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  1. #1
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    Saw 'Blade Runner 2049'...

    TLDR review version: It's good, but not great, and definitely not a 'thrill-ride action-fest crowd pleaser', if you were looking for that.

    Regular version (Warning: a few mild spoilers, yes):

    If you saw the neo-noir original back in the '80s, Blade Runner probably had a significant effect on you. It was like a 1930s hardboiled detective mystery/manhunt flick blasted far into the future, with groundbreaking visuals, a moody and unforgettable soundtrack, and a deep philosophical take on what it means to be human and the preciousness of life itself.

    In other words, it was a surprise. And pretty far ahead of its time.

    Which is why it didn't do very well at the box office. Well, that and it had the awful luck to be released at about the same time as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (which sucked all life out of the summer box office for anything else for several weeks, as ppl went back for repeat viewings).

    Despite all that, the original didn't fade from memory, it stuck around for decades as a well-loved cult classic. But great as the original was, it was pretty much a self-contained story, i.e. no screaming need for a sequel, nor expectation of one. And yet, 35 years later, here we are.

    Blade Runner 2049 is produced by Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, but is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who's done solid films (Sicario) and, in my estimation, slow, slightly boring, overrated ones (Arrival). But the real question of course is, is he up to huge task of directing a sequel to a near-perfect, iconic film?

    To his credit, he actually kinda is. And also, kinda isn't.

    In the 'is' category would be the visuals. Villeneuve has a real feel for what made the 'look and feel' of the original so captivating, and he expands on and even improves on it at times.

    So, the vast, lonely-yet-crowded neon cityscapes of Ridley Scott's world (a look that's influenced countless other films) are captured perfectly by his protege. And when we're introduced to 'new to us' technology (such as talking holograms and detachable-roof cop-car drones), Villeneuve is smart enough not to explain any of it... you take it in, you assimilate it, you catch up. The film is very un-self-conscious, as it needs to be.

    And the set pieces are consistently amazing... from Niander ('Evil Steve Jobs') Wallace's 'water office' to a radioactive Las Vegas reminiscent of the pyramid ruins of ancient Egypt, you definitely see where the money was spent.

    The problem is, while Vileneuve is adept at continuing Scott's incredible world-building, he is less sure-footed when it comes to the characters. And the casting (assuming his was the final say on that).

    Firstly, Ryan Gosling, as Blade Runner 'Officer K', is no Harrison Ford. Ford had a gravitas that pulled you into the story of the first film, aided by his world-weary, hardboiled detective-style narration that runs throughout the film.

    Gosling doesn't get to narrate in his sequel, but more importantly, he either makes or is directed to make a questionable choice in his portrayal, electing to have 'K' be a shutdown, near-emotionless replicant (even though replicants are emotionally inexperienced, not emotionless).

    Ford in the original was as tough as they come, but was simultaneously vulnerable... i.e. despite his cynicism, we at least knew what he was thinking and what he was feeling. Gosling, by contrast, comes across as more or less a brooding, pretty-boy blank slate, one vivid 'childhood memory' aside.

    This might've been completely survivable had Gosling been surrounded by a very interesting ensemble cast, as Ford was in the original. But alas, there too the comparisons go against the sequel.

    Jared Leto's actively-malevolent Niander Wallace is not nearly as interesting as the casually, unintentionally evil Dr. Tyrell of the original. Robin Wright's Lieutenant Joshi, K's boss, is given incredibly little to do beyond an abortive sexual-harassment attempt on K. And 'Luv', the vicious replicant henchwoman of Wallace, has all of the brutality of Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty, but none of the complexity. The list goes on.

    Also, the dialogue isn't at the same level... this time 'round, there are no memorable lines such as, "Wake up... time to die", or Batty's incredible 'tears in rain' monologue. It's fine, but it doesn't stay with you.

    Most importantly, the original film had a powerful theme to it, namely an exploration of what it means to be human, as told through the eyes and actions of beings that allegedly weren't at all human. Or were they more human than any of us?

    We could've gotten an even more poignant dose of that theme this time around, given that the main character (Gosling) is a replicant himself (Ford's Deckard may or may not've been, depending on who you listen to, but he didn't seem to play it that way). But Gosling's shut-down, at times listless performance blocks any chance of that.

    "Ah", you say, "but Ford is IN THIS ONE, isn't he?". Yes, he is, but he doesn't show up until extremely late in the proceedings, and by that time, the die is kinda already cast.

    The pic really does live or die by Gosling, and the more I think about it, the more I believe his casting had quite a bit to do with attempting to appeal the 'young female quadrant' of the audience... Blade Runner 2049, is, after all, a film that was going to appeal most strongly to the 'older male quadrant', and that is indeed how it's playing out in the initial stats. So, 'lets try to expand the audience by casting a hot young guy in the lead role. Is he right for it? He's right enough, who cares!'. Hmm.

    Finally and it's somewhat shocking that this is the second Ridley Scott project you can say this for in a relatively short period of time the editing does the film no favors.

    Whereas 2012's Prometheus suffered mightily from having too many setup/characterization scenes cut out in the name of pacing (thus rendering many of the characters unintentionally ridiculous/scatterbrained, and the plot more confusing), we have the opposite problem here... everything is left in, resulting in a 2 3/4 hours running time that isn't justified by the amount of plot or gravitas contained.

    During the back half of the film, especially, you may well find yourself glancing at your watch. Or even thinking of walking out, as the gentleman seated to my right actually did. Yes, he may've suffered from the modern American disease of lowus attention-spanus, but after viewing this even a reasonable person will probably agree that a good 20 minutes should've been cut.

    Still, for folks who liked the original at least, I'm going to give Blade Runner 2049 a generous three stars (out of four), for its epic world-building, what little we get of Harrison Ford, and the soundtrack. And Gosling's holographic love interest, played by Ana de Armas, is a standout who we'll likely be seeing more of.

    Overall, BR:2049 is far from bad, just slightly disappointing, that's all... and yet, there is a time, about an hour or so in, where you think maybe, just maybe, it will equal the groundbreaking original. Until it doesn't.

    Villeneuve deserves some credit for being at least that good, if not quite good enough.
    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    System: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President, for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJD: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism, it's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  2. #2
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    come on, keep it in the running thread...

    Blade Runner 2049 -- No Spoilers
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    come on, keep it in the running thread...

    Blade Runner 2049 -- No Spoilers
    Oops, my bad. Didn't check for that.
    .
    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    System: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President, for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJD: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism, it's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  4. #4
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    LOL, you were too busy writing that epic...
    All the gear and no idea

  5. #5
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    but anyway since we're talking spoilers in this one...





    i'd say its at least an hour too long, there is that little actual substance in the storyline, maybe they could have incorporated more of the short film content in it somehow.
    - at the start, your there to retire a replicant, just shoot him, don't do some weird ass - ill just my gun right here, then FIGHT! It's super lame
    - you're on a super secret mission that might "break the world", and some unknown entity helps you out with an airstrike, you don't think thats a little odd and that someone may be tracking you, now you just lead them to you goal...
    - hand in you gun and badge...but not the flying car with big cannons on it...
    - don't shoot the inured pilot, shoot the killer robot lady with the big gun when you have a surprise free shot
    - when you're going to have a bit of a plot twist, don't make it so obvious (you know, some person who's just a minor character, but they somehow have an entire scene with loads of dialog that pertains to the main character, but not the plot and then the scene just ends with no resolution...yeah thats the person the whole film is about...)
    All the gear and no idea

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    LOL, you were too busy writing that epic...
    Wow... I include a TLDR version and you *still* complain about review length? Dude, c'mon.

    But I do agree with you on many of the plot holes/implausibilities you pointed out. Though actually K can't 'just shoot' that farmer replicant he meets early on, since he has to make certain he's not human first via the eye scanner.

    To me, the biggest plot hole is the scene where Luv and her crew kidnap Deckard... K is lying there unconscious after losing the fight, and super-vicious Luv just lets him live? Tell me another.

    It also wasn't clarified how K knew where and when Deckard was being transported so that he could intercept the transfer... something like that would've been kept very hush-hush, not exactly something he'd hear over the police scanner in his car...

    So yeah, the script gets sloppy in places, particulary in the second half of the film.


    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 10-10-2017 at 06:36 AM.

  7. #7
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    haha wasn't complaining, just giving you an out for not seeing other thread...

    Sorry didn't mean comes through the door, bang, shot in the back of the head. But you have the gun on him, keep it on him, makes a wrong move, shoot him, otherwise, "put the cuff's on...". Not Oh hey I'll just put my gun over here,now we can talk about how I bring you in, oh we're fighting, that didn't go to plan...

    And yeah, you add 2 good points.

    It's like they set up the ideas for the film, the environment (short films), got an idea going, and then went... now what do we do with it, especially leaving it open enough for sequel $$$$$.Maybe they thought if they just made it look good, that'd be enough to fool people into not realising there wasn't anything actually in 2/3 of the film.
    All the gear and no idea

  8. #8
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    Hey Shocky, thanks for thoughtful review.

    I plan to watch it, but I had never planned to go pay to see it.

    Also, I'm not surprised by anything you've written.

    Good stuff.

  9. #9
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    OK, I'll jump (back) in.

    Enough about the bad, here is some good...

    Soundtrack:Everyone already speaks about the music. The soundtrack is very, VERY good. It was the soundtrack that first pulled me into the original. To me it was (is) as much a character as Rick or K or Rachel or Roy or....Did I mention it was good? Well it is.

    Characters:

    I enjoyed how the writers included traits in their Nexus models. Think about it.

    Combat models:
    Roy powerful yet philosophical. "Like tears...in the rain..." Made the movie, IMO...
    Sapper, powerful yet...well you know. "because I have seen a miracle"

    Not enough character development for Sapper. Should have been in most of the movie, lots of soul and such in just a few minutes. Imagine what could have been.


    Pleasure models:
    Pris, designed to engage and bring you in. Manipulative and all those woman like ways.
    Marriette, Same, and also needed more content. Was it just me or did she channel
    D. Hannah? Nicely done either way.

    Female Provocateur: Zora, "Talk about beauty and the beast, she's both" well, we didn't know much about her honestly except she liked snakes and chose bad boots to run in...

    Luv, WOW Really, talk about beauty and the beast...she's both. Really liked this character. Well Done.


    Now there was Joi. Joi was a good character. And good looking....Maybe the most though provoking character in the movie. She really loved K. He was special to her. Or was it just good programming...Was K just another Joe after all? I actually felt bad for K at the moment (when the giant Joi hgram called him Joe). In my mind he came to the actualization that she was just a good program, nothing more...

    Wallace, certainly no Tyrell, not even close. What's up with 30 Seconds to Mars anyway. Stick with the group, pretty good music there.


    Blade Runners
    Rick, what can I say. Excellent bounty hunter. Excellent in the Roy battle scenes.
    Good to see him reprise the role, but please no more sequels. So is he or isn't he a replicant?

    Agent K was the weak link. Writers robbed him of too much soul. Writers also seem to confuse him with being a robot instead or a replicated (not cloned, not "built" but engineered). Running through walls (see Original Post) and easily beating up 80 pound heavier Sapper but barely beating 80 pound lighter Luv. ****Spoiler*****Look away. The "dead hand" that Roy experienced was due to his best possible engineering coming to its end. Not sure what was up with K, he simply bled to death...Poorly placed referenced, if you ask me.

    The only place the music went wrong was at this point. Same exact music as Roy's death. Not even close to evoking the same emotion. The original scene may never be topped.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me tag along with this post. Not like there is much going on here anyway. And hey, it's Blade Runner, surely its appropriate to have two posts, right?
    Last edited by racerx; 10-10-2017 at 12:31 PM.
    Not in the mood?! Mood's a thing for cattle and love play... not fighting.

  10. #10
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    Ok, I haven't seen the new "Blade Runner 2049" as of yet, but I've got a little history with the original movie...

    I hated it when I first saw it. Some years later a friend said that it was one of her favorite movies, and now we have this running joke where we argue with each other whether it's the best movie ever or the worst movie ever.

    I came across a director's cut version of the movie when a video store was going out of business (remember those?). Before giving it as a present to my friend, I watched it.
    The director's cut version was a bit longer and it had no narration by Harrison Ford's character. It also had some alternate endings that you could view separately. I had always thought that the narration was kind of dumb and made the film seem too much like a rehashed gum-shoe detective flick ala Humphrey Bogart. I liked the director's cut version a bit better than the original.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    Hey Shocky, thanks for thoughtful review.

    I plan to watch it, but I had never planned to go pay to see it.

    Also, I'm not surprised by anything you've written.

    Good stuff.
    Thanks, man.

    Update on the film: It underperformed on its opening weekend, took in $32.7 million in North America, had at one time been expected to nab $50 mil. While the professional reviewers gave it raves, word-of-mouth has been less enthusiastic, 'parently.

    It's doing somewhat better overseas, but overall may well be a money-loser given its 'summer blockbuster'-level $155 mil production budget.

    This is important because it may put the kibosh on Scott's plans to have multiple BR sequels going forward (I think I heard as many as four?).

    I admire Ridley Scott, the man's gonna be 80 next month (!!), looks 15 years younger than that, has multiple iconic films under his belt, and is pushing hard on all fronts... but if this is the level of execution, sequels would be optional/'interesting' to see, but not vital.

    Would like to see if he could create something entirely new, perhaps. Don't really want any more Alien sequels, either, no matter how much the studios push 'franchises'.




    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    System: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President, for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJD: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism, it's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  12. #12
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    You said: "Villeneuve is smart enough not to explain any of it... you take it in, you assimilate it, you catch up. "

    In that respect, at least, he's following the writing style of Philip K. Dick.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  13. #13
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    Thanks for this thread and commentary. BR is one of my fave movies. I'll go see this sequel now before it leaves my local theatre.

  14. #14
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    OK, saw it. Thought it was worth it, I enjoyed all the sci fi scenes. The dam fire alarm when off during the show and they didn't rewind, and they couldn't fix the sound for about 2 minutes after it restarted, seemed like 10 minutes! Kinda ruined the movie 'atmosphere'!!!! Just a bunch!!!! Plus the buzz was waining.

    My couple of issues with the plot:
    If the androids are making a army with the 'queen android', their going to have a big problem is all the decendants can't go outside a bubble.
    Almost all the fighting scenes, the androids could have ended with the first punch, unless 2 androids were fighting. K seems to lose a lot of hand to hand and somehow miraculously comeback to defeat his apponent
    BANNED

  15. #15
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    Some movies should never be remade, while some remakes are better than the originals. I can't wait to see this one!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxonHill52 View Post
    Some movies should never be remade, while some remakes are better than the originals. I can't wait to see this one!
    It's a sequel, not a remake.

  17. #17
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    Not a remake, it's a sequel.
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  18. #18
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    Tastes great, less filling.
    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    System: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President, for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJD: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism, it's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  19. #19
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    Blade Runner is about people who ride bikes with disc brakes?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    Blade Runner is about people who ride bikes with disc brakes?
    You must be talking about Saw Blade Runner...

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  21. #21
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    I saw it with my wife opening weekend and halfway through, I was calculating how many chick flicks this was going to cost me. Oh, it was expensive. I had to spend a whole day with her at a huge craft fair. Honestly, even though I liked the first one, this was the worst movie I've seen in years.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbofish View Post
    I was calculating how many chick flicks this was going to cost me. Oh, it was expensive.
    What? It is very much a chick flick. It's got so much of romance story between the main character and his "girl"friend. Not to mention the females in high positions, i.e. lieutenant and top villain of a huge corporation.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    What? It is very much a chick flick. It's got so much of romance story between the main character and his "girl"friend. Not to mention the females in high positions, i.e. lieutenant and top villain of a huge corporation.
    Plus they cast pretty-boy Gosling in the main role, instead of a more grizzled, older guy (which may've worked better). Definitely an attempt to appeal to the female demo.

    Seems to have mostly failed, though.
    .
    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    System: Fake news?? Trump's a Fake President, for God's sake.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJD: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism, it's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  24. #24
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    Im trying to talk myself into seeing it again while still on big screen. I most likely will never see it once it goes to video cause half the fun is the bigness of it.

    Anyone seen it again at the theater?



    Anyone plan on a second viewing?

    Meh...just thinking about it while typing makes me think I'm good with just one viewing...
    Not in the mood?! Mood's a thing for cattle and love play... not fighting.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    What? It is very much a chick flick. It's got so much of romance story between the main character and his "girl"friend. Not to mention the females in high positions, i.e. lieutenant and top villain of a huge corporation.
    Chicks want sappy variations on romance, love, love lost, and more romance... to make them cry, laugh, feel a sense of longing that makes them misty or laugh sadly at what could have been (if they had married the badboy in high school and weren't stuck with a nerdy loser: you!)... or laugh and cry for reasons related to some romantic snafu that's sad, then happy, and maybe somewhat sad again (but not too sad, unless one of the star-crossed lovers dies of some disease). Chicks, correct me if I'm wrong.

    I think what you're describing is a GrrrlPower type deal, with a pretty boy thrown in to sweeten the pot for the chicks. But it's not a chick flick, strictly speaking.

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