Movie: Blade Runner 2049
My Rating: 4 stars
I saw this movie in the theater, and I’m glad I did. The whole aesthetic and moodiness of the film really feels like something best enjoyed on the big screen. It really is very stylized. Some people might say that it’s a little too stylized for its own good. But, I can go in for that kind of self-referential, nostalgic stuff when I’m in a generous mood. And, I guess I must have been in one when I went to see this movie, because I was really quite taken with it.
This movie is, of course, a follow up to the 1982 film. Although, I wasn’t quite sure which date to put because all of the different director’s cuts floating around out there. (My favorite is the “Final Cut,” but writing 2007 didn’t feel right.) This story takes place in the same world and city as the original, but decades later. And, there are tons of little references to the first film sprinkled throughout this one. There’s no way I caught them all. But, I enjoyed the movie well enough that I’d be willing to give it a few more views.
In this story, we’re following around a newer generation of replicant, a purposely un-rebellious model, in the form of Ryan Gosling. He knows he’s a replicant, and he’s supposedly fine with the fact that his job is hunting down older models who’ve tried to go off the grid. He’s been programmed to be loyal. But, the movie raises the question of just exactly what “programming” means—whether it’s actually something that’s been coded into his DNA, or whether it’s just something he’s been conditioned to believe. There’s a fair amount of ambiguity. This story is just as sad and desolate as the first one, if not more so. I’d say, the whole thing is characterized by loneliness. These movies really do capture the desperation and alienation created by an overpopulated, technologically advanced, super-metropolis of the future. Everyone in the story seems overwhelmingly depressed. And, I can’t imagine I would feel any different.
I liked this movie, and I recommend it. I loved the aesthetic the most—the sets, the clothes, the soundtrack, the haircuts. I want all the outfits that Luv wore. And, I think the casting was pretty good too. I guess Ryan Gosling really does his best acting when he’s playing the silent, depressed type. So, his role in the enterprise felt pretty natural. And, of course Jared Leto is his best when he’s playing a loathsome megalomaniac, so that was perfect casting too. This movie doesn’t feel exactly like the first one in tone. This film is definitely a lot slicker, and I don’t think that’s entirely due to improved special effects. But, I’m not one of those people that’s so bonkers for the original movie that I get mad at any changes or additions to the franchise. I think there was definitely enough room in that universe for this story to be told too. But, I’d be interested in hearing the opinion of someone who is a die-hard fan.