afterlife and debunked the existence of ghosts, written a poem, purchased a toilet, sold a freezer, visited Berlin, accidentally destroyed a friend’s bathroom (sorry Eva!), and I once wrote a take that was so scorching Ronald Reagan complained about the heat.* And with such a variety of topics on a blog that is explicitly named after one of the greatest movies of all time,** I feel a garden variety film review would not be out of place.

So with all that in mind, here are my thoughts on Pacific Rim 2: The Up Rising (2018). There won’t be any spoilers but this review will take you to the darkest recesses of your soul where you will be forced to question your most basic understanding of modern Hollywood filmmaking. Or you can just skim it over and go back to Facebook. Either way it’s all good – we here on DH3 don’t judge (except when we do).

So let’s begin…

I’m loathing to write this, but I have to include some kind of description of the movie’s predecessor for any of what I’m about to write to make any kind of sense. Yes, it’s really that stupid.

In the first one, the Earth is attacked by giant monsters emerging from a spacetime rift at the bottom of the ocean. The humans band together with our best and brightest minds deciding to solve this problem by building giant fighting robots to punch the monsters to death (why we didn’t just modify our existing weapons was not explained.) And then there…. there… there are… are the two subplots.

One involves (and I’m not making this up) the construction of a giant wall around the entire Pacific ocean to keep the beasts out. The other is…  one sec…

I’m back. Wait I have to go again… one sec….

The other is about how the giant robots are so big they need two pilots to operate. And I don’t just mean like Goose and Maverick or Luke and Dax I mean like the two pilots need to have their minds joined together because these machines are so… heavy? It doesn’t… It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I warned you it would get dark. And we’re not even at the review yet (which starts now).

So in the new one, there’s this one scene where they have to go and investigate a signal and instead of just sending a helicopter or tasking a satellite or something, our two heroes jump into their trusty giant human-shaped robot fighting machine and walk from HONG KONG to try and figure out what’s going on… in SIBERIA. And when they get there they just do a scan of some old factory. They didn’t need their giant robot at all – the only reason it was there was because the next (pointless) battle would have been over real quick without it.

And then there was this other part where I had my MacBook open and I was loudly typing away on iMessage with Nick and I remarked “as terrible as this film is, on the plus side there are no progress bars!” and as soon as I hit enter, one of the characters yelled out

Twenty kilometres to impact!

And this got me thinking – is something like “distance to impact” a type of progress bar?

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the “progress bar” (or PB for short), is a filmmaking device that has been ruining movies for about the last 25 years. It attempts to inject some tension into the story by visually representing some fixed duration event that the hero either wants to ensure or prevent the completion thereof.  If you want to experience a progress bar ruining a movie in its purest, most uncut form you have to go watch the opening ten minutes of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). It’s epic.

So while I’m about 90% sure that “distance to impact” is technically not a progress bar, I’m 100% positive it was NOT helpful information for the people on the other end of the radio (nor the audience for that matter). For the distance to be of any value you have to know how fast you’re travelling. So the guy in the robot is going to have to go, “Hmmmm. I’m traveling at 120 km/h, 20 km (divide the distance by two) I’ll be there in ten minutes.” It would have been way easier to just give the time to impact. All this math probably distracted him from the battle.

Anyway, it’s this absence of a progress bar that prevents Pacific Rim 2 from being a completely awful movie. The filmmakers seem to have been aware of this fact so we should give them a tiny bit of credit.

And that’s all I have the brain capacity for right now. Usually when I’m writing something like this I like to have three examples for whatever the topic is – I feel it makes for more compelling reading. It’s a variant of what they tried to teach us in school – intro, idea 1, idea 2, idea 3, conclusion. But this movie was so stupid I feel my brain getting damaged when trying to come up with a third thing to write about. So I’m not going to.

In conclusion, the end.

*I know Reagan is long dead – he received this burn in the afterlife. Yes, that’s how hot my take was. You should go read it.

**A debatable point yes, but I would wager that the cab/subway chase in DH3 was so well executed, that this scene alone makes Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) better than 99.9% of all the the other films out there. Show me a better scene people. Doesn’t exist.

Pacific Rims Pu Risin

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