Full disclosure: I’m probably an idiot.
So I went and saw the new “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright and a slew of other big-name actors. I read all the reviews beforehand telling me it’s perhaps one of the best sequels in the history of movies and trust me, I triple checked the Rotten Tomatoes score of the movie. While all signs pointed towards “Blade Runner 2049” becoming my new favorite movie; why did I leave the theater so disappointed?
I still haven’t watched the original “Blade Runner,” but I was told you really don’t need to see it to understand the sequel. Yeah, I’m calling bullshit. If you haven’t watched it yet, definitely give it a go before you shell out $8.75 to watch the new one.
In all fairness, there were some things I enjoyed about the movie.
The movie is focused on ‘K’, Ryan Gosling, and his journey of discovering whether or not he is a replicant (robot) programmed with a human memory or if he is a human trained to think like a replicant. The movie deals frequently with the concept of a social structure where those in power are utilizing any means necessary to hold on to the power. If this means using robots designed to look like humans as slaves, so be it; they are just replicants anyways.
Almost all of the film is spent with these two concepts which props the question: are these replicants capable of feeling human emotions or do they just do as they are told? Furthermore, should these replicants be integrated into society as free-living (we use the term free living loosely in the context of a dystopia) citizens or should they only be used as slaves to protect and serve?
As we see with K, the replicants live a pretty normal life outside of their work life. After finishing a long day of chasing down escaped replicants and killing them, K comes home to his artificially intelligent girlfriend, Joi, who is a projection from a computer program in his house. Much like a couple, they enjoy dinner together, dance together, and even stand in the rain together. But, at a moments notice, K can shutdown Joi and either take her with him via a new piece of technology or leave her at home to wait for him. Through these scenes, we see that K craves emotion, but is unwilling to show it.
In summary, the movie goes to great lengths to really distort the audiences’ thought process of is K a replicant or a human.
It was slooooooow. The opening scene starts with some pretty graphic fighting, I’ll admit it. But aside from a few gun battles or a punch here or there, almost the entire movie is K moving from point A to B to C just to talk to people or investigate an area. For an action sci-fi movie, I was expecting, you know, more action. Again this probably goes back to the fact that I haven’t seen the original, but don’t worry! I’ll explain that too.
If you are going to make a sequel to a movie that is 35 years old, you have to have some context. The beginning we are given like four or five sentences about the current state of everything in the world of post-modern LA and I had absolutely no clue what any of it meant. What is a replicant? What is a blade runner? Hell, I didn’t even know who Harrison Ford’s character was in the movie until I did a quick Google search when he came on screen. I felt like the dumbest guy in the room nodding along to a joke that I didn’t understand.
I can’t be alone in these feelings. Most millennials weren’t even a thought in their parents’ brain when the original movie was released so to expect audiences to fully understand this movie is kind of a stretch. It’s not like “Blade Runner” kept up with audiences like “Star Wars” and created this cross-generational cult following. This movie seemed extremely random in timing and it seemed like the director had some expectations of the audience to know something about the movie before coming in. Well, that’s not me. I’m just the idiot who paid $8.75 plus popcorn and a soda for a movie that went completely over my head.
I guess all I’m asking for is to have the original movie posted on Netflix.
On a scale of 1 – 10, I give the new Blade Runner 2049 a 6. Maybe after I watch the original and the newest again it’ll get bumped up to a 7 or 8. Stay tuned!