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Blade Runner 2049 review…

I thought I’d post a nice early BR 2049 review for people. I’ll keep it mostly spoiler free, I’ll tell you just some mild stuff that you learn in the first act anyway. If you’ve seen the theatrical trailer that contains more spoilers than this post. Also let me be upfront in saying that I like the original, but I don’t see it as a perfect film. Let’s begin.

Three Fucking Hours??

I did not go in expecting a three hour movie. I’m on record saying that no action movie should be longer than 2 hours at the most. Blade runner knew what to leave out to make the film punchy. This film drags on, and on, and on. It’s excruciating.

The plot

Oh you have to be fucking kidding me. Early on in this film the bones of a woman are found buried in a makeshift ossuary. As soon as it was found I said “that’s Rachael”… and it was. I’m not sure if that was meant to be a plot-twist, but if it was it was extremely poorly executed. Anyway this leads us to an unbelievably implausible discovery that propels the plot: that Rachael had died with child. Something I also predicted the moment her bones were found, even though I don’t for a second believe that Nexus 6 replicants were capable of reproduction, nor do I believe that the prototype “Rachael”was either. And if they were, then reproduction with whom? Deckard is a human – a subject for a whole ‘nother blog post – if Tyrell had designed a replicant capable of reproducing “naturally” with a human… then what exactly is “artificial” about them?

And that’s the whole problem with this movie – we never see the replicants as, well, artificial. Oh sure, we do see K obey a few orders as a replicant should, but when he goes off on his own quest he exhibits no replicant qualities at all.

The dystopian future has changed

Yeah, um… what the fuck? At the end of Blade Runner, Deckard runs away with Rachael to the country. We see them leaving the filthy overcrowded city to the green hills. In this film, apparently, real wood is precious and just a tiny amount would make one “wealthy”! Jeez I lost respect and believability for this movie right there. Did people pull apart their houses for the precious wooden frames and floorboards? Did they not realise that we were shown that forests and greenery still exists in the original movie?? You can’t just force the view that the Director’s Cut, or worse the “Final Cut”, is the only canonical version of the film… even so Deckard has a piano, and there are pianos in this film as well, why has no one ripped those apart for the timber? There is just so much in this movie that looses the suspension of belief, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, a small tease. I think they made the mistake of trying to reincorporate the post-apocalyptic setting of the book into the franchise… it just doesn’t work.

What I was hoping for were some pleasant surprises in the film. What I got was a dull repetitive soulless attempt to recreate the spectacle of Blade Runner. Don’t expect film noir – that was my mistake – in fact don’t expect an action movie either… also my mistake. This movie is neither of those, it’s a very long, boring, drawn out futuristic police drama.

Where did it go so wrong?

They relied on far too many far-fetched harebrained ideas. I couldn’t even begin to list them all, the idea there is no more natural timber in the world as already mentioned, the idea that Nexus 8’s (which still abound to be hunted by Blade Runners) had open-ended lifespans, the idea that the Tyrell corporation went bankrupt between the time of the original film and this one. And the idea that Rachael could fall pregnant AND that no other replicant since has had this ability. Oh, and replicants are now legal on Earth…. um why? It’s pretty goddamned clear that the world is overpopulated, why the fuck populate it even further if you don’t have to? Plus, and I will cover this in more detail in a future post, as if the LAPD or any police department is going to use replicants to hunt replicants. We use dogs to hunt foxes, we don’t use them to hunt wolves that’s just nonsensical. And nor would they use replicants for any important police work, especially work involving investigation. Geez, in this film K keeps secrets from his boss which is essentially betrayal, so it’s obviously a bad idea.

And that’s just the stuff I didn’t believe, it’s not even the stuff I didn’t like. Edward James Olmos’s appearance was lacklustre, and his origami meaningless! What the fuck is with Wallace’s eyes because they just look fucking ridiculous, and that’s not how blind people look if he’s supposed to be blind. They don’t hold their eyes open. Why the fuck aren’t the police actually being vigilant and doing their job?? Are there even any human characters we meet in this entire movie?? I’m struggling to think of any that we know for certain are human, and I’m wondering what the whole point of them fighting amongst themselves is? Oh and if Tyrell could figure out how to make replicants breed freely, Wallace could have done the same and he’s had plenty of time to do so, so why the fuck is he so invested in finding the possible child of Rachael. Come to think of it, how the fuck would even know such a child exists in the first place?? And anyway, why would he want them to reproduce? Plus how the fuck did a complete nut-case like him end up in charge of this huge company? At least in Blade Runner Tyrell is a more realistic level-minded CEO. This guy would have been fired by the board years before he was ever in a position to hold any actual authority.

It just doesn’t make any business sense that you would want your replicants which you have a complete monopoly over to be able to reproduce. The only thing I can think of is perhaps you might want them to be able to be surrogates for real people. But that doesn’t mean they need to be able to reproduce, just to be able to carry an implanted human foetus to term. Even if they could reproduce, they don’t age like humans – they’re fucking artificial. They would just pop out babies that would always be… babies. There is nothing in Blade Runner, or this movie, that suggests that it would be desirable from a design point of view to be able to age your replicants. The reason why there is a 4-year lifespan for Nexus 6 replicants is because in that time they will develop their own emotional responses. In other words, they don’t want replicants to have emotions in the first place! They are less easily controlled if they have emotions, obviously. So these future replicants should have been designed with less emotions, not more. Just like Walter in Alien: Covenant.

Think about what will happen at the end of Blade Runner – abridged Director’s Cut ending or longer – Deckard and Rachael are going to try and live a pretty unassuming life. Yet in the context of this film, within a two year period they have met and befriended multiple illegal Nexus 8’s! TWO YEARS! What about Nexus 7, was that generation skipped? How did they meet these illegal replicants that fled from the offworld colonies to Earth all while trying to keep to themselves?? It is just laughable.

The Verdict

One of the great things about the original film with its film noir genre, was that it incorporated the idea that its world was more multi-cultural and people were bilingual. Hannibal Chew and others are Asian or otherwise ethnically diverse. In this movie though, everyone is a white American again. And true, probably every single one of them is a replicant and that might explain it, after all they are all made by a single American company with a monopoly. Still. But you can’t escape the fact that it doesn’t feel like the same world.

This movie just lacks imagination and character. It just tries to be “epic”, showing us stunning visuals and audios. Except that the score also falls flat throughout, and the visuals often aren’t that great either. We’re often left wondering what the point of the visuals are.

The original movie ends with Deckard facing an existential crisis, this film attempts to draw out one for the entirety of its three fucking hour runtime! And the end of the movie simply sets it up for the long-awaited second sequel: Blade Runner 3 – Rise of the Machines Replicants.

This movie is so god-awful terrible that the critics are just going to LOVE IT. It ticks the all boxes, so they’re going to say “GREAT SEQUEL, better than expected”. What do we ultimately learn in this movie – other than the fact that replicants shouldn’t have emotions, and that because they do they will ultimately betray their human masters? What’s its point? It’s just another way for Scott to intentionally trample on his legacy.

 

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