Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

I am a big fan of movies. Have been since I was very little. I love the idea of being transported to a new place, a place I have never been before. Often the story can be irrelevant if the visuals are interesting enough to keep my attention. That has always been a key reason why I love the original Blade Runner. It didn't explain everything to me or rushed the story in any way. I found new things to love about it each time I saw it. I have Roy Batty's final speech memorized and my performance of it would make you cry. Blade Runner means a lot to me. I am happy to say that the sequel is a more than worthy addition to the franchise. I can't pretend to understand all that is going on here but I really got absorbed in the whole impressive operation.

This current chapter in the story wisely doesn't run away from it's visual roots. In fact it enhances them and makes each location, each set, each moment unique and beautiful in service of a bigger dream. It's so good that I resent that Ryan Gossling got to be one of the reasons why it's so cool and ground breaking and all those other adjectives that people use when they describe a masterpiece. I hate that he has remade science fiction as he recently remade Jazz (in La La Land).

First of all I would never want to be a Blade Runner, like I would never want to be a Sandman from Logan's Run. Their jobs and lives just suck. No room for grey when you live in a black and white world. No room for rebellion when the system actively prevents you from getting answers to the questions you have and naturally should have about your place in the whole mechanism of civilization.

As I mentioned, the film is visually brilliant. I wanted to soak it all in, the grime and the immaculate beauty. It's hypnotic and in a film that is as much about mood as it is about story, this is a major plus. This is the kind of film you watch on the big screen at home so you can just soak yourself in this world. There are effects here that I have never seen before and they cover for the parts that you don't understand which is just what I wanted as well in this kind of dystopian film. I enjoy knowing that the future is an even crappier and more corrupt place than today is. Fills me with hope actually. It means human despair is one constant in the Universe that will never change.

I have to admit I loved the idea of the holographic girlfriend that can feel and interact with the world around her. I can only imagine how that kind of technology would be perverted. Okay I know exactly how it would be perverted but AFTER all the screwing I wonder if mankind would be better off or worse off without the complications of real human relationships. I think it would be great to have a girlfriend who supported and encouraged you to be the best person you could be even if she was only programmed to do so.

As the actors go, Gossling is Gossling in all his quiet pain. It seems to be all he knows how to play but again, in THIS movie it's perfect. He's the perfect cypher and we see this world through his eyes. We find out very early that he is a replicant Blade Runner himself. He hunts his own people who are usually the older model replicants who are a bit twitchy. His latest target opens a mystery that sends his entire life into a tale spin. He takes too much damage to be human but there are times I thought he just might be something other than he has been told all his life.

Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford only older Harrison Ford and there is nothing wrong with that. He plays his part. Jared Leto is Looney Tunes as usual but I wouldn't take any less from him at this point in his career. He commits to his craft and it shows in his performance. He actually gives a shit to care enough about his character to give me something fresh and new to hate. He has created a totally new type of psychopath - one that actually can walk his talk and do the things he claims he can do. Scared the hell out of me. He is beyond megalomania and almost beyond evil. He thinks he is a messiah and maybe he is.

How can a replicant be pregnant? I thought they couldn't get pregnant. That is the central mystery that dominates this tale. The ability for replicants to replicate throws the whole 'real human' / 'fake human' balance all out of wack and that is not good for either side. It means war and the destruction of one 'race' or the other.
I like a story that you have to play attention to. All the best science fiction has layers upon layers and this one certainly does. Any one of these layers could have failed and messed up everything but that never happens here. It's like a perfect piece of clockwork machinery. This is filmmaking by someone who realized that it's the STORY that is everything. All that other stuff must be in service of the story. This film flawlessly combines all the elements into a story worth telling which should be the only reason for a sequel to be made in the first place.

I know this film will be re-watched and studied for decades. It's just that kind of film. I know I will be doing my fair share of reading up on the various theories about what this film is about or is meant to be about. It's not that complicated but I want to see what I missed. Like how there can be bees in a zone that is supposed to be irradiated? Where are the flowers and plants that they rely on to make their honey? I know that is a weird thing to obsess over but I can't stop thinking about it.

If I had one minor quibble it would be the old jazz music or Frank Sinatra that is played over the mood lighting  I am so TIRED of that trope when Ryan Gossling is involved. So moody and moody and moody. Bleh. I hate it. It's done. Played out. Finished. No longer entertaining or relevant. Must be declared a crime against humanity. It's the only way to finish the madness. We get it, Ryan, you like pianos and you like Jazz music. Stop hammering me over the head with that point in every movie you act in. There are other kinds of music ya know?

And I hated one unnecessary death that was totally cruel and pointless.

The director will next tackle DUNE and has spoken of it many times in interviews that you can see on You Tube. I watched this film and his command of the visuals and I am sure he will bring something fresh and fascinating to the creation of another Dune film or series of films. You could do the first four books in three movies and fulfill my life dream.


Jordan said...

That's my Cal! I knew you'd get it.

Loved your thoughts on both movies. Great stuff.

dan muray said...

seemed like four unnecessary deaths--k's death, his hologram girlfriend, the newly birthed skinjob and finally Rachel----should have killed off Wallace. nice review

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Believe it or not, I've never seen the original Blade Runner. But I taped it off TV last week and My Rare One and I will watch it before we go to see the sequel. I love Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling so looking forward to it!

DrGoat said...

I think I've seen the original about 20 times including the time it came out in the theaters. One of my top 10 favorite movies. Going to go see this one next week. I like the fact that 90% of what you see on the screen is real. Actual sets built instead of CG. Can't wait.

Rob R said...

I need to check this out this weekend!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I know you all will like it. It's Blade Runner only better. You are right Dan, four unnecessary deaths and all to make the same point.