BladeRunner 2049 – SPOILER Review

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Let’s dispense with the gushing platitudes up front. BladeRunner 2049 is NOT a good movie. It’s a Pinocchio with a tagged on twist movie. I’ll give it credit for the excellent soundtrack and beautiful cityscapes but the rest was a mess.

  1. The Story was weak. (SPOILERS coming in FAST). Joe finds a date carved on a tree, that is also on a horse toy in his memory. When Joe finds the hidden toy later, that he supposedly hid, he believes that he is the son of Deckard and Rachel. Nevermind the fact that the there is no point for the the tree to have that inscribed date nor the horse having the same date. It’s a convenience to push the story along even though there is no reason for it. However without it, the easily connected dots could not be connected.
  2. Harrison Ford serves no purpose in the movie. Other than the fact that his big bad replica self (yeah, they are still trying to be ambiguous on this) has super sperm that can knock up a replicant. Why do we care about replicants being knocked up? (FYI: Ford doesn’t even show up until the last hour in this 3 hour bore fest.)
  3. Because Jared Leto, as the forgettably bad CEO company man, can’t make replicants fast enough so he wants to go back to breeding. What? You’re telling me that it takes longer than 9 months to make a replicant? Oh wait… You’re telling me that it takes longer than 20 years or so to make 1 replicant? You have to add in the child growing up. That’s just dumb. Completely dumb. Intolerably dumb.
  4. Joe is flying out into the wastelands to check on this orphanage that the child of Rachel was passed through and gets shot down by these marauders. Luckily, he gets shot down within walking distance of where he needs to be. Then Leto’s woman uses VR missile command to blow the bad guys up so Joe can walk over a hill and find the orphanage. Did I mention that every scene is one of convenience just so the threadbare story can move at all?
  5. Joe has a hologram girlfriend. In the stupidest form of tech speculation EVER… The hologram can go and be anywhere as long as Joe keeps this tech stick with him (usually in his pocket). Where does the hologram project from?
  6. The girl that creates memories comes from out of left field. But hey, we need some way to get the daughter of Rachel and Deckard into the movie. That’s right, Joe isn’t the son. The daughter created the fake memories that were placed into Joe’s head and would lead him to finding Deckard even though it makes no sense why she would do this? Oh… he also hid the horse with the date on it, so we have to believe that SHE hid the horse with the date on it, in the furnace, and then wrote that memory onto him. But why??? The convenience of moving this very weak story forward. If she hadn’t done that, then we could never connect the implausible dots to have a story.
  7. The resolution leaves it open. The bad guy (Leto) is sort of just left out there. Ford get’s off with fake dying and then is introduced to his daughter who created this dynamic never knowing the point to which it would come to. My god this is the most convoluted and shoddily put together story ever.

Honestly… The Ghost in the Shell movie was better and made more sense than this travesty. I hate saying that because BladeRunner the Final Cut is a masterpiece of cyberpunk greatness. Cyberpunk is my favorite subgenre of sci-fi even. So for this long awaited sequel to just tank this badly is a real disappointment. To hear people actually call this thought provoking and packed with substance, tells me that people will fall for anything if they refuse to think about it. There is no substance here though. This movie provokes zero thought, other than how it is shoddily stitched together. It’s the lowest form of storytelling where every scene is a deus ex machina solution just to keep it all going forward.

Catch it on streaming but don’t waste your money or time to see it in the theater. Honestly… by the second hour I was just waiting for Harrison Ford to show up and save the movie (he doesn’t save it at all). I really just wanted to walk out of the artsy bore fest. It was that bad.

Author: jasonfalter

Aspiring writer that is not starving due to being in the Technology industry. Noir, Crime Fiction, Cyberpunk, Etc...Atlanta Falcons Fanatic and Libertarian.

3 thoughts on “BladeRunner 2049 – SPOILER Review”

  1. Hi,

    Most of the things you list I see addressed elegantly in the subtext of the film. Point by point:

    1) But the dates were written with a purpose, as a breadcrumb trail. This point is expanded further down.

    2) For replicants it’s significant because they believe being born equates to having a soul (as told by K’s point of view) and being more than human (as told by Freysa’s point of view). For humans it’s important because it separates them from replicants as a species, as well ensures the creation of new replicants stays under human control and regulation (as told by Madam’s point of view).

    3) It solves a critical logistical problem. With replicants that can breed, Wallace can dispense with the necessary infrastructure to produce them. Further to that, because only Wallace can make them and only after he amassed a fortune with protein farms post blackout, we can deduce that one needs a lot of money and materials to make replicants. He wants to go from nine colonised worlds, to be able to get the stars. Short term on Earth, yes, born replicants take longer to grow. Agreed. Long term it means you have a self-propagating super human work force. Wallace thinks long term.

    4) It’s not unreasonable to expect the orphanage is located within a populated area of the LA dump (perhaps the size of a village, definitely not a metropolis like LA), therefore it’s close to where the local RPG armed resistance would be strongest. Crash landing nearby isn’t that far fetched. I don’t find it odd Luv shoots down the ambushers, but I do find odd that K doesn’t raise any questions regarding who or what saved him. Then again, the film is already long without K trying to get to the bottom of that point. And if he did, it wouldn’t have changed much, perhaps only gave him more urgency to find Deckard.

    5) Joi is not a hologram, since she can interact or be affected by external stimuli. She can also infer K’s desires, even ones unknown to him. This suggests she is synch’ed to/paired with K’s subconscious and/or acts as K’s manifested id. The device is called an emanator. You never see Joi be acknowledged by other characters who are not replicants. This suggests the device brodcasts a radio signal that can create a (collective) hallucination with other replicants, but seems to only present itself when it’s convenient to K (to the point it pings in his pocket but doesn’t show up throughout K’s interactions with other people). We never see how Joi works with a human host/owner.

    6) First frames of the film are of an iris opening that are most likely Stelline’s. Consider point 1, and how convenient the breadcrumb trail seems to be. Consider the resistance is on to K before he even goes to the orphanage. Consider the orphanage kids in the hall respond to K’s arrival immediately and with affection, as if expecting him. Consider Stelline says the best memories carry a piece of truth from their creator. Consider when Freysa shatters K’s illusion, she also states all replicants who joined the Resistance wanted to be her at some point (very likely K wanted it much more than the rest). This indicates Stelline planted the memories on several replicants, in order to start the resistance. Other resistance replicants, if not all, probably made it as far as the horse, were intercepted and the horse replaced to grab the next one. If memories make us who we are, and if we (as replicants) are bound to servitude since creation, then making us care deeply about our memories then exposing those as lies creates an identity crisis. We no longer see ourselves as bound in servitude, but open to new ideas, to making choices and sacrifices.

    7) I agree Stelline probably didn’t expect for Deckard to show up, that was an unintended consequence of fostering the resistance movement. Wallace doesn’t get resolution, because the story wasn’t about him. He’s not a nemesis, but a background character that sets events in motion. The story is mostly about the unravelling and search of self, how K begins as a dutiful replicant, then by chasing a dream rendered (im)possible by circumstance and design, faces a tremendous disappointment. After introspection, he is able to make a choice.

    It’s a deep film because it touches upon the weight of memory on identity, and the problematic of how free are you to make decisions when you’re being led along, among other things.

    Cheers!

    Like

    1. I’ll give you credit for the Joi explanation. That would make sense. Though, going from hologram to linked to his brain so only he could see, was not explained in any way, shape, or form. As far as the dates, they make no sense. Unless Deckerd’s daughter wanted someone to find her, ergo… she had to know that someone would come looking, then the dates and horse and everything is implanted. If you are trying to hide, then you don’t leave bread crumbs, ever. So if she didn’t know she was in hiding, then those dates probably would not be something she would use anyway. There is no way around this that makes any sense for motivation. The dates are only important to get from one scene to another. It’s just bad writing. As far as breeding replicants, it still makes no sense at all. You have to figure gestation and growth, and learning just to be a slave work force??? Nope…no way would that make any sense. Why breed a superior race that can break form you too??? It just isn’t good story telling when motivations have not been defined in ways that make sense.

      Like

  2. Hi!

    “I’ll give you credit for the Joi explanation. That would make sense. Though, going from hologram to linked to his brain so only he could see, was not explained in any way, shape, or form.”

    Thanks! I never said she goes from hologram to linked to his brain, though. I think she’s always in sync, and she only manifests herself visually when K desires to, or feels alone, and not always consciously. As for the lack of explanation, a lot of the film, like the predecessor, hints, but does not explain. The hints are internally consistent. You don’t see contradictory pieces of information, and one can come up with an elegant framework where all the pieces fit.

    “As far as the dates, they make no sense. Unless Deckerd’s daughter wanted someone to find her, ergo… she had to know that someone would come looking, then the dates and horse and everything is implanted. If you are trying to hide, then you don’t leave bread crumbs, ever. So if she didn’t know she was in hiding, then those dates probably would not be something she would use anyway. There is no way around this that makes any sense for motivation. The dates are only important to get from one scene to another. It’s just bad writing.”

    Sorry, but you demonstrate a notable lack of attention here. Please re-read what I posit regarding point 6, since you seem to have disregarded it in full, or cherry picked. It’s my hipothesis, certainly, and not gospel, but consider it. The “bad writing” you point out screams intention. I believe the dates are intentional. Steline herself doesn’t want to be found, but lead replicants who stumble upon the memories down a path that can be intercepted by the resistance. Else Sapper would have burnt down the tree and cindered Rachel’s bones, Freysa would have exiled and not started a movement.

    “As far as breeding replicants, it still makes no sense at all. You have to figure gestation and growth, and learning just to be a slave work force??? Nope…no way would that make any sense.”

    We don’t have to figure anything out. Homo Sapiens took about 200,000 years to get where it is, by itself. The advent of language, probably the most significant step forward for Humanity, was already happening by c. 2690 BC. That means that sending a self-replicating work force to space that can already speak and write gives them around 195,000 years worth of evolution, when compared to their creators. Evolution isn’t linear, but has exponential growth. You send a ship of hardy replicants, with handpicked tomes of knowledge, and one “Bible of Wallace”, and what can happen? This leads us to the next point.

    “Why breed a superior race that can break form you too???”

    The old God complex. Arrogance, as well as classic SF plot device. Race plays god, creates subrace. Subrace becomes intelligent, revolts, hunts down their creators. Remember how Wallace speaks of his creations as his angels. His eyes don’t seem to focus, but through his floating drones, he appears to see everything around him. Even though he isn’t omniscient, he physically uses his eyes like how you would expect such a being to behave. Also, see Cylons in BSG (2003 miniseries for a recent example), or the Zerg from Starcraft. Even the first Blade Runner has this happening: why would Tyrell ever bio-engineer a work force human enough, when humans have proven to be a crafty species? Wouldn’t the Orc model put forward by Tolkien be better? Have a slave force that’s smart enough to do their job, but not enough to plot/dream/have ambition?

    “It just isn’t good story telling when motivations have not been defined in ways that make sense.”

    Well, I seem to have found ways that make sense to me.

    Cheers!

    Like

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