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Post Re: Recently Seen

me too

Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:23 am
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Blade Runner 2049

Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:30 pm
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Post Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve, '17)

Epistemophobia wrote:
me too
Me three :D :


I know what's real.

Ridley Scott's noir-tinged science fiction classic that I was never a huge fan of.

The year is 2049; 30 years have passed since blade runner Rick Deckard "retired" his last skin job, and vanished into the non-existent sunset with the (fellow...?) replicant Rachel. A wave of fugitive "reps" arise from the ashes of the Tyrell Corporation, as another generation of replicants is given birth, models that have been engineered to be obedient, even to the point of hunting down and killing their own kind, like Ryan Gosling's K (short for his serial number KD9-3.7, or his "real name"). But, when a routine case leads to the discovery of the remains of a replicant who apparently died giving birth (something believed to be impossible), K will go on a world-shattering journey that will force him to question everything that he believed to be real, alongside a couple of ghosts from the past that haven't been seen in a long, long time.

So that's the basic pitch of Blade Runner 2049 on paper, Denis Villeneuve's unlikely, long-in-in-the-works sequel to Ridley Scott's original 1982 classic, but how does it play out on film? Well, for one thing, Villeneuve & company have more than stayed true to the world that Scott helped create over 3 decades ago, while still finding new, refreshing ways to expand on that vision; the massive cityscape of 2049 Los Angeles still feels just as monolithic and oppressive as it did in 1982, especially when lensed through the eye of modern cinematography icon Roger Deakins' epic, dizzying visuals, as hints of Vangelis's legendary original score wash through the soundtrack, and, while the Tyrell Corporation is no more, many real companies from the original that went bankrupt are still around in 2049, such as Atari and Pan Am (even the Soviet Union still exists in this timeline, to demonstrate the film's fidelity to Scott's canon). Writing-wise, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green find new ways to delve back into the original's signature themes of identity, just exactly what it means to have a soul and to be "human", and the ever-thinning line that supposedly still separates man from his creations, while stylistically, Villeneuve's direction strongly recalls the slow, leisurely pacing, and overall cryptic, alienating tone that keeps Scott's film such a haunting experience all these year later.

...recalls it a bit too much, if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, as 2049 is still a worthwhile film on the whole, and I didn't regret paying extra to see it in theaters at all, but I still couldn't help but feel it would've been better if Villeneuve hadn't tried so hard to exaggerate certain traits from the original as if to try to give us the ultimate Blade Runner experience; 2049's surreally slow pacing is sometimes pushed to the absolute breaking point, and I ended up feeling almost every single minute of the film's 2 & 1/2 hour-plus running time, and the inclusion of certain overly bizarre, dehumanized moments (especially with Jared Leto's reclusive blind industrialist Niander Wallace, who substituted creepy cataracts and pretentious, "poetic" ramblings in place of actual character development) just felt very forced and unnecessary, and was a bit of a cinematic turn off in the end.

Still, 2049 is at its best when Villeneuve allows its sense of humanity to shine through, like with the inner pain and utter confusion that Gosling's K displays as his entire world and very sense of self gets turned completely upside down as his investigation goes deeper and deeper, or with how surprisingly touching his relationship with his holographic "girlfriend" Joi is; the moment where she finally gets to go outside their cramped apartment after K gives her a portable emitter, and she gets to feel rain on her "skin" for the first time was simply beautiful to witness, and a scene where Joi synchronizes her movements with a real woman to give K a sort of one-on-one lovemaking session is one of the coolest sci-fi visuals I've seen in recent years. It even retroactively makes the memories of Deckard & Rachel's relationship more engaging to hear about than it was to witness in the original (classic film or not, that particular aspect of Blade Runner always struck me as rather obligatory and perfunctory), but I'll stop right there, at the risk of spoiling 2049 any further than I already have.

Anyway, like I said before, Blade Runner 2049 isn't a perfect film, and I can't help but feel like it could've been better with a shorter running time and a slightly more accessible tone on the whole, but I also can't help but find it a compelling cinematic experience anyway; the visuals are breathtaking, the concepts and themes are fascinating and genuinely thought-provoking, and it's the rare sequel to an iconic original that (mostly) avoids just coasting on nostalgia audiences may hold for the first film, but rather, actually does something to further develop the world created in the original, making for a "blade" that, flaws and all, I didn't regret running at all.
Final Score: 8
Favorite moment: Joi's "sync"


Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:48 pm
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