I went to watch the sequel to my probably most cherished film: Blade Runner. Please do not read the following if you plan to see it because, obviously, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Seeing the original Blade Runner as a teen in the cinema has influenced me in many ways and it will always be one of the, if not my favorite movie ever. So yeah, I was always going to be biased. At first I even did not want to see Blade Runner 2049 at all, but after some positive reviews I gave it a shot. I really wanted to like the film. But ultimately I didn’t.
While I did enjoy many of the sets and the production design, it lacked the visual and aural grit of the original which made it so special in the first place. I’d have loved to hear the score by Jóhan Jóhannsson – the Zimmer soundtrack is the usual bass kabooms and melodies that don’t stay with you. Plus there’s quite a bit of garbage plot in this long film.
After the central mission is established, all the suspense built up in the excellent first half hour is taken out by our main man getting all hubby and wifey with a virtual woman that has nothing to do with the actual story. I can only guess these scenes are supposed to make Gosling look more human. Why even bother?! That took me totally out of the movie.
I have so many questions. If you can order a customized virtual woman, why would you get exactly the one that’s advertised sky-high?! More important: Wouldn’t this hologram thing let its producer – in this case: the baddies – easily track the life of its man and his whereabouts?! And yet Ryan Gosling takes this virtu-gal on his journey to find Deckard?!
When he finds him, Gosling – by that time I had gotten quite tired of his eternal Drive face – hangs out a while in Deckard’s post-Vegas crib with his virtual boo. Again, what’s the point?! Aren’t there more urgent matters at hand?! My guess is it’s just so mad Xenia Onatopp can come and kill her, stomping out her final “I love” in classic mid-“you”.
Then there’s the Tyrell of Blade Runner 2049: A super chic and blind Jared Leto. Blind. Really?! Dude, you’re supposed to be the richest mofo in all of the universes. You’re cultivating people in giant plastic bags and then kill them off for fun while waxing lyrical about your god-like abilities – and you can’t even get a proper set of eyes for yourself?!
Late in the film Gosling encounters a bunch of underground replicants in a gutter who tell him he’s part of a rebellion. By that time I half expected Morpheus to come forward and hand out blue and red pills. That would also have added some colour to an almost all-white cast that doesn’t shy back from the “wired black guy as weirdly talking dealer” trope.
I could go on. But I’d rather end this rant on a positive note. The beginning of the movie felt like proper serious Blade Runner, with Dave Bautista bringing gravity and showing he should be in bigger roles. Robin Wright is always great. And Harrison Ford simply steals the movie – when he finally turns up, it shows how one-note Ryan Gosling really is.
So, these were some of my issues with Blade Runner 2049. I didn’t expect much and got what I expected. Let me know what you think – I’ll leave the comments open for now.