Movie Discussion: Blade Runner 2049
Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Blade Runner 2049.
Young Blade Runner K's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former Blade Runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Philip K. Dick
Actors: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
Release Year: 2017
Evie Totty | October 18, 2017
As far as Luv leaving K alive - I suppose she just sorely underestimated him. And on the beach - I think she thought she'd killed him.
You have a good point about Joi's database. That's a huuuuuuge hole. Even if they advertised privacy it would have been a lie.
The zoom-in was really cool - didn't expect a serial number on bones. I mentioned it in the review but the foreplay scene was my favorite - though it did pull me out of the film because I was like 'how did they do that?'.
I liked how K (now Joe) burst through the wall to the garage to stop Deckard from getting blown up.
I did wonder why the hell would they put such a horrible memory into him? Was it purposeful? And it only really came into play because of the date (close to the date of release I might add - 6 10 21: Oct 10, 2021) so I find it hard to believe that he was set up to use the memory to set things in motion. Too much of an Ex Machina.
And Deckard? Is he a replicant? They never said. They never said if Tyrell had created human eggs/ovaries. We just know she procreated. But is the sperm/egg combo specific to the replicants? Both are possible.
Also go check out the link in my review to the three shorts that happened prior to the film.
Scott Hardie | October 22, 2017
Yes, I loved the bones scene as well. I assume that we were supposed to take it that K's eyesight as a replicant was good enough for him to notice something there to zoom in on. Kelly and I debated whether Joshi (Robin Wright's character) was a replicant; I say her not noticing anything on the bones is a point against.
I agree; the love scene was a stand-out. It was creepy and borderline adulterous, but so intimate and so amazing to watch. I was slightly bothered by Mariette's sprout of pink hair sticking out and spoiling the illusion; I get that the art director put it there on purpose for the digital effects team to show off the effect, but I didn't fully buy that K or Joi wouldn't ask her to tie it back.
I kind of like that the Deckard replicant question remains unsettled. This movie is so careful not to violate the original, to leave it standing as the important work that it is, to complement it without altering it. Deckard still being alive in his old age is a big enough hint by itself of course, but otherwise the movie is wise not to settle the matter. (Aside: I really hated that the advertising and trailers spoiled Harrison Ford's appearance. I suppose it was inevitable, not just for financial reasons but because "is Harrison Ford in it?!" is one of the top questions that anyone interested in the film would demand to know. But he doesn't turn up until the second half of the movie, and the search for him in the irradiated ruins of Las Vegas would have been more interesting if we didn't know that Deckard was going to show up alive there.)
Evie Totty | November 13, 2017
RE: The spoiler. I agree. There is just do much information out there. Even the toys are spoilers (Poe in The Force Awakens for example). And with Ford - even if I had gone on my traditional blackout (like it might be too late for Jedi since they had the second trailer before Thor) I would have known Ford was in it because he was announced almost right off the bat and was in virtually every promotional video.
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Scott Hardie | October 7, 2017
The original Blade Runner was not especially well-liked at first, but gradually grew in esteem until it achieved its reputation as one of the great sci-fi films. I think part of the reason for this is its malleability, its ability to be all things to all viewers: Not only did fans spend years debating whether Deckard was human or replicant, but all kinds of interpretations have come out of the film, from religious to political to psychological to personal. I don't think that the sequel, which is excellent, is going to achieve the same stature in part because it doesn't leave as much up to the viewer. While it doesn't bother to keep reminding the viewer what's happening and what that means like dumber entertainment does, it does fill in many of the blanks that the original left up to interpretation. It's mysterious while it's happening but leaves little mystery for the viewer to chew over afterwards. That's pretty much my only major complaint about it.
While some of the imitation of the original is occasionally a little too blunt -- come on guys, Vangelis didn't just lean his elbow on the keyboard -- I really appreciated the classic feel of the film, especially in the way it takes its time. I kept thinking "they just don't make movies like this any more" as if this sequel had in fact been made in the 1980s. It looks fantastic. It feels vintage. They must have worked really, really hard to pull off exactly the right look and feel and tone for this project.
There have been countless works inspired by Blade Runner in ways large and small, everything from Ghost in the Shell to Neuromancer to Dark City to Westworld to Bubblegum Crisis to The Matrix. As I indicated in my review of 2049, one of the imitators that I'm especially fond of is Fallout 4, with its blend of synthetic humans and noir detectives. It's strange how that game, which was released a few years ago, managed to have certain ideas in common with this film, from a hunted man hiding away in a yellow irradiated wasteland, to an underground army of replicants slowly growing until they can overthrow their oppressors, to the villain developing a model of extra-capable replicant as personal assistant and assassin. That game played a lot with ideas about synths and paranoia towards them, but missed tons of opportunities (Salem witch trials! hello!) and didn't have anything as fascinating as this movie's ideas about borrowed memories, artificial sex, android "birth," and serial-numbered bones, among other concepts. This movie felt so rich with possibility.
Other than narrative convenience, I don't understand what the villain Luv meant to accomplish by leaving our hero K for dead in Las Vegas after taking Deckard, or (after discovering her mistake late in the film), again leaving him for dead on the shore in that knife fight. She seemed like an awfully capable killer, so for her to twice let K live when she should have exterminated him made no sense to me.
Also, maybe I'm just used to Facebook and Google and other companies knowing what I'm doing online all the time, but since the Wallace corporation made the digital wife Joi, wouldn't they be able to listen in on her conversations with K, especially since her consciousness has to be uploaded somewhere for it to work on multiple devices? I guess I'm assuming too much, but I really expected them to burst onto the scene at any time, having learned all of his secrets from Joi.
I don't think I could pick a favorite image from this film. The towering pink hologram of "Joi" crouching down to talk to K? The scene on the roof where Joi experiences rain for the first time? K zooming in over and over on the bones until he satisfies his curiosity? The fight scene in the holographic nightclub? The movie was just stuffed full of so many great visuals. Do you have a favorite?