Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Here's what I wrote the day after seeing this film:

"Okay, I watched Blade Runner 2049 last night. Well, you know when you go to a nightclub, and it's a bit crap, so they crank the volume up to try and make it exciting. That. The original Blade Runner was understated - the sounds meant something - here they were akin to the bangs and crashes in a cheap horror movie to make you jump out of your seat. Scenes dragged on for too long to try and impart atmosphere and meaning that wasn't there. I didn't care about anyone. Loose threads dangled. It was boring and it dragged. About an hour and a half in I felt I'd fallen into an episode of the Twilight Zone where I would be forced to watch a naff movie forever."

It is interesting to read reviews from others who feel that this is the best thing they have ever seen, or it is a great effort, or it is a suitable sequel. This is a salutary reminder that people's experience of art is mostly subjective. I then begin to wonder if my experience would have been different if the sound hadn't been so high that the crash bangs and music hurt my ears, but no, then I wouldn't have been able to hear what they were saying. Perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind? No - good films always grab me and in fact I use them to escape any bad state of mind. Perhaps I just didn't 'get' it? No. The last time I didn't 'get' an sfnal entertainment was when I was learning to walk.

In retrospect: The sound needed to be lower and unnecessary loud shit needed to go. Scenes needed to be much shorter because, hey, I get it now so move on. The attempts at arty mystery, seemingly tossed in at random, were a distraction. I mean, what were those bees about and who cares? What was the point of the 'unresolved' bad guy with the blank eyes? The next film? Why did I care nothing for any of the characters except, just a little bit, for Deckard? 

No, my opinion still hasn't changed.


nakchak said...

Nice one for summing up my fears about the film, im very much in the doesnt need a sequel camp, and debating if i want to waste £20 on disappointment...

I fear anything animal related in the film will be a ham fisted attempt at explaining the ecology aspect of DADOES, utterly absent from the original film in a meaningful manner (even the directors cut doesnt do much to explain that there are no animals, but knowing that the "real snake" quote, owl and eagle make much more sense in the original), best blade runner sequel was the excellent west wood point and click adventure game that came on 7 cd roms

Sean Brodrick said...

I liked the movie. But I had to read multiple articles afterward to understand it. A movie that can't explain itself is an art project.
Since this came out the same year as Valerian, I'd say 2017 is a banner year for "mediocre to good" science fiction.
My 15-year-old and I saw the Director's Cut of the first Blade Runner just a couple days ago (it has been playing on the SyFy Network). That movie had my son enthralled. This one -- left him bored.
That's not the only thing making my decision. I wasn't bored. But 2049 has a slow, dreamlike pace. In fact, if it had been revealed the movie was Deckerd's dying dream or something, that wouldn't have surprised me at all. It seems like someone's dream. (I later read a post by Mark Millar suggesting that the entire movie is an implanted memory, sent to push Deckerd to go see his daughter).
There are things that happen in the movie that aren't explained well ... or at all. Again, that's an art project.
Also Ryan Gosling is either miscast or misdirected as the lead. The difference between how he drifts through the movie in a somnambulant state and how Harrison Ford, though much older, fairly crackles with energy, only serves to highlight Gosling's miscasting.
My verdict is this movie could have been tightened up quite a bit, while at the same time, I would have liked things in the movie to be clearer. It's good. But it's not great.

Dante D'Anthony said...

OH NO! One one my favorite Science Fiction authors didn't like the sequel. I enjoyed it thoroughly, it does seem to be mostly all in or all out.

Unknown said...

A bit of a hijack so I apologize!

Neal have you seen this: ?

It's called Adam, the premise is criminals in the future have there bodies taken away and their brains put into golem (my words) bodies. Sound familiar?!

There is a part 2 directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9).

They are using a video game engine to make these videos... maybe one day we will see some of your books on the silver screen. :)

Bob Lock said...

What were the bees suppose to pollinate?

sean collins said...

Art is subjective but there is a difference in not liking something and not thinking it has any merit.

No, it's not the same as the original but, unlike any number of any recent franchise reboot/sequels/prequels, this CAN sit alongside the original. Alien Covenant is just woeful - I honestly don't know if I would ever bother watching it again: something I never thought I'd say about any Ridley movie.

It doesn't sound as if you enjoyed a single aspect of the film: can I confirm that your eyes were in fact open? If nothing else it is one of the most visually striking movies of recent years, never mind all the epic futurescapes (which were indeed epic) the waves crashing over the downed aerocar were mesmerising.

Obsessing on irritations is a sure way to ensure a negative outcome. Pacing was a problem; it makes the original look like an action movie. Thankfully I realised this in the first twenty minutes & just went with it. Here's hoping the director's cut is actually shorter for once...

I've had the score on repeat for the last week or so (I would say it's a generational thing but not that much younger than you), but if it bothers you, try it again on BluRay with volume turned down... ;-P

Since when is Art there to answer questions rather than ask them (and it DOES ask some interesting questions)? Many who don't like the original would make the same criticism about pretensions; yes, this one moves the game on, but given the reputation the original has accumulated over the last 30 years this was surely an inevitability? It was never going to be a straight sequel.

It might also help that I'd seen (and loved) his last movie, Arrival (also sci-fi) which was intelligent, touching and full of interesting ideas.

PS thanks for all the books! Unfortunately, being a curmudgeon I am more motivated to grumble than praise