Posts Tagged ‘Blade Runner 2049’

Last night I went to an 8:15 p.m. showing of Blade Runner 2049, a 2-hour-and-44-minute endurance contest. I didn’t fall asleep, possibly because the film features the loudest soundtrack since All the World’s Garbage Trucks, and unlike the 17 other people in the theater I didn’t take a break to visit the bathroom.

Was this evening well-spent? Is New Blade Runner an improvement on Classic Blade Runner? Was Deckard’s dog real? Can you sit through a 2-hour-and-44-minute movie without going to the bathroom? Let’s see if we can answer some of these questions by running New Blade Runner through the 7 Deadly Sins of Science Fiction Movies meat grinder.

Sin #1: The plot revolves around/humanity owes its survival to an evil genius white male billionaire.

Look, people, in today’s world, science gets done in teams. There wasn’t one white male who invented the Cassini probe in his garage, sold it to NASA and the ESA for billions of dollars, and then became evil. Science is too complex and expensive for one man to create international havoc on his own. The last major scientist to work by himself was Nicola Tesla, and he’s been dead since 1943. No grant, no angel investors, no science.

New Blade Runner and Classic Blade Runner are both guilty here. In Classic Blade Runner, the evil genius white male billionaire is killed by one of his creations – another reason why you need a team.

Sin #2: Women of the future have one of two roles. They can be naked or they can be men.

New Blade Runner satisfies both requirements on the Hollywood diversity checklist.

Sin #3: No matter how advanced the technology, all conflicts will be resolved with a fist fight.

In New Blade Runner, the replicants played by Ryan Gosling and Sylvia Hoeks fight in the surf outside the Los Angeles sea wall. This is obviously director Denis Villeneuve’s homage to Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr making love in the surf in From Here to Eternity.

Sin #4: All post-apocalypse cities look like Soylent Green. If you venture underground, they look like THX 1138.

Those movies were made in 1973 and 1971, respectively. I guess you can’t beat ’70s science fiction, huh? (Oh yes you can: Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and this is just crud from the USA!)

New Blade Runner: Yes and then some. However, I have to admit that the junkyard was awesome. I want to be their artist in residence.

Sin #5: Never hire a writer. If you do, find ways to work around him or her.

The main writer on this picture was Hampton Fancher, who was the main writer on the original. He’s either lost a step since 1984 or he was stymied by the natural reticence of these characters. Most of them are not talkers. Gosling in particular is playing his introverted character from Lars and the Real Girl, except now he can shoot people.

The dialog is colorless, except for what was written for Sylvia Hoek’s Luv, who should’ve been a villain on Downton Abbey, and Jared Leto’s evil genius white male billionaire, a super-annoying mansplainer who thinks he’s too sexy for his shirt.

Robin Wright and Harrison Ford rise above the script. Edward James Olmos has about three minutes of screen time and we get no full view of his face, and yet, in his monochromatic way, is dominating. And Ford’s dog is brilliant. I want to teach my dog to stand malevolently in the shadows instead of racing ahead to get loved up.

Blade Runner goes to the beach.

Non-Blade Runner goes to the beach.

Sin #6: The villain always reveals his secret plans to the wrong people.

This is a specialty of superhero movies. It runs like this:

VILLAIN: Let me explain my plan. I haven’t carried it out yet, I just love the sound of my own voice.
SUPERHERO: Thank you. With this information, I was able to stop your plan.
VILLAIN: So that’s how it works.

New Blade Runner: Leto’s character couldn’t possibly spill the beans, because he speaks in riddles. He’s the son of David Clennon’s evil genius white male advertising exec from Thirtysomething, who was also super-annoying.

Sin #7: Men are terrified of sexually aggressive women.

This is a specialty of Star Trek. The poor men trapped in these scenarios turn into maladroit middle-schoolers when faced with women who want what they want. This isn’t screenwriting, this is memoir.

New Blade Runner: Sexually aggressive women are just fine, but don’t expect us to talk much afterwards, or even at all. We barely said anything when you walked in.

Final score: Five out of seven sins. It’s hard to be a saint in the city.

Final word: New Blade Runner is unexpectedly involving but, in the end, totally unnecessary. Classic Blade Runner said it all (and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? said even more). I’m not sorry I saw it, and I enjoyed my walk home in the starry night, and now I don’t have to think about it again.

The dog was a hologram.

I hope this helps.