I guess the reason I still think about Uprising is because of the tiny bits of good (animation & design wise) it had which only encourages me to think up of a better sequel while still keeping the bits I like. I haven't even seen it again, beginning to end, since it came out so my memory might fail me. Anyway, I think the VR simulation scuffle is a good scene to work through my thoughts. At your own risk: https://youtu.be/qrMn80ARkoE
>lighting - gif #1
So, yeah, Onibaba actually looks great here under broad daylight. The other kaiju do too, for the most part. I'd say this is by far the most positive thing Uprising managed to achieve. The warm light is perfectly contrasted with shadows dark enough to obscure some of the kaiju's details. I'm no artist but I think strong shadows are important to sell not only how "real" it looks, but also the scale.
On the other hand, the jaegers look kinda iffy. The main jaegers tend to be overly glossy and look washed out under harsher light. Titan Redeemer looks good though in the 3rd gif. I think the warmer light helps. There were also some lighting changes between the first trailer and final product that I might get to in another post.
>the big problem, or, 2fast 0furious - gif #2
The next thing to notice after how nice the crab looks is just how quickly this otherwise good shot moved to the next. Compare that to the original which lingers, inviting us to appreciate and digest what is on screen. Also note how the glancing morning star immediately cuts to Titan closing in without any moment in between. There are other king crimson cuts like this which just ruins the flow.
It's not simply that "they move faster". Everything is faster. The more stylised camera would actually be interesting to see if not for the fact that it's combined with the already faster movement, quicker shots and snappier cuts which btw also likes to cut to conn-pod scenes which are almost, if not equally, as long as the now shorter snippets of combat in between thanks to the faster speed. In contrast, the first film had them sandwiched between longer scenes of fighting, there's less empty dialogue and the conn-pods are actually interesting to look at! See the Knifehead webm for example. >>4935
>weight - gif #3
This is such a cool little moment it honestly makes me sad. Why is this not the standard? Lighting and "physics" are on point. Inertia in action as Titan buckles and shakes when Onibaba intercepts the blow. There are probably other details like this in the movie if you look hard enough but they're still subdued by the above issues. Too few and far in between and are easily missed due to everything being faster and them being less prominent.
I do feel like the animators were trying, but like the way they tried to establish scale, they ultimately failed to achieve the same sense of weight and scale that graced the setpieces of the first. The hits lack the punch you'd expect (that flaccid elbow rocket...) and jaegers even get thrown around like ragdolls a couple of times by normal sized kaiju.
There's no longer any interest to focus on the working of pistons, locking of joints and shifting of plates which is completely antithethical to the original design philosophy. Where are the closeups of weapons and transformations?
WHERE'S THE FUCKING LAUNCH SEQUENCE?
>jaegers moving too organically - gif #4
Another factor that compounds the weight issue. Looking at the gif, the problem isn't really Titan's speed. It's how smooth it looks as it gingerly twists its hips to provide power to the weapon. There's always a bit of "weightlessness" before a hit connects, I think, but you'd expect at least some hint of mechanisms locking and shifting. Even if there were though, Uprising's editing style would just bury that detail.
The jaegers almost look like they copy the pilots 1:1. This makes no sense inside and outside the context of the movie. Why would you animate/design jaegers to copy the pilot's every flinch, fumble or other useless and potentially harmful movements? Outside the story, the jaegers just end up moving too organically to give them that mechanical feel and weight the original jaegers had. There has always been some disconnect between the pilots and the jaegers themselves. Eliminating that is basically shooting yourself in the foot.
>where's my kaiju fisticuffs?
There's seemingly an aversion to any sort of drawn out close combat between kaiju and jaegers this time around. Maybe because it would be too "boring" or "repetitive"? So then what did we get with the 4v3 in Tokyo? Kaiju gets flattened repeatedly by buildings while jaeger runs away. Kaiju gets kicked repeatedly and runs away. Kaiju shoots spikes but gets shot at back and...runs away. There's barely any sense of danger until mega kaiju and by that point, jaegers are virtually useless so they just divebomb it.
I get more of a rush just watching that 3rd gif. A perfectly usable kaiju team wasted. Shrikethorn harassing jaegers with its javelins before slinking in between buildings for cover. Hakuja using both it's digging and climbing skills to ensnare and suprise jaegers from below and above. Raijin is obviously a tank, handling two jaegers with its protective abilities wouldn't be a stretch. Remove mega kaiju since it's a useless gimmick and devote that time to these three. Just imagine.
Alright, whatever happened here was downright cursed. Mechanical sounds are mostly superseded by digital ones. GRRRRRRR-Kshnk
is now vrrrrrr beep boop
. Especially the weapons, from swords popping out to missiles being launched. Seriously though, what's up with that new plasmacaster? Gipsy Danger's had that understated and satisfying dink
which was perfectly complemented by the rippling and bubbling of vaporising flesh. The new one is literally just loud noise. That weird filter for the pilot helmets is dumb too. The weak selection of sfx brings the whole thing even further down. Weak looking hits sound even weaker. All that said, I think the kaiju roars are fine.
Pacific Rim wasn't only a treat to look at, but to listen to as well. All those powerful and immersive sounds arranged meticulously which points our attention to specific things at specific times while not drowning each other out or the music. Maybe I'm not remembering correctly but I think there were parts in Uprising where the audio mixing is just bad, like sections where the music gets drowned out by the action, some of which I actually like after giving them a listen. I might have to check myself but, eh. I'm out of steam.