Oct-31-2017

Reel Snippet – Blade Runner 2049

Summary: In the year 2049, artificial humans called replicants are created for offworld labor and easing the lives of regular humans. One replicant, K (Ryan Gosling), works as a Blade Runner — someone who hunts down and “retires” rogue replicants. During one assignment, he finds the bones of someone who died in childbirth… and who also happens to be a replicant. K’s boss Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) wants all the evidence of this, the child included, erased from the picture, which she expects K to have no problem with. But eccentric corporate tycoon Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), whose company is the sole manufacturer of replicants, wants the child to unlock the secrets of replicant procreation to increase production of humanity’s slave race. Caught in the middle, K and his hologram girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas) turn over every corner of the Los Angeles area to find answers… answers that may lie with an ex-Blade Runner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Review: Blade Runner 2049 is a stunning movie with outstanding characters and a superb story. There’s plenty of twists and turns in the story, but also enough time set aside to develop the characters. More potent than the twists is the atmosphere, which transports you into this dirty, dystopian world awash with neon corporate smears and the degenerated remains of what separates human and machine. I wouldn’t want to live in this world, but I still get lost in it.

One of the main themes of this film is how something real can come from the artificial. Aside from the child born of a replicant, the most prevalent example is the romance between K and Joi. Everything about K was created in a factory and Joi is a product, one of many customized to the buyer’s preferences. But the love and relationship between them is as real and chemically alive as anything between organic creatures. They share secrets and confidence, do favors and give gifts to each other, and share a heartwarming bond that stays strong throughout the movie. By the end, you will believe that a program can love.

The antagonists are engaging as well. Niander Wallace comes across as an eccentric business mogul by way of channeling Agent Smith from The Matrix movies and the result is chilling. The prosthetic eyes certainly don’t hurt either. Luv is a bit of a tough nut to crack as she clearly has some boundaries that bring her to tears when she approaches them, but she’s also cold and ruthless and will not hesitate to kill anyone organic or synthetic. If I had to guess, I would say that her motivations come from trying to prove (to others and herself) that she has value and worth beyond being a disposable product, but that’s mostly conjecture.

But what really clinches this movie is that it is unmistakably Blade Runner. It’s not a pale retread like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides or a soft reboot-sequel like Mad Max: Fury Road. It is an authentic sequel with the same feel and atmosphere made by people who respect and understand the source material. If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to make the trip. This should not be a flop.

Fun Tidbit: When K comes back from missions, he is required to undergo a psych evaluation to see how close he is to “baseline.” He is tested with fragments of a phrase taken from Nabokov’s novel “Pale Fire,” a copy of which sits on K’s table in his apartment.


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