Saturday 24 March 2018

Players get ready to enter The Oasis – watcha need to know about READY PLAYER ONE

The ultimate video game inspired movie of the year is about to be uploaded into cinemas worldwide this week. From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure READY PLAYER ONE based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Movie Synopsis:
In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place.  The only time Wade Watts truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days.  In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination.  The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday, who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir.  When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—aka the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.

Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Wade Watts. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (Schindler’s List [director & picture], and Saving Private Ryan [director]) directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on the novel by Cline, which has spent more than 100 weeks on the The New York Times Best Sellers list and recently shot to #1.  READY PLAYER ONE stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as lead protagonist Wade Watts with Olivia Cooke as Art3mis, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One – A Star Wars Story) as main antagonist Sorrento, T.J. Miller (Deadpool) as I-R0k, Simon Pegg (Star Trek,  Mission: Impossible) as Ogden Morrow and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) as James Halliday.

Wade Watts alter-ego Parzival in The OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Hear from Steven Spielberg himself and the cast of READY PLAYER ONE in this behind-the-scenes IMAX featurette:

It is certainly no secret that geek pop culture references are aplenty in this movie, drawn from classic video games over the last 30 years like Streetfighter and Overwatch as well as cult movies of like Back to the Future and The Shining. In the movie this is explained as OASIS creator's James Halliday's fascination with the 1980's when video games were born and conception of the internet. Find out more about Halliday and the dystopian future of READY PLAYER ONE at as well as play some retro video games via the web.

Yes, that's the DeLorean time-machine from Back To The Future serving as Parzival's ride in The OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Outpost Productions managed to catch an early screening of READY PLAYER ONE in Malaysia. Here are reactions immediately after the movie:

READY PLAYER ONE opens nationwide at Malaysian cinemas on 29 March with advance screenings starting the night before. Follow the official Facebook Page Ready Player One Movie for latest updates as well as locally on Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia.

Also thanks to the nice folks at Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia, we are giving away Preview Tickets for Ready Player One screening at GSC Mid Valley on Tuesday 27 March, 8.45pm. Check at the bottom of this post for instructions on how to win a pair of tickets.

For the first time ever, Outpost Productions is posting here trilingual movie reviews thanks to contributing writers Carolyn Hai (English), Ezli Qamari (Malay) and Micho Teh (Chinese):

MOVIE REVIEW by Carolyn Hai ( StarFyr3z )

Are you a fan of hunting for easter eggs in movies? Not literally the chocolate ones, the Easter egg in this context can be an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a movie or video game. Whether or not you are a fan of easter egg hunting, READY PLAYER ONE is the movie for you!

Anorak's Quest for all players to find the ultimate prize: an Easter Egg that would bequeath the winner control of the OASIS and immense wealth.

Wade Watts (Gamer Tag, Parzival) is one of many Gunters, gamer slang for egg hunters, caught in an extremely dangerous adventure, one that might even cost him his life in the real world when competing against the “evil” mega-corporation Innovative Online Industries, or IOI of short (not to be confused with Malaysia's IOI Corporation).

That's NOT a Xenomorph egg in the background! it's the ultimate Easter Egg.
I went in without expectations much from the movie. I wasn’t attracted the trailer, the poster (above) gave me the impression that I wouldn’t like the movie and the name wasn’t even catchy. So when I got the opportunity to watch READY PLAYER ONE, I was treated to an endless stream of adventure through the various virtual realms and enjoyed nearly every moment of it (except for the slightly horror part lah, since I am terrified of anything to do with horror in general). The poster (especially) didn’t do much justice for the movie at all!

The moment they introduced us to the OASIS, I was quickly enchanted by the beauty and the endless possibilities of that virtual reality universe, something I wish that we will definitely be getting by the time we reach 2045. The Possibilities. Are. Endless. From fully customized avatars to traveling through different worlds of various themes, I really felt like I belonged there. The contrast between reality and virtual was very clearly distinguished, and it made a lot of sense why the people in the movie would treat the OASIS as a sanctuary from reality.

Ben Mendelsohn swaps his Imperial uniform for a corporate suit as Nolan Sorrento, CEO of Innovation Online Industries. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
The cast were also fantastic, especially the main antagonist Nolan Sorrento, CEO of IOI. To simply put it without spoiling anything, every action and every decision made by the characters felt like they have been carefully analyzed, all the way up to the flaws of being human.

If you have not watched the movies or played the games featured in this movie, like me, fear not! You will still be able to follow the main story line as they made sure to include helpful scenes, conversations and characters to help you stay on track.

The movie also subtly highlighted the dos and don’ts of dealing with people in virtual reality, sending a very strong message across to create awareness to the audience about the dangers of virtual reality. As a casual gamer, I could relate to some of the things mentioned, having experienced it first hand before (and guilty for some).

The Iron Giant stomps into action in The OASIS battlegrounds. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
For a movie focusing on a global scale easter egg hunt, they included many characters and references from games and movies for your hunting pleasure, especially if you are a hardcore gamer or movie enthusiast.  According to an interview, the production team spent three years getting all the legal rights for all the characters featured so I am pretty sure you will at least find some that you know in here. Amongst some that were spotted were Tracer from Overwatch, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (ED: catch her prequel movie still in showing in cinemas), Chun Li & Ryu from Street Fighter, King Kong and the T-rex of Jurassic Park. I swear that there was a laugh that came from Plant vs Zombies in the last leg of the film. Maybe you could help me confirm that easter egg when you check it out in cinemas ;)

Happy Easter egg hunting and may the force be with you *wink*

== / ==

ULASAN FILEM oleh Ezli Qamari

Pada tahun 2045, akibat kesempitan hidup ramai yang memilih hidup dalam dunia virtual dari dunia sebenar. OASIS adalah tempat untuk melarikan diri dari realiti yang dicipta oleh James Halliday (Mark Rylance). Setelah kematiannya, Halliday meninggalkan seluruh harta melalui pertandingan dunia virtual untuk mencari 'Easter Egg'. Apabila Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) menjadi juara pada pertandingan pertama, dia diburu Nolan Sorrento yang tamak mahu menjadi juara dan merampas harta Halliday.

Berapa kali kita keluar pawagam selepas menonton filem berdasarkan game/komik/novel/sejarah dan mendengar hujah “Kau kena baca/main dulu baru faham cerita ni”. Persoalan timbul, kenapa perlu reference tambahan untuk menguatkan cerita sedia ada? Kenapa filem itu tidak boleh berdiri dengan sendiri?

Persoalan itu dijawab dengan baik oleh Steven Spielberg dalam satu babak dalam filem, watak Aech (Lena Waithe) memasuki dunia filem yang dia langsung tak tahu sebelum ini tetapi apa yang  dihadapi, walaupun pengalamannya menakutkan, dia menempuhinya dan membantu rakannya mencari klu penting. Anda tak perlu jadi ulat buku, kaki game atau pakar sejarah untuk menghargai READY PLAYER ONE.

Spielberg kembali kepada root asal dalam pengarahan seperti filem-filemnya awalnya seperti Jaws, Indiana Jones dan Back To The Future. Bukan mengarah untuk memenangi Oscar, bukan untuk pecah kutipan Box-office, tetapi mengarah sekadar menjadi penglipulara menghiburkan penonton sambil berseronok dalam proses pembikinannya. Secara bijaknya dalam filem ini Spielberg berjaya membahagi masa secara seimbang dunia virtual dan dunia realiti supaya penonton tidak rasa bosan.

Penulis novel asal Ernest Cline bertugas sebagai Penulis Layar untuk filem.
Satu lagi aspek penting kejayaan filem ini ialah penglibatan penulis novel asalnya, Ernest Cline bersama Zak Penn sebagai Penulis Layar. Jika mahu dibandingkan dengan novel, banyak elemen berat yang susah difahami oleh penonton 30 tahun ke bawah seperti lagu Discovery (1976) oleh kumpulan Rush atau pun reference filem Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Ia telah diganti dengan reference baru dan lebih dikenali ramai sebagai contoh karakter dari game Overwatch.

Pemilihan pelakon terbahagi kepada 2 kategori: pelakon baru Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao dan Win Morisaki dan pelakon veteran Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg dan Ben Mendelsohn. Kemudian mereka perlu dibahagikan kepada 2 lagi kategori, sebagai watak dunia realiti dan watak dunia maya. Identiti seimbang dalam 2 dunia dibawa dengan baik oleh setiap karakter walaupun menggunakan motion capture sehinggakan watak yang mempunyai screentime sedikit seperti Shoto, Daito dan Aech sangat memorable. Hanya watak F'Nale lakonan Hannah John-Kamen saja yang agak mengecewakan.

Watak Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) dalam dunia virtual OASIS. Copyright: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Akhir kata, READY PLAYER ONE adalah salah satu karya terbaik Spielberg setelah sekian lama yang bukan sahaja bersandar pada easter egg, reference dan nostalgia semata-mata tetapi mempunyai elemen perjuangan, kesaksaman, cinta, kekeluargaan dan persahabatan diselang-seli dengan visual dan muzik yang memukau.


== / ==

《头号玩家》影评 (by Micho Teh 咪啾)

作为大导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)的粉丝,本来就会期待他的任何新作。更何况数月前《头号玩家》(READY PLAYER ONE)发表的预告片里我们看见男女主角穿梭在众多叫人怀念的电影及游戏名作的角色人海里,立刻让大家对这个充满彩蛋文化的虚拟世界设定眼前一亮。虽然我没看过小说原著,却不受控制地幻想其电影里无限的好玩和可能性:究竟还有什么不一样却叫人熟悉的经典角色会出现?电影原创和异空间的角色们又要如何在这个虚拟环境里共处并交流甚至比赛打斗?就这样抱着各种期待踏入了电影院想要理个清楚,观后果真没失望,整个人好想立刻抓着谁来讨论刚才看到的画面与其后的背景,内涵,情绪。

《头号玩家》讲述着未来世界里面临着温室效应,人口爆发等居多问题都没得到解决,导致现实社会世界都令人失望,而天才游戏创作人詹姆斯·哈利迪(James Halliday)所创造的“绿洲”(OASIS – Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation 全沉浸式虚拟现实感官模拟游戏)允许众人以廉价的方式在虚幻的世界里以自己渴望的身份过上梦寐以求的好生活。男主角韦德·沃兹(Wade Watts)双亲在他年幼时就去世,他只好寄住姑姑和她暴力男友的屋檐下过着不堪的日子,和许多贫民区的住户一样,他每天的娱乐也就仅存于绿洲里所给予的“做美梦的自由”。当然“绿洲”里不全是玩乐的设定,当中也包含着会让任何玩家失去一切的危险游戏关卡,可不少勇士还是会想尽办法踏上战场想要赚些虚拟金币来升级,买装备等。
在“绿洲”创始人哈利迪临终前,他给全世界人宣布视频信息说明他在游戏里隐藏了三道彩蛋关卡,谁人能闯关成功获得隐藏钥匙就可以获取高额遗产和整个“绿洲”的掌控权。这样诱人的奖励不止让所有玩家踊跃挑战,更是造就了设法掌控“绿洲”及社会未来的大反派科技巨头 – IOI组织,当中的组织管理者诺兰更是阴险狡猾,不惜拿出各种卑鄙手段追求获胜。
在哈利迪去世五年后,一直无人破解第一关卡。然而机缘下,有着超强游戏天赋的韦德·沃兹利用自身游戏角色帕西瓦尔(Parzival)挑战第一关卡时靠着对哈利迪的深度了解和日复一日的研究,成功破解了了第一关卡的彩蛋谜题获得了第一把铜钥匙,这样的成就让他瞬间在虚拟世界里爆红成了个大名人荣登第一名排行榜。这样的轰动变化也给帕西瓦尔迎来了两世界里的杀身之祸,所幸他身边有着四位彩蛋猎人同志 – 让帕西瓦尔一见钟情的实力玩家和网络主播阿尔忒密斯(Art3mis),“绿洲”最好的机械师好友艾奇(Aech),“绿洲五强”(High Five)里的日本兄弟武士大东(Daito)和忍者修(Sho)及时出手相助。在彼此的扶持下,他们决定要破解哈利迪剩余的彩蛋关卡,并且阻止IOI组织终极垄断自由互联网权的阴谋。

《头号玩家》导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格一直以来就特别喜欢和擅长导演狗熊到英雄的演变故事,这次的电影也是打造在同样的情节概念上 – 电影里我们可以看见男主角韦德·沃兹在现社会里不过无存在感的宅男极客一名,有着悲惨过去,活在贫困的现在,放眼未来也只见不变的普通。但看似再平凡没用的人也会有能动摇世界的力量,极客韦德这个不合群特尴尬之弱点也意外成了他的优势,因为他比任何人更能理解“绿洲”创始人詹姆斯·哈利迪脑海里的思绪,毕竟两人都是在现实里找不到属于自己地位的大孩子。游戏玩家总会说:知己知彼百战百胜,摸清了也是游戏极客哈利迪的脑子后,韦德推断得出哈利迪会设下的彩蛋概念,和想要表达的心声,再透过同伴的帮忙,大家突破重重难关拿下了最后的胜利。

观赏《头号玩家》后心里只有满满的感动 – 许多人的电影游戏回忆以彩蛋方式重现荧幕,极客爱好被认真对待。《头号玩家》提供另一个角度去正面看待本来只属于小众人群的“极客文化”。在急速发展的科技社会里,它慢慢地演变成大众语言。曾经被看低的,现在可能不止被接纳了,甚至被崇拜着。毕竟电影里和现实里都让我们目睹不少羞涩古怪的宅宅极客可能就是改善和打造未来的人才,或许了解他们也能帮助大家更精准判断未来社会和主流文化的走向。
而我作为一个几乎沉迷游戏的极客宅女,在看见哈利迪对韦德说“谢谢你玩我的游戏”时,潸然泪下。在当下,我们理解的彩蛋是一个游戏制作者将自己灵魂,爱和谢意埋藏于作品里的一种形式,所以当玩家们特地研究破解出这些被隐藏起来的彩蛋和享受游戏全程,这就是给予游戏制作者最深刻的回应和致敬。原著作者恩斯特‧克萊恩(Ernest Cline)和导演史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格完美地记录了两方都是那么的需要和崇拜彼此的情景。或许这就是为什么我会特别有感触,毕竟我万万没想到会在虚构情节里,反映出我能理解的真实。

长话短说,对于《头号玩家》这电影,单刷是不够的。 至少对我们这批极客粉丝而言,起码要刷到能看清楚电影里头所有堆叠的彩蛋吧?哈哈,开玩笑的...吧?

== / ==
Here are a few more opinions about READY PLAYER ONE from gamers and geeks from the local ACG community and movie fans during a Special Screening with Outpost Productions thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia:

Now for a chance to win a pair of tickets to our READY PLAYER ONE movie preview screening, just follow these steps:
1. SHARE our post for this blog article on our Facebook Page here.
2. COMMENT in the Facebook post why you want to watch READY PLAYER ONE.
3. TAG a Facebook friend in your comment and include the hashtags #ReadyPlayerOneMY and #OutpostGiveaway.
4. Fill-up the Google Form below with your contact details so we can quickly notify you upon selection of winners.

Contest closes on Monday 26 March 2018 at 3.00pm and subject to the Terms and Conditions below.

Terms and Conditions for Movie Preview Screening contest:
  • Participation only for residents in Malaysia able to attend the Movie Preview Screening on Tuesday 27 March 2018, 8.45pm at GSC Mid Valley Megamall.
  • Only 1 entry per person. Multiple entries after the first entry will be automatically rejected.
  • Qualified entries must fulfill the participation requirements as indicated above.
  • Selection of winners from qualified submissions will be solely at our discretion.
  • Winners will be contacted by Monday 26 March, 11.59pm to RSVP attendance. It is the winners' own responsibility to respond accordingly to redemption instructions given.
  • We reserve the right to revise these terms and conditions at any time without prior notice.

SO many Geek-Gasm moments!

is in our 
Top Ten MUST-WATCH Geek Pop Culture movies 
for this year.
Enter the OASIS from 29 March 2018.


Disclaimer: READY PLAYER ONE and associated trademarks are copyright to Ernest Cline and/or Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., referenced here for fan service announcements only without intent to infringe.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Jaeger versus Kaiju Round 2 in Pacific Rim Uprising

In just a few days, Earth will be in jeopardy as gargantuan Kaiju (translation from Japanese as “strange beast”) invade once again in Pacific Rim: Uprising. Mega-robot Jaegers (translation from German as “hunter”) will be unleashed to protect humanity from extinction by these interdimensional monsters. This sequel movie to 2013's Pacific Rim erupts into Malaysian cinemas on 22 March.

To recap, in the year 2013 of this alternate-Earth alien sea monsters emerged from The Breach, an interdimensional rift deep in the Pacific ocean. Dubbed “Kaiju”, these massive creatures spread death and destruction amongst cities located along the pacific coastline. To fight back, nations across the world developed the Jaeger program under the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC), launching the first generation Mark 1 giant robots in late-2015 to go toe-to-toe against the Kaiju.

Whilst initially successful repelling the invasion, The Breach soon unleashed more power Kaiju more frequently. By 2025, Jaegers were being destroyed faster then they could be built. The PPDC eventually suspended the Jaeger program in favour of alternative defenses like coastal walls. The four remaining Jaegers under command of Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba).

After a devastating attack on Hong Kong destroying two more Jaegers, a last ditch plan is hatched to end the Kaiju threat once and for all by destroying the Breach. The last two combat Jaegers tasked for this critical mission are Gypsy Danger, piloted by Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) & Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), and Striker Eureka, with Pentecost and Chuck Hanson at the helm.

Despite being outnumbered by three Kaiju protecting The Breach, Gypsy Danger manages to enter the rift and self-destructs its nuclear reactor in the invader's home dimension. The Breach is sealed and the Apocalypse has been cancelled...

Well as clearly seen in the promos for Pacific Rim: Uprising, the Apocalypse was certainly not cancelled, just postponed for 10 years until a second invasion threatens mankind again to extinction.

Official movie synopsis:
The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim: Uprising. Boyega stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous ‘Kaiju.’ Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) — who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war.

As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction. Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defence force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

Look forward to more Jaegers in action for Pacific Rim: Uprising
By the year 2035 the Jaeger Program has been reinstated by the PPDC with new pilots recruited for the most advanced Mark 6 mega-robots. Many are new faces but supported by some returning heroes from the first Kaiju invasion. Here's a brief introduction of our protagonists:

Left to right: Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood).
Despite being the son of Marshal Pentacost, Jake quit the Jaeger program and instead becomes a black market dealer in Jaeger parts. His relationship with his father became estranged when Stacker chose Mako as his prodigy. Nevertheless, Mako remains vigilant on her adopted brothers activities and endeavours to keep him out of real trouble.

An orphan of the first Kaiju invasion, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) lives on the fringe scavenging for parts to built her own Jaeger. More of her backstory is now available as a webtoon titled Pacific Rim: Amara. Here's the comic synopsis:
As the Kaiju Wars rage on, Pacific Rim: Amara follows the young heroine whose life shattered when she is orphaned during a devastating monster attack. Fighting to survive as her city is destroyed, she finds shelter with a grumpy mech-inventor named Kai and his closest companion, Hannah. The trio forms an unlikely family in the aftermath of the invasion, looking out for one another and scavenging old mech parts to build their very own Jaeger, a pilotable giant robot with the power to protect Amara from the monsters that took everything from her.

No secret in the trailers we see her being recruited into the Jaeger program as a cadet piloting Bracer Phoenix.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) suit-up to pilot Gypsy Avenger.
Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) is one of the best Jaeger pilots in the PPDC and previously training with Jake. The two will reunited in face of the new Kaiju invasion.

Rinko Kikuchi returns as an older Mako Mori as an official in the PPDC.
Other than Rinko Kikuchi reprising her role as Mako Mori, other returning characters from the first movie are the science nerd duo of Dr. Newton “Newt” Geiszler played by Charlie Day and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb played by Burn Gorman.

Dr. "Newt" Geiszler (Charlie Day, above) returns with Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman, below) to nerd-out over new Kaiju.

Strangely there is no sign of lead protagonist Raleigh Beckett who, along with Mako Mori, survived sealing The Breach. One more surviving Jaeger pilot was Herc Hanson, who took over the position of Marshal from the elder Pentecost, is also missing from the trailers. Hopefully there will be some reference to their fates in Pacific Rim: Uprising, or we would have to simply assumed they retired for good finding no compatible pilot to Drift (process when two Jaeger pilots synchronize their thoughts to share the neural load to control the giant robot). But the real world reason for Raleigh's absence is scheduling conflict of actor Charlie Hunnam as gleaned from his interviews.

Hear from the cast of Pacific Rim: Uprising from this featurette released in Tokyo Comic-Con 2017.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight. There are immediate differences in the style of this sequel compared to the first movie which was directed by Academy Award Winning Mexican Director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, The Shape of Water). Based on the action clips seen so far from promo moaterials, the action in this upcoming movie looks much more animated by loosing a sense of scale for the Jaegers and Kaiju from the way they move and their interactions with the environment. No doubt these elements are all CG in both movies but Del Toro's style seemed to have infused more mass behind the robots, monsters and city destruction.

This early teaser trailer almost looks like a commercial for toy Jaeger robots.

The new Mark 6 Jaegers leap into action.
Now about the Jaegers, this movie's leading war machine is Gypsy Avenger, a Mark 6 model built in the image of Gypsy Danger which was heroically destroyed to end the Kaiju invasion. Piloted by Jake Pentecost and Nate Lambert, the 81.8m towering Jaeger features upgraded versions of the Elbow Rocket, Chain Swords and Plasma Cannon. New to Gypsy Avenger's weapon arsenal is a Gravity Sling. Check out these weapon in action from this trailer:

Gypsy Avengers is unmistakably an evolution of Gypsy Danger, now with 2 power cores.

Brand new Jaeger Saber Athena is the fastest and sleekest model with a feminine silhoutte. As can be seen the following trailer its primary weapons are dual wielding blades. It also packs some mean kung-fu kicks.

Complimenting Gypsy Avenger and Saber Athena with more melee weapons, Guardian Bravo is armed with an Elec-16 Arc Whip, although in the following trailer it seems somewhat less effective. This Jaeger is designed for ranged combat and so includes the “middle finger” in its assortment of gimmicks.

Guardian Bravo activating its Elec-15 Arc Whip.

The slightly older model Mark 5 Bracer Phoenix appears brutish and provides artillery support from chest mounted Vortex Cannons. However it does not actually come equipped with the M19 Morning Star as seen in this trailer, which we surmise is “borrowed” from Titan Redeemer, a Mark 6 model.

 Bracer Phoenix (left) and Titan Redeemer

There is also what's dubbed the “evil” Jaeger named Obsidian Fury. It appears as a cross between Gypsy Avenger and Saber Athena with Twin Plasma Chainsaws plus shoulder mounted rockets. Watch it fight Gypsy Avenger in this clip:

As for the Kaiju, not much is known yet about them other than the names of Raijin, Hakuja and Shrikethorn. No secret from the trailers, the Kaiju have evolved with new power to combine into a Mega-Kaiju! This in indeed twisting around the common gimmick in Japanese pop culture where a team of robots combine into a BIGGER robot, but this time it is the monsters doing this.

Will the younger Pentecost, Major Lambert and their team of cadet pilots succeed to repel this new Kaiju invasion? Find out in just a few days when Pacific Rim: Uprising releases into cinemas on Thursday 22 March 2018. Those who can't wait that long can buy tickets for sneak previews starting the night before.

A handful of us Outpost geeks managed to catch the Movie Premiere of Pacific Rim Uprising at MBO Cinemas. Here are their immediate reactions after the screening:

Plus our more in-depth Vulcan Review of Pacific Rim Uprising by Mr. Smock and guest reviewer Vincent:

For more about the world of Pacific Rim, check out the official website at and follow their official Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter. Dubbing Jaeger pilots can enlist at the Jaeger Academy which contains challenges of daily trivia and weapon precision firing. You can also build you own Jaeger from parts of existing models and test Drift compatibility. Then get your Jaeger name from this auto-generator.

Following hype over the first movie, fans from the Outpost Productions studio put together our own Malaysian Jaeger Mark 2 codenamed Juara Tenggara to defend our shores from Kaiju invasion:

Let us see if Pacific Rim: Uprising warrants an upgrade of Juara Tenggara to a Mark 6 version.  

More recently Outpost Productions conducted our final Geek Fan Panel on Facebook Live discussing about Pacific Rim and expectations of the upcoming movie. We shot live from Amenic Film Space with a live "studio audience" participating in our chit chat. Here's the full panel video posted on our Facebook Page:

Pacific Rim panel discussion happening now LIVE!
Posted by Outpost Productions on Sunday, 18 March 2018

Coming to special intel by our Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.), there is good news that more official movie merchandise is being made for this sequel movie.

Starting with what we do know, our major cinema chains have a number of movie premiums available right now. From MBO Cinemas, their Pacific Rim: Uprising combo offers an LED cup shaped like the head of Gypsy Avenger. A single combo of the cup and regular popcorn is priced as RM33, whilst a Share Combo comes with 2 cups and large popcorn.

In addition they have a Limited Edition Pacific Rim: Uprising version of their Allstar member card. It's is free for new members whilst existing members can change their card to this version for a minimal fee.  

Finally, Premium-X Cinemas in OneCity USJ is giving away movie premiums through contest posted on their Facebook. Email answers by 31 March for chance to win tshirt and other giveaways.

This time around for toys, Bandai and Diamond Select Toys have both obtain license for official Jaeger action figures. Starting first with Bandai, Pacific Rim: Uprising falls under their Tamashii Nations line of Robot Spirits action figures with all five hero Jaegers represented plus one “evil” Obsidian Fury. These are priced quite affordably at USD29.99 each (RM117) releasing around this time in time for the movie. There is also a high end Chogokin figurine of Gypsy Danger. Check out more photo references from New York Toy Fair 2017 by

Bandai Tamashii Nations Robot Spirits Pacific Rim: Uprising line of Jaeger action figures.
Photo credit:, Cheryl Eddy.
LATEST HOT INTEL: Secret Base Toys at Amcorp Mall is bringing him these Pacific Rim Uprising Robot Spirits figures. Arriving last weekend were Gypsy Avenger (RM138) and Bracer Phoenix (RM168) plus Kaiju Raijin (RM198), all meant to be to scale. For high-end premium collectors, there is a Soul Of Chogokin GX-77 Gypsy Danger for RM1198. Check directly with the shop for current stock availability.

Sighted at local collectibles shoop Secret Base are these Robot Spirits Gypsy Avenger and Bracer Phoenix.

Make your own Jaeger vs. Kaiju epic battles with these articulated figures from Bandai Tamashii Nations.
Bandai is also releasing model assembly kits for Gypsy Avenger and Obsidian Fury under their HG series. These are priced respectively at USD16 (RM63) and USD19 (RM74) by Hobby Link Japan, with a Deluxe version of Gypsy Avenger with LEDlight for USD25 (RM98).

Latest Outpost local intel has spotted some of these Bandai HG model kits available from Toy Garden in Pavilion KL with Obsidian Fury and Bracer Phoenix priced at RM89.90 (pictured below). These are also available from their online store together with some figures by NECA for the first movie.

The cheapest alternative for Jaeger figurines, just requiring some assembly.
For the more hardcore fans, metallic versions of these two Jaegers are also available exclusively There is also a metallic version of Bracer Phoenix. Each is priced either USD48 (RM188) or USD50 (RM196) and all three could be sold as a set for USD 130 (RM508).

The exclusive metallic versions of Bandai's HG series Gypsy Avengers, Obsidian Fury and Bracer Phoenix.

From the American-based Diamond Select Toys, all six Jaegers are similarly available as action figures measuring between 7 to 8 inches in height. They come at a lower price point of USD25 only (RM98). For the Jaegers to get into action, they are also releasing Kaiju Hakuja which runs 12in from head to tail apparently to scale with the robots. However these figures only look to be releasing later this year between June to August and now available for local pre-order from Books Kinokuniya Malaysia as listed on their online store at a very reasonable price of RM107.58 each.

Diamond Select Toys Jaeger action figures 

Be careful this vinyl Kaiju toy doesn't freak our your mum thinking it's a mutated monitor lizard!
Now this question will certainly be asked: get your Jaegers from Bandai or Diamond Select Toys? Unfortunately, we found no reliable intel on where to get these action figures in Malaysia and so unable to inspect them for an educated opinion. So we have to redirect the question to these YouTubers sharing their opinions:

Like all blockbuster movie releases, there is usually a companion book detailing the production of the said movie. Insight Editions will be publishing The Art and Making of Pacific Rim Uprising providing behind-the-scenes intel and concept art. The companion book for the first Pacific Rim was a great read and this one should similarly shine for fans to geek out over the many details providing more context for this cinematic outing.

The Art and Making of Pacific Rim looks scheduled to release next month on with pre-order price of USD40.50 (RM158) and also on Books Kinokuniya Malaysia for RM193.73 although listed as out-of-stock.

To fill in the gap between the first and sequel movie, there is a six-issue comic books series titled Pacific Rim Aftermath by Legendary Comics, a subsidiary of Legendary Pictures itself. Based on the official synopsis below, much of the story looks to take place a year before the events of the upcoming movie:

Cover of Pacific Rim Aftermath issue 1.
Santa Monica, 2034. In a city that was once the jewel of the west coast, a new world has emerged: one rising up from the ashes of giant robots and giant monsters. In this futuristic aftermath, we will meet a new generation of survivors, including Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, who is searching for answers behind the death of his Legendary father; Griffin, a Jaeger pilot who has gone from using his skills to defend the world to piloting an illegal Jaeger enforcer for a mob boss; and the Mech Czar, a techno-criminal overlord who rules the underworld with a steel fist. Set against a neo-noir backdrop of street gangs, Kaiju worshipers, and Jaeger Scrapyards, a mysterious but familiar figure arrives with a dangerous agenda...

Hannibal Chau is back! And he
doesn't look too happy on this cover art
of issue 2.
So we would get introduced to Jake Pentecost in this comics prior to his appearance in the movies. But as with most movie tie-ins what happens to the lead protagonist should not matter to the flow of the actual movie and therefore just provide more background into this character whilst further fleshing out the world of Pacific Rim. That being said, it means the plight of the two other characters mentioned in the synopsis is unlikely to have any bearing in Pacific Rim Uprising. But fans of the first movie may be delighted to see return of a familiar face... Hannibal Chau! No spoiler from the mid-credits scene of Pacific Rim, Chau did survive being "eaten" by a baby-Kaiju and looks to be back in the underworld business.

Since the importation of new comic books into Malaysia has seriously declined in recent years, it is unlikely to find Pacific Rim Aftermath in local comic stores (the few that are still left!). Instead opt for a digital version with the first two issues already available via at USD3.99 each (RM15.60). The online store listing also includes previews of the first three pages of each issue for reader to get a feel of the art style and story beats.

For fans who really can't get enough of Pacific Rim: Uprising, there is a prequel novel titled Ascension. This is the official synopsis:

It's been ten years since humanity's war with the monstrous Kaiju ended and the Breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean was sealed. The Pan Pacific Defense Corps remains vigilant in anticipation of the Kaiju's return, expanding and advancing their fleet of massive mechs known as Jaegers and accepting the best and the brightest candidates into the Jaeger Academy Training Program to forge the next generation of heroes.

Training is competitive and positions are few. Ou-Yang Jinhai and Viktoriya Malikova grew up in the ashes of the Kaiju War and followed different paths to join the latest batch of cadets at the Moyulan Shatterdome, the most prestigious PPDC training location in the world. Yet not long after their arrival, tragedy strikes as a deadly act of sabotage casts suspicion on the new cadets. Together they must work to clear their name and discover the truth as dark forces conspire against them and new threats surface from both sides of the Breach...

This novel is already out and available from Book Kinokuniya Malaysia as listed on their online store for RM39.06, although currently out of stock. It is still in-stock from which also offers a digital Kindle version.

Tactical miniature gamers may be keen for the Pacific Rim Extinction Game on Kickstarter. The game brief reads as follows:
Pacific Rim: Extinction is a scenario-driven, tabletop miniatures strategy game of city-wide destruction and chaos of epic proportions, for two or more players. Join either the Pan Pacific Defence Corps or the invading Kaiju, and face off in a battle with the ultimate stake: extinction.

The game has already been funded with expected delivery in November this year. Pledge for the Core Set is priced at GBP35 (RM190) and Starter Bundle for GBP65 (RM354), excluding shipping.

Gamers preferring digital app-based fare can look out for Pacific Rim Breach Wars coming out soon on IOS and Android. Players take the role of a Marshal commanding a Shatterdome to defend against Kaiju invasions and rogue Jaegers. Find out more from the official game website.

Before closing off, check out this very cute LEGO version of the Pacific Rim: Uprising trailer:

Let's CANCEL THE APOCALYPSE in cinemas 22 March 2018.

Disclaimer: Pacific Rim and its trademarks are copyright to Legendary Pictures & their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.