Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead
I’m a simple man and easy to please. I just want to see giant robots fighting giant monsters. And I got that with Guillermo Del Toro’s Sci Fi action spectacle Pacific Rim in 2013. I was hoping to get that with the 2018 sequel Uprising but that film delivered more Jaeger versus “evil” Jaeger action than anything else, together with a stupid plot and really poor pacing. Thankfully the latest instalment in the franchise, Netflix anime-inspired series Pacific Rim: The Black, is a return to form.
The series is set in Australia which has been completely overrun by Kaiju and designated “Black” (abandoned) by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps or PPDC. During the final offence a husband and wife Jaeger pilot team leave their young children Taylor and Haley with other survivors to go and get help. Five years pass but they still have not returned, and the survivors have since established a thriving settlement. When that settlement is attacked by a Kaiju the siblings escape in a training Jaeger named Atlas Destroyer. And in their journey to find their parents and survive they will encounter new allies, creatures, and both Kaiju and human foes.
You know how the films are nice and PG-13? Well this is an adult animated series. Now there is no profanity or sexual content, but there are some scenes of extreme violence and blood that would probably traumatise the kiddies. I was like dang!
And speaking of violence, don’t expect a Jaeger versus Kaiju fight in all seven episodes. This isn’t Power Rangers. There are the big fights, though, and they build in momentum and entertainment value, leading to an awesome, action-packed climax. But there is a lot of story and build-up in between these clashes.
Pacific Rim is not really a franchise you go to for the characters (can you name anyone from the films off the top of your head?) and the ones here are nothing to write home to mama about. The siblings are both vanilla and the human big bad is the usual generic stuff. They also meet a mute, mysterious boy, but if you’ve watched enough anime you could pretty much figure out where they are going with this. My favourite characters were actually the smart-mouthed Jaeger AI Loa and mercenary Mei.
The story does go into themes of loss, grief and identity but I can’t say it did very much for me. But the vibrant and colourful visuals and creative creature design were very well done, so at least I had that to keep me interested.
Pacific Rim: The Black is a solid addition to this popcorn, monster franchise. While it doesn’t do anything revolutionary it has enough action and new elements to attract fans old and new. And the cliffhanger ending promised a very intriguing Season 2 which I would be on board for. That and more sweet, sweet Jaeger-on-Kaiju action. oh yeah!
Editor Jules’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.