Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Contemplative actions, slow scenes, and quiet dialogue combined with a great farting soundtrack and lots of shots of empty space and vehicles racing through the air. There's a lot of style over substance happening here; and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but this film is so so long and maybe I just don't care about the Blade Runner universe that much to begin with, but it was a bit of a chore to get through this. I watched the first twenty minutes three or so weeks ago and only just finished up tonight.

Harrison Ford is better here, but Deckard is still a dickwad. Gosling is quite enjoyable to watch, I suppose, though he does do a lot of staring and slowly moving around. I find it very difficult to connect with these films mainly because the protagonists are so boring.

The women in this film are not treated so well. We have Joi, who exists to serve & love K until her soul is crushed, and even then her last words are solely for him; Robin Wright, who plays Joshi, is dispatched by Sylvia Hoeks' Luv, who is summarily rather horrifically strangled by K; there's the newly awoken replicant who is slit to death as soon as Leto has no more use for her; ditto newly replicated Rachael (who is important to this story only insofar as her womb); Stelline appears at first to help K on his quest, and later to be Deckard's daughter.

In short, all the women in this film do is serve the story arch of the male protagonist, and then, for the most part, die, sometimes horribly. They also talk to each other very little, and when they do it's often derisive, such as with Mariette's parting remark to Joi.

As with Ridley Scott's original bad effort, the cityscape here is labelled all over with Korean and Chinese characters, but there are no Asian actors to be seen. In fact, aside from Ana de Armas, Hiam Abbass, and Lennie James, pretty much everyone in this film is white.

The cinematography is vibrant, yes, and often beautiful, but somehow also empty. Every shot is framed to look good, but not to elicit emotion. A lot of the time all we get is a faraway sort of look at what's going on, which keeps the viewer detached. I think it makes for a less messy film, which I can see the appeal of... but sometimes messy is good, even needed.

I finished this film feeling not much better for having seen it. What was I supposed to learn from this? What message is it trying to send? I'd say this is another stab at the answer to that old "What does it mean to be alive" question, but I don't feel like I was forced to think about it all that much. I'm giving this a generous 5/10 for Gosling, de Armas, and other, lesser things such as the dialogue.

Also, a final hot take: Jared Leto can rot in Hell.

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