I recently watched these two films almost back-to-back, and I thought they juxtaposed nicely with each other as two very different blockbuster movies.
While Pacific Rim: Uprising tried to show what could happen if we pushed the limits of man-made technology in its physical manisfestation, Ready Player One explores the limits of man-made technology in the virtual realm.
As one would expect, virtual reality is often more fantastical than physical reality, and we certainly see the element of fantasy play very heavily in RPO. Yet that can’t be the only reason why I found RPO to be so much better a film than PRU.
Perhaps it’s the plot. Despite seeming RPO seeming to be the more high concept of the two, RPO’s plot is simple and laid out from the outset; find the three keys, save the world. Perhaps it’s the fact that the story feels refreshing even while sticking to a standard, fittingly role-playing game-like storyline, certainly thanks in part to the constantly changing action scenes and landscapes.
In PCU, however, the plot is one built on twists and question marks from the outset; who is the rogue robot? What are Shao’s true intentions? While I’ve mentioned many times before that one thing I love in any film is a good plot twist, I felt that the reveal was not only stunted by a giveaway earlier scene (where Charlie Day’s character connects his mind to some alien brain), but was also beset by the story being overstuffed with too many narratives; there’s the Mako/Jake brother sister arc at the start, the rival arc between Jake and Nate, the rival arc between Amara and Vik, the teacher-Student arc between Jake and Amara, the love triangle that sort of ends nowhere… the list goes on and on, and already, I’m sure you can see how any sort of undergirding plot line is quickly diffused by all these narratives that the filmmakers seem to place enough emphasis on individually to detract from any sort of overarching storyline.
One thing I must say though, the visuals for both were stunning, and they both certainly had their epic moments.
7.5/10 for Ready Player One
5/10 for Pacific Rim: Uprising