Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is not a good movie.

I feel like more than a sequel, it was an extended fan tribute, made by people who, as a committee, didn't really understand the first movie.

They hit a lot of bullet points. I can almost see in my head the planning meeting where the list was made: it's not really an action movie. Slow burn. A wooden, silent protagonist who follows the linear clues from A to B to C. Long, slow pans across the cityscape. Monologuing supervillain industrialist. But despite hitting all of those seemingly-compulsory parts of the routine, it falls flat. Much like how the Watchmen movie, despite being nearly a frame-for-frame remake of the comic, still fell so flat.

It is so chock-full of fan service and references to other things that they mute what few new things it did bring to the party. "Here are some things that were in the first movie! Remember those?? Hey, remember how the first movie had neon signs for Pan Am and Cuisinart, before they went out of business? Look, here they are again! It's a thing that you recognize! Do you recognize the thing??"

There is a scene in the second or third act where some people are listening to a recording of Decard's Voight-Kampff session with Rachel from the first movie, and two of the characters start discussing what it means. Wait, excuse me, did the screenwriter just turn toward the camera and tell me his interpretation of the dialog in an older, better movie? Yes. Yes he did. What the hell? This script is not your blog, pal. I am not sitting on the couch TV Yelling with you!

I was aghast.

Even the score felt like it was making winking references. "Hey, remember this cue from Vangelis?"

Now, to their credit, they did make a long, slow detective movie, which is what the original was. To do that at all today is kind of remarkable.

But, by and large, everything that was good in this movie reminded me of other, better movies. And mostly those movies were not the movie to which this one is a sequel!

Here, then, my list of grievances.

First off, Ryan Gosling is just a really boring actor. This role could have been literally anyone, since he sleepwalks through the movie. Much of that is on the writing, but his flat affect made it difficult for me to care about any of the problems he was trying to solve, since he barely seemed engaged in it at all. And when he went "off book", it was hard to understand why, since he didn't seem to genuinely care about anything.

Next, Jared Leto. Jared Leto ruins everything! What a complete tool. This scenery-chewing buffoon is what we get to replace Joe Turkel's masterful Eldon Tyrell? Please. I read somewhere that originally they had wanted David Bowie to play this part. My question is, how far down that list did they have to go?? How many people said no? How many hundreds of names do you have to cross off below David Fucking Bowie before you get to Leto? Did Will Ferrell and Carrot-Top turn them down?

As for things that pulled me right out of the story, why is Leto's character blind? Dude you literally own an eyeball factory. I assume that it's just a stupid affectation that his character adopts, because he is a tool.

The relationship between the replicant and his chatbot was interesting, though they certainly didn't explore any of the implications. He's someone's property, she's his property, shit rolls down hill. It's almost like there's a story there about autonomy, inter-species romance, or a love story between two people who are somewhere between "poorly socialized" and "not quite real". Oh wait, that movie was called Her and it was excellent!

Every time someone in the movie (like the hooker dressed as Pris for some reason) used the phrase "Real Girl" or "Real Boy" it was immediately about Pinocchio, and I get it, I get it, you're a writer, a hack writer, and if your script is about the nature of humanity you can't resist throwing in a Pinocchio reference. But A.i. really, really has that covered. I didn't even like A.i., but it should have closed the book on this Pinocchio trope.

There's a scene toward the end where Jared Leto is trying to play the devil and offer Deckard some capital-T temptation where they trot out a CGI Sean Young lookalike for him to play with. (And in this scene I kept thinking, "Wow, Leto is a terrible Satan, hey, I should totally re-watch Angel Heart, that was some quality Devil-ing!) It's no surprise that she wasn't invited back for this movie. You've probably heard stories about "crazy" Sean Young, but I suspect that's all bullshit, she's just someone who had a few bad breaks and dropped out of that misogynistic meat-grinder of an industry. (Here's an interview from a few years back, where it is clear that the field in which she grows her fucks is barren.)

Anyway, they trot out CGI Young Hotness and I'm again pulled out of the story thinking, "Yup, I guess they're not going to give her a real cameo. I wonder how much she got paid for them skinning a video game avatar with her old publicity photos? I wonder if she made bank, or if she got screwed on this deal because someone else owns her likeness?"

Oh wait, I've seen this movie too! It was called The Congress, and it is about Robin Wright -- who is also in this movie -- playing herself and selling off the likeness rights to her younger, more financially viable image, to act in future movies without her involvement. I've got to believe that when Wright learned about this scene being in this movie she went, "Wait, what?"

The original Blade Runner had three main characters: Rick Deckard, The City of Los Angeles 2019, and Roy Batty. Everyone else was supporting cast. It's nice that they brought The City back for a cameo, but it was a shadow of what it once was, and honestly, it's done better work in other movies.

For example, in the Ghost in the Shell remake. Say what you will about that movie -- and there's a lot to criticize about it, particularly its whitewashing (and Blade Runner 2049 is a jarringly white movie too) -- but the exterior environments, the cityscapes in Ghost in the Shell were absolutely outstanding. If you take away the plot and characters and look only at the environment, Ghost in the Shell is a far more faithful sequel to Blade Runner than Blade Runner 2049 is. (Actually that's true for any of the many incarnations of Ghost in the Shell.) Can you look at the skyscraper-sized purple-haired naked hologram in Blade Runner 2049 and not think, "They lifted that directly from Ghost in the Shell 2017"?

While I give the sequel credit for (like the original) taking the time to show the vastness of its setting, taking the time for slow crawls through the environment, that doesn't fix the fact that the environments were just... boring. It felt like one long sepia sandstorm from beginning to end.

When we take a road trip out of LA to Vegas, we learn that before the city was abandoned, all of its gaudy statuary had been replaced with gargantuan reproductions of the statues from The Korova Milk Bar from A Clockwork Orange. Really? That's all you got?

Overall, the various environmental imagery was... good... but not good enough. Stop reminding me of other, better movies that I'd rather be watching instead!

Hey, remember that scene where Jared Leto decants a full grown and terrified woman from a Ziploc® bag, while making some speech about how his "angels" need to be able to breed and reproduce sexually in order to fill the universe? (This theology is as confused as the science, but moving on.) So this naked sticky woman falls out of the bag and he somehow immediately knows that she is infertile (presumably by sniffing her vag? I guess since he's "blind" he's "Matt Murdock, Ob-Gyn" now?) Right so he lets her be born, wake up, and then he straight-up murders her. How does that make any sense for the plot, or the character, or the world-building? How is this anything but the writer saying, "I'd like to see a nameless, naked crying woman get a knife to the uterus, that would be rad!"

By the way, this whole set-piece was also lifted wholesale from someone else's earlier, more interesting work. in this case Iris Van Herpen's 2014 runway show called Biopiracy.

Which brings us to: how does the goal of breeding replicants sexually make any kind of sense? If what you're after is a putatively-subhuman slave caste, decanting them from the Baby Grobags™ as fully grown, pre-brainwashed adults is way more efficient, especially if you've eliminated the accelerated decrepitude, which they clearly did long ago.

Which brings us to: "It's All About Family". Sigh, again? Why does every movie these days have to be about babies? Must every movie preach at the audience that you're nothing if you don't breed? Is someone subsidizing this, the way the Pentagon spends tax money to pay football teams to put on military tributes in their half-time shows? Is it the Big Baby Lobby?

(That question is rhetorical; the answer is, because Hollywood mandates that All Movies Must Be About Family, because it's still 1958 and that's the only way to get Ward and June to head out to the cinema along with Wally and The Beaver. But knowing doesn't make it any less irksome.)

I have a friend with an infant. He doesn't get out much these days, so he has to pick his movie outings carefully. I warned him against this one. He said, "Well, I'm going to go see it anyway. But I'm boycotting it if they pull some shit like Deckard is Gosling's father."

I said, "Ok, lemme just stop you right there..."

He started swearing, and I said: "But that's not even the worst part! Jared Leto is the worst part!"

He said, "Wait, what? Jared Leto is in this movie? Are you just fucking with me now?"

And finally:

One of the greatest things about the original Blade Runner, that made it endure, is that there was so much in it that was hinted at and left unexplained. And I don't even mean "Is he or isn't he". That movie gave us a glimpse into a vast world and left so many questions open not just about the environment and society but also the huge cast of characters and their backstories and motivations. It set up lots of questions, and then didn't answer most of them! It left you with so much more to think about and talk about for decades afterward.

This movie wraps everything up in a neat little bow. There's nothing left over. It is all explained to you. There is no mystery left. Except of course they left a hook for a sequel.

Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time. Blade Runner 2049 just left me feeling sad. Not even angry, just sad. They had everything: the set-up, returning actors from the original, all the money in the world, and even an otherwise-decent director. And they somehow managed to squander it.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

71 Responses:

  1. Normally I agree with you on matters of taste, but I have to dissent here. I thought it was nowhere near as good as the original, and certainly not a movie that needed to be made (there was no need for a sequel), but that Denis Villeneuve did manage to produce a pretty good movie in spite of the fact that there was very little room in which to maneuver. I was happy to have seen it. I liked how slow it was, I liked the acting, I liked where the plot went.

    That said, taste is the most subjective thing there is. If you didn't like it, I can't say that you're correct or incorrect for that. Neither, though, are the people who liked it of course.

  2. dvd says:

    No mention of the worthless, invisible, featureless, entirely forgettable soundtrack? Why oh why did they have to get Hans Zimmer to do it?

    A couple days after 2049 I re-watched the original in a small cinema in town. I wasn't wearing glasses, so I couldn't make out much of what was going on. But this was just as well, because I swear to God you could watch the original with your eyes closed, just listening to the sounds and the music, and it'd be better than watching 2049 with your eyes open.

    • MENTD says:

      What I don't understand is how few people I hear complaining about
      Zimmer's hideous noise. It ruined the film for me.
      I can't stand this generation, they never existed in a time with
      actual art so they have no reference point to what is MISSING.
      They just think as long as something is recorded well and shakes
      the speakers... It's good. The noise in this movie was grating.
      It was utterly harsh, abrasive, loud, obnoxious noise.
      What little melody was there was just simply 3 note pathetic
      melodies, the man has no subtlty or melodic ability whatsoever.

  3. TreeSpeaker says:

    I'll wait to see it on whatever horrible streaming service it makes it to first.

    Interesting description of Sean Young's uncannymeo:

    • jwz says:

      That's really cool! (Also it means that yes, she got paid, so that's good too.)

      • anon3494 says:

        I kept asking my friend if he thought she got paid for whichever scene was on.
        It was all very cringey.

      • MattyJ says:

        She did have a proper credit at the end so I assumed she got at least a token payday for it.

  4. bobthebob says:

    I lump this one in with Prometheus. The script sucked but a lot of it looked so good on the big screen I didn't mind the ticket price. Credit is due to the visual artists involved.

    Also you didn't mention that Harrison Ford was horrible in exactly the same way that the Sean Young stuff was horrible. There was no need for his character in the movie at all.

    Hail Victory.
    Strong American Families for a Strong American Future.

    • bobthebob says:

      I just realized there are zero human women in the movie. Is this a new variant on the Bechdel test?

      • bobthebob says:

        Nevermind, forgot about Forrest Gump's Jenny-the-gestapo-officer. Her performance was good and she looked cool (unlike Leto) but her lines were cringey.

    • ennui says:

      the second writer birthed 'Alien: Covenant' so, yeah, 'Prometheus'...

  5. PaulJBis says:

    The moment Jared Leto ordered his assistant to present him with the latest replicant sample, I thought to myself: "I bet the scene ends with him killing her, just so that everybody in the audience knows that he is a Bad Guy".

    Then he started speechifying, a long nonsensical speech full of pseudo-philosophizing (I'm impressed that you even remember what he was talking about), and ends the scene... yes, killing her, for no reason whatsoever. That's the moment I thought: "uh oh, this screenwriter is a hack".

    Pity, because up to that point I had been enjoying the movie. But that scene was so cliched and predictable... it was the clearest sign that we weren't going to see a masterpiece.

    • PaulJBis says:

      Forgot to add, since we are talking about ripoffs:

      -The thing about a newborn baby being of great symbolic importance: "Children of men".

      -The high priestess of the replicants: is it me, or her whole scene had a "Matrix" vibe? (Specially with all the talk about being "the one").

      • bobthebob says:

        It was very ham fisted biblical riffing, not Children of Men. Rachel and the slave revolt child (no technicolor dreamcoat; just a sterile bubble).

      • Nastybobby says:

        You're absolutely spot on with the whole 'head of the replicant uprising/Matrix' comment. I thought it really jarred and it was like a 1990's straight to DVD movie had somehow got mixed up with BR2049 in the editing suite. That scene also felt like: 'we'll stich this bit in here as a start of a plot for the sequel' as well.

  6. anon7 says:

    If they're gonna do futuristic detective movies, they should have fused Blade Runner with The Long Goodbye. I'd consider watching that. Ryan Gosling shopping a futuristic bodega for cat food at 3 in the morning to feed his replicant tiger or something...

  7. jwb says:

    Casting Jordan Catalano as Satan sank this movie.

    But Cuisinart is not out of business!

  8. mdhughes says:

    As always, never watch sequels, nor movie adaptations of books; "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is vastly more interesting than the very pretty but vapid Blade Runner, and the new one is a sequel to an adaptation so it's a hall of mirrors reflecting horrors. "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" is vastly more interesting than the very pretty but vapid AI.

    The only good thing Jared Leto has ever done was American Psycho (a rare exception to movie adaptations of books, and even there the book is vastly more interesting than the very pretty but vapid film about very pretty but vapid people), especially the Huey Lewis scene. Every use of him in any other film should just be a remake of that scene.

    • jwz says:

      Well if your theory is "don't watch the original Blade Runner because it was based on a book", your theory is invalid.

      I have... complicated... opinions of Dick's work, but though I respect him enormously, the original Blade Runner exceeded his writing. It happens sometimes, usually by ignoring much of the source material. The Shining.

      Not often, sure. But in this case, yes.

      • pavel_lishin says:

        Fight Club is an example of a movie that was leaps and bounds better than the book.

        (As always, ignore the rabid fandom.)

      • It helps that "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is -- even if you're an unrepentant PKD aficionado -- strictly mid-tier work. It's a (barely) novel-length reworking of elements from an earlier short story, written toward the end of the period when he was cranking out three to five novels a year (!) with help from his methamphetamine habit. He wrote one great novel in 1966, and DADoES was emphatically not it. (That would be UBIK.)

        • ennui says:

          ok, let's fight. Dick's ontological paranoia is self-consciously crackpot window dressing on a novelist who has a lot of fascinating observations about post-industrial culture:

          1) news clowns
          2) Mercerism
          3) people's weird obsessions with their pets
          4) dialing in your emotions via technology ie. pharmaceuticals

          DADoES is one of PKDs better novels and is full of good stuff. The murder/retirement of the android opera singer (Luba Luft) is absolutely chilling and Deckard is an antihero, at best, in the book where it's clear that his job is evil. A remake of Bladerunner that was true to the book is something that the culture actually needs...

          Also, a version of 'Confessions of a Crap Artist' where the main character is a software developer.

        • Which short story?

    • Dave says:

      You've never seen a good sequel or movie adaptation of a book?

    • mdhughes says:

      Started to expand on this, then it got interesting and posted to my blog. Movie Policy

    • I think Jared was excellent in Mr nobody.

  9. Chris Jones says:

    I mostly disagree with all of this, but rather than have a rant about those things, I just want to address the claim that this movie was made by people who don’t understand the original - 2049 was EP’d by the original director, co-written by one of the original writers, and includes the original protagonist. I’m not sure it’s especially valid to suggest that some of the main creators of the first one, dont understand it, because they don’t agree with whatever you took from the first one.

    • jwz says:

      Well, I base my comments on the movie I watched, not transcripts from the production meetings.

      Yes, this movie has the pedigree. So I had high hopes. But actors are not writers or directors or producers, and it's decades later, and anything with this much money involved is an effort by committee. And as everyone knows, none of us is as dumb as all of us.

  10. David says:

    Holy crap, it's like you've taken that directly out of my head. May I add the stupid beehive in the milk-bar desert (hey, remember that bee thing from the Voight-Kampff test? Then you're one of us!) What was really frustrating about this movie is that they continuously referenced stories I'd much rather see than this 'K' guy (hey, see the Kafka reference! Then you're one of us!). For instance, I was really impressed with the performance by Dave Bautista in the beginning, and would have LOVED to see his story. It was a shame that he was just there to be offed by Gosling in full stoic mode. Instead, we have to deal with manic pixie dream girl and the prostitute with a golden heart. And STILL I didn't hate the movie. Roger Deakins is a master, and I frequently found myself overwhelmed from the imagery. I just got more angry with every day I thought about the movie.

    • Leonardo Herrera says:

      There is an official short movie about Batista's character in the tubes.

    • MattyJ says:

      Agree on the Deakins point. His involvement was about 85% of why I bothered to see this.

  11. TMI says:

    What I don't understand is how someone as suave, sophisticated, and successful as you, JWZ, has not had children yet. You should be in a loving long-term relationship with at least one child already!

    Then you could go and see movies about babies and understand what they are all about. Well, actually, you wouldn't have time for movies, but, ah, forget I wrote that one...

    • Frank Hecker says:

      I'd guess that owning a beloved but financially struggling nightclub replicates in large part the pleasures and pains of parenthood, including having to clean up someone else's throw-up.

    • David says:

      While I can see the tongue in your cheek, I have to disagree. I have two kids, and the movie's had pretty much zero emotional punch for me (and I do cry hard every time Roy Batty does his speech on the rooftop, although he's no one's kid). And while I love Harrison Ford, let's just be honest and admit that "father meeting his kid for the first time" is not in his arsenal of impressions (actually, he has exactly three: "charming", "perplexed" and "very perplexed"). And the death of 'K' seems utterly avoidable compared to the death of Roy Batty. Couldn't they just make short stop at the Replicant Clinic before meeting Manic Pixie Dream Girl?
      If you want to see a movie where parental angst is used effectively, look no further than Villeneuve's previous movie "Arrival". Boy, did I cry hard during that one...

    • I'm pretty sure it's illegal in the US for an adult to be in a loving long-term relationship with a child. Let alone more than one.

    • jwz says:

      Maybe one of these days, jwz will finally get to be an ER doctor, an ambitious young lawyer, or a detective on the edge. Then he will finally understand the human condition, and will realize why 90% of our TV and movies have to be about these topics.

      You just haven't found fulfillment as a person, and for that matter, you have not fulfilled your biological imperative, until The Chief says to you, "I need your badge and your gun".

      • TMI says:

        Exactly! I'm glad that you finally understand that if you aren't a movie or TV stereotype then you aren't a real person.

        Oh, and on the subject of the movie, I'm not going to bother ever watching it. I didn't like the first one, why would I like this one?


      • anon3494 says:

        If you're not a cop, you're little people.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You've probably heard stories about "crazy" Sean Young, but I suspect that's all bullshit, she's just someone who had a few bad breaks and dropped out of that misogynistic meat-grinder of an industry.

    You can find on YouTube some homemade videos she did and her appearance on Letterman a few years back. In the latter case it's clear that what happened is that she/her publicist called up the show to ask if she could have a guest spot. It's also clear that the idea was to use the guest spot as a press release, to serve as a notice to the rest of the industry, to say, "Sean Young is looking for work, in case you thought or heard otherwise". She comes off like a kid in junior high who doesn't know how to be funny, or just how people generally work, but is undaunted and tries anyway. It's hard to watch.

    Hollywood bullshit notwithstanding, it seems likely that people had lots of awkward and cringey times around Sean-Young-in-first-person, and just opted out.

    • Most of the stories about "crazy" Sean Young involve her being horrible to James Woods, which in retrospect makes her an American hero.

  13. Thomas Lord says:

    I think Will Ferrell playing a character like Eldon Tyrell could be quite chilling.

  14. I'm confused, did you like it or not?

  15. It's interesting that I don't really disagree with you about many of the particulars of your objections here, but it mostly didn't prevent me from enjoying the movie. Gosling's low-key, all-interior performance mostly worked for me. Mackenzie Davis is brilliant so I didn't mind that they hung a lampshade on her character by giving her most of Pris' makeup job. "Her" did a lot of the same things better, but I liked the plot device well enough here too.

    Except, sigh, for Jared Fucking Leto. He didn't ruin the film for me but holy shit it was not for lack of trying. Every last scene with him in it could have been either fully deleted or his character replaced with Sylvia Hoeks' with exactly zero loss (and in most cases substantial benefit) to the plot. The fact that we didn't get Bowie in that part (and hopefully he would have looked at that dialogue, rolled his eyes and ad libbed) is proof that we live in the darkest timeline.

    Hell, I'll add an objection: whatever the fuck "the blackout" was, it was totally unnecessary . People, it's nearly forty years later. You don't need a poorly-explained mega-EMP plot device to explain that corporate and city bureaucracies in a future dystopia don't have tip-top records management. Shit gets lost, backup tapes decay, nobody's ever paid enough to care. You don't have to explain basic human incompetence.

    • margaret says:

      ...nobody's ever paid enough to care. You don't have to explain basic human incompetence.

      jwz blog comments on point. snort.

      i'm guessing you are familiar with hanlon's razor.

    • MattyJ says:

      I could watch an entire movie of Sylvia Hoeks murdering people, kicking them in the face, etc. Her performance was a highlight in an otherwise boring as hell movie. I wish she would have turned on her maker.

    • tfb says:

      I think you do need the plot device if you want to sell th movie to people who don't have first-hand, or really any, experience of digital things decaying. A lot of people keep the only copy of all their photos on some laptop disk which hasn't failed yet and assume it never will. Google and Facebook haven't started to rot noticeably yet and not enough people used bebo, geocities or whatever for the memory of all that stuff going away really to have taken hold. People still think that digital means forever.

  16. japh-O-matic says:

    My entire -universe- for a villain that is vaguely rational, believable; someone you'd be willing to have drinks with until the last third of the movie. Someone guided by a parallel ideaology that is not straight-up pathology--Christ, how hard could that possibly be? Sigh. It never happens. Modern movies will not tolerate the kind of pacing that allows for moderately complex development in anyone except the protagonist; everyone else gets to be some stale, overacted archetype of whatever...

    God, I noticed that they even copied the original ambient noise from Deckard's apartment. (12-hour loop here)

    Regrettably, this was not the movie I wanted to see. Let's hope there is no sequel to this sequel. Time... to die...

    • Nick Lamb says:

      This seems like a really, really specific preference.

      Plenty of movies get made in which there is no villain (e.g. Three Colors: Red), or in which the villainy is all the work of the protagonists (e.g. Shallow Grave). But you must have a villain, and they're not just to be initially pretending to be good (e.g. Frozen), instead their alleged "villainy" is to consist of having a "parallel ideaology [sic]" that we only realise makes them the villain in the third act.

      I don't think you're going to be satisfied, in fact I think you've gone out of your way not to be satisfied. I think you can watch every movie and neatly classify it as "no villain - boring" or "villain too obvious - boring". I think you can watch say, Crimson Tide and Aliens and come away still sure that Hollywood is missing some trick you've clearly defined but which is actually illusory having neatly decided that the real villain in "Crimson Tide" was nuclear war, like a film school freshman, and that since Carter Burke is a company asshole that flags him from the movie's outset.

    • The Vulture in the newest Spider-Man movie was surprisingly close to what you're looking for. He's not a world-conquering megalomaniac, he's just a dude with some pretty reasonable objections to how he was treated by the powers that be, and an entirely understandable desire to do right by his wife and kid. He's not psychotically obsessed with Spider-Man, and in fact he tries to walk away from their last fight when he realizes he's still got a chance to make his final score. If not for his temper and willingness to kill people, he's the Jean Valjean of the MCU.

      (I'd be okay with them making Blade Runner 2152 as long as they wait until Ryan Gosling is 75 before making it.)

      • jwz says:

        Yeah, The Vulture is the first comic-book-movie villain I can remember who isn't driven by megalomania or revenge. I also enjoyed that he was in "waste management", universal code for "low level mafia".

  17. Barry Kelly says:

    For me the movie fell flat because it failed to replicate the tone of the original. The world weary irony that ultimately gets pierced, that started out cliche but left everything cracked with hints of other things through the chinks. It had lots of similar constituent parts, and many delicious visual shots, but it didn't come together. Too much daytime, too slow at times, and yes, not enough empathy with Gosling's character.

  18. Leonardo Herrera says:

    A young couple walked out of the cinema around the first half hour. I envied their resolution.

    For me the worst was the music. For some reason the cinema managers decided that it was time to go to eleven so I had to suffer extremely loud "BROOOOM - BROOOOOOM - WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAH" every five minutes to warn you something is about to happen.

    Jared Leto's character was boring. I liked Gostling's performance. Hi res photography didn't make it for me. And they tried to _design_ gritty. It wasn't accomplished.

    Loved the big miniature of the abandoned city, when Joe was searching for Decker. If they did it with CGI, and they purposedly made it look like a miniature, that's even cooler.

    The film really needed some high ISO grain and old-school lenses.

    For some reason the exteriors looked just like sets. The first one managed to make the city expansive, this one not so much.

    Anyways, I bet we all have our grievances with this movie. So much sadness.

  19. randompete says:

    Jamie, your review pretty much matches up with what I thought this movie was going to be. I'm glad I skipped it. Well, I mostly avoided it because I knew Ryan Gosling would annoy me so much that I'd just hate the whole damn thing. Still, thanks for the validation.
    Roll, Dice

  20. anon3494 says:

    This is all on-point, but you should have mentioned the bees.

  21. richkey says:

    I agree with most of your criticisms of 2049. The original is one of my favorite movies of all time and PKD even admitted that it hit the mark better than his writing. 2049 had too much fan service and holes that i tried to let go but ended up bothering me a tad too much. Visuals of course were going to be superb and Zimmer's score sounded like Zimmer lite and nothing original despite admiring his other works greatly. Oh well went in with low expectations and Denis is still a great director.

  22. Filmteknik says:

    One must take the whole thing with the proverbial grain of salt. If replicants are a problem and they can only be detected through subtle things via the VK machine why don't they make them visibly different like give them purple skin or have REPLICANT as birthmarks across their foreheads? They are genetically engineered, yes? They could do this, yes? I consider that to be a plot hole big enough to drive a truck through. Still a fan but I don't sweat the small stuff with the big issue still out there.

  23. Tom Craver says:

    Leto's 'Wallace' character apparently knew the newborn replicant was blind because his eyes have been replaced with links to some kinds of super-sensors that can float around under his control, doing deep bio-analysis. Presumably he considers this better than real eyes?

    • MattyJ says:

      I assumed Leto just showed up on set with 'blind guy eyes' props from a dust closet at the studio that hadn't been opened in 25 years, and nobody wanted to get into a 5 hour debate about the motivations and history of his character. Just Leto it be.

  24. Marshall Cypress says:

    "white washing" stopped reading there.

  25. Bryan says:

    Nice to see your take. I think I was just so disappointed by GitS 2017 that BR 2049 got some extra credit.

    > This movie wraps everything up in a neat little bow. There's nothing left over. It is all explained to you. There is no mystery left.

    Am I the only that thinks the child is not who we are spoon-fed, but rather the other minor character?

    • krick says:

      I think the ending of the movie made it clear who the child was. I'm not sure what other minor character you could mean.

  26. TallTim says:

    Boring Robot 2049 was a complete snoozefest. I don't need action scenes in every shot, or exploding fireballs with dramatic escapes, I just need the plot to MOVE.

    You could easily cut this movie down to half (if not more) of its running time and not miss a single beat.

    The music was like a news channel on in the background. Occasionally there would be a swell of Dramatic Noise to let you know that the composer hadn't fallen asleep at his synthesizer. What bothered me besides the blandness was the "punch" didn't correspond to anything on screen.

    What a waste.

    Gosling was a robot acting like a robot, Ford was possibly a robot doing what he has been doing in his twilight years - killing off his characters, either literally or metaphorically. They both could have been absent without much impact.

    My sequel - if it even needed to be made (which I highly doubt), would have had Ford getting offed in the beginning, in a delicious juxtaposition of the "time to die" scene in the original - culminating in the robot offspring learning about their past and putting two chopsticks in Leto's defunct eyeholes.

    That's the thing about hollywood, all flash and no substance. How any movies get made that aren't a multicolored fart in a technicolored hurricane is beyond me.

    Props to the FX artists, but the writers and director can chortle my balls.

    • dvd  says:

      > Gosling was a robot acting like a robot

      His reaction when his ship/transporter gets shot down was the high point of the movie for me.

      I laughed out loud.

  27. One way a committee tried to make a movie more powerful is to amp up the mcguffin, to raise the stakes from "save the money-losing restaurant" or "get home for Thanksgiving" to "win the war" or "prevent the destruction of the planet" or "save the galaxy".

    The original Blade Runner did not have particularly high stakes. A few people might die, more or less. Some run-away slaves might carve out a bit of happiness for themselves, unless the hero is able to stop them. Either way, life goes on. But the sequel just had to go and make the fate of civilization itself rest on this particular drama. Aside from the laziness and disrespect this shows, it diminishes everything else in the movie: the characters, the setting, all become small in the context of saving the world.

  28. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My wife and I went to see 2049 and we both came out thinking exactly what you thought. Now I know we aren't crazy.

  • Previously