Blade Runner 2049

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ponkine, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I enjoyed it while it was on, for the most part, but it's very easy to pick apart after the fact. While I watched it, I only found myself thinking on a few occasions "They should have cut that scene, or shortened it, etc." By contrast, with the Hobbit movies, I found myself thinking this every few minutes, for whatever that's worth. A far larger problem is that the overall plot is, as you say, kind of a mess.
     
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  2. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    A lot of your criticisms have been discussed supra, and perhaps BS is a bit strong, but whatever. I will say that "the point of the movie" could be an observation on prejudice, akin to racial, in that interpretation-are we the viewers "replicant haters" such that are a different being entirely, and that a potential replicant's journey is less valid than our own, a "real" human, of the race that created replicants ready-made for exploitation? Perhaps there is a different potential level, and I say potential because we don't know what Deckard is, at this point in the narrative, and the point may be not so much about what he is but rather why it's such a big deal either way-he's a human, even if replicant, he fell in love, he had a child, and he lost his wife to death and his child, not to mention 30 years or so of his life, to prejudice.
     
  3. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I'm going to restate what I've tried to articulate and then get on a four-hour journey to the annual mandatory conference. Some general once said it’s good war is so horrible or otherwise we would love it too much. Extreme levels of both the negative and the positive may somehow coexist. That’s the sensory conclusion I take from 2049: Lush and textured for the senses while depressing and sometimes downright horrible for the soul. Blade Runner was originally set in a dystopia, and 2049 is set at the very least in a “dystertopia.” But what is beneath that surface?

    Addressing the movies as a continuum, including different iterations of the first with subtle yet potentially significant differences, what is the take-away? As a prefatory matter, I am admittedly biased in favor the Blade Runner movies but feel that I can be objective. 2049 is flawed, but outside of The Bicycle Thief what film isn’t. When the replicant says “more human than humans,” I’ve cringed both times I’ve seen it. The resistance reveal in that scene is not great, remining me of a weak reveal scene in the PBS “Sherlock.” And, since K was located at the Institute in disarray, with no discernible link to his mission (as noted by his supervisor), won’t someone wonder just what was he doing there? If his body is located there, or his flyer had a tracking device in it or can be tracked, that would lead to a direct link with the daughter. Some other concerns articulated by viewers, such as if Deckard is a replicant then why is he of reduced durability, have been discussed and since we do not know everything felt by every person over the past 30-some odd years in the reality of the movie, we will need to make some cognitive leaps based on faith that reasons and explanations exist.

    Somewhat ironically in that context, some articulate that they could’ve shaved off time here and there and so many minutes per scene and had a “tighter” movie or such. I say “ironically” because some other viewers want more development on the back story of various characters, including the daughter. You really can’t have it both ways. And if the pace of the movie is not what you like, I respect that, but I also respect the pace the movie is what the creators of the work intended and intended so for a reason.

    To get to the heart of the matter, I think the narrative in the current Blade Runner universe is one of family, of hope, of deep and bittersweet sacrifice, and of self-identity and self-actualization. However, I think I see another strand in the tapestry, and forgive me if someone’s articulated this in full detail elsewhere. To know our history as humans is to be well-versed in exploitation. As Wallace pointed out the film, that’s what we’ve done, and were and are very good at it: On is individual, institutional, and societal levels, we are crap to each other. Even now, in Hollywood itself, we now see a fount of tales of individual exploitation of actresses and those hoping to be actresses, on the metaphorical director’s couch.

    Back to 2049: The first major release BR cut left golly-wow factor of that movie, beyond the imagery, as a contrast between a human who was less human than the non-humans, and, of course, that human’s journey. Then, in at least one well-known iteration of the original work, some “clues” indicate that Deckard is a replicant, albeit an under-powered one, or else those clues are arguably the most heavy-handed “red herrings” in the history of cinema. 2049 leaves unresolved whether Deckard originated from womb or from test tube. And therein, to rip off another source, lies the rub.

    Many viewers reject the idea of Deckard as a replicant, proposing that it cheapens the contrast between his lack of humanity as a human and the humanity of nonhumans. I resubmit a possible deeper level to this. If Deckard was a replicant, why does that make his individual journey in the earlier movies less important? Viewers (including myself) by that very analysis implicitly demarcate value of human and replicant, and more precisely on the value of their feelings, their beliefs, and their identity: In short, their journey as humans. Just because they come from a bag of plastic and not flesh, are they less valuable? Extrapolated, is a person from another country or another denomination in terms religion automatically viewed through a separate set of lenses, as would be humans from replicants?

    Years ago in high school, I had one teacher, Mr. Carter, who combined both technical mastery of his subject and a near infectious level of enthusiasm for it. Even if you do not agree with him or like the classes he taught, it was always a good class. One day we were discussing Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” and Mr. Carter submitted that the story addressed either incest or vampirism. I asked why not both (subconsciously recognizing the logical fallacy of the false dilemma-no, I give myself to much credit-I was being a smart you-know-what). The point is, were we to believe that Poe sat down and wrote the story thinking that either one or the other was true in the context of the story, or even to play a game with the reader, or he just create something which he thought intriguing, mystifying, and just a darn good read on all levels? Maybe it doesn’t matter; may art take on a life of its own and grow from what was originally intended or even visualized? Is that the case with 2049?

    Whether intended or not by the creators, does this narrative became one that at heart deals with internalized prejudice, prejudice occurring levels that we don’t even recognize at the time? I certainly did not consciously feel anything akin to a type of racism in the early 80s when I saw the original cut of Blade Runner released to audiences and thought, “Ahhh…I get it… He was less human than the replicants but now he’s getting to be more human,” or such. Of course, they are different, and they come from different places, but to a lesser extent we all do. Xenophobia unfortunately originates in valid survival of the group from less civilized(?) times: “See the stranger, fear the stranger, hate the stranger, kill the stranger”-if they were not one of you, they were a competitor for limited resources, they saw you as such, and they were a danger. Times have changed, but not enough in 2049. At the end of the day, at least for me, 2049 does what great science fiction does best, and that playing a deity, a higher level than that played by Wallace, to create a reality were potent and extremely relevant issues are examined, and this, along with the sacrifice and such mentioned, is what I take away-a more critical way of examining my instinctive beliefs.
     
  4. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Resident

    Wat is worse (like a CG ‘Peter Cushing’ turning up in Star Wars) is that it’s a distraction from what they were trying to ‘say’ with this scene... Why not a lookalike and some make-up?
     
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  5. jriems

    jriems Audio Ojiisan

    Heck, they could have just left her in silhouette like on her entrance into the room. It was completely obvious who she was. Might have been a more chilling/interesting/emotional scene that way instead of the audience getting distracted by the "almost her, but not" CGI factor.
     
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  6. bloode

    bloode Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Metro Chicago, IL
    I think what many people argue about regarding replicant-or-not Deckard is a feature now, for better or worse, of the Blade Runner discussion in general as it not only plays out in this thread but in another dedicated thread in this forum. What I find more interesting is that the focus of the sequel is truly the question on the part of a replicant Blade Runner of "Do I have a Soul?" This is a shift in that it makes the replicant Blade Runner question moot by answering the question outright for the immediate protagonist. In a way it says, "Alright, you have these questions about Deckard, well, we'll let you go on having those questions, but let's just start with a premise of a replicant BR outright and see where that takes us."

    It takes us to 'Soul is more than flesh and blood.' K/Joe lets Deckard see his daughter because he knows - for himself - that his choice reflects a greater purpose than any programming could have given him. He doesn't need to answer Deckard's question, "Why?" because 1) the filmmakers thought, "We're not giving this away, audience. Think it through for yourself." Thank you filmmakers; 2) K/Joe is giving Deckard his own silent treatment back at him the way Deckard made it hard for K/Joe when he wanted answers in Vegas; and 3) This is K/Joe's 'tears in the rain' moment. All of these moments will be lost in time. They can't be given away if you tried. Soul is both connection and solitude.

    Whatever else you want to obsess upon regarding the movie's execution seems pretty silly - fun, true, but silly - because the movie actually gives the audience of fans something true to the original intent of the first film: an answer to the question of what it means to be human - or, in this case, to have a soul. Is there a difference? Only semantically, I think. Whether it is made by Nature/God or by Human craft, a soul is a soul. Pretty deep. Flaws - if flaws there are - be damned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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  7. Veltri

    Veltri ♪♫♫♪♪♫♫♪

    Location:
    Canada
    I thought it needed to be clearly shown. It had to be more than a shadow to persuade Deckard to accept her. And "almost her but not her" fits with the story, as to Deckard it was not quite her.

    I also thought the recreation was very well done and the least of films to complain about as far as CGI goes.
     
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  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I guess they felt using the original character was a lot cooler.
     
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  9. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Well it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Cushing. I actually felt Rachael worked in this. No wall eyed crap.
     
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  10. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I'm thinking the message on that point is that we are free to make our own souls by our actions-presuming such a thing exists.
     
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  11. bloode

    bloode Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Metro Chicago, IL
    I agree completely. Ultimately, the message is about hope on an individual level.

    Agreed with point about movie and that it reflects reality.

    I think it was always intended. The term 'skinjob' used by Bryant very early in the first film sets the issue squarely central to the movie's heart, right? I mean, he's a classic 'old-school' cop whose opinions are right there in the open. His antagonism toward Deckard is our first chance to feel an alliance with Deckard's character - unless you were already there with, "Sushi - that's what my ex-wife called me. Cold Fish."
     
  12. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    I actually think the conversations prompted by the movie give something solid to recommend it on - even if, as a whole, it's kind of a weak story/film. Going back, I'm trying to remember the last time a movie opened up legitimate points of conversation that weren't... erm.. "auto-erotic" not to put too fine a point on it. :sigh:

    This has actually been quite a fun line of discussion to follow and, as I've said before, it's also nice that this is an easy arena in which to "agree to disagree." :D


    While I don't like the "Deckard as replicant" thing, I have to confess that his lack of strength fits if we're assuming that Tyrell wanted to make a replicant so perfect that it honestly couldn't tell what it was (or be found out by others). Creating something super powerful and tightly programmed you'd almost think to be easy. Showing restraint and creating something weak, breakable and fallible would be much more difficult to nail down. But I'm getting us into Jurassic Park territory here. :laugh:


    There's an issue in looking at the story as a tale about prejudice while also saying that Deckard is a replicant. First, I can't get over the parallel to the Dave Chappel skit about the KKK grand dragon who turned out to be a blind black man who thought he was white...

    The thing is, discovering and dismissing prejudice has weight when you aren't the victim of that prejudice. If it targets you, saying "Well, that's bad," is a pretty big "duh" moment.

    The emotional weight if we're going off of the, "Deckard is paid to kill replicants. Deckard recognizes the humanity in replicants. Deckard realizes killing them is wrong," interpretation of the first movie is diminished dramatically if Deckard is a replicant himself. He stands to gain by recognizing and rejecting that prejudice (and we'll skirt the "how can you be prejudiced against yourself" issue), whereas were he human, he'd be going against the grain by having that change of heart.

    Also, there's the muddy area of the book here. I half wonder if Ridley Scott only read the story up to a certain point and then his eyes glazed over, because he pulls odd things from it, but removes them from context.

    In the story, Deckard is arrested by police who tell him that he is the replicant and has been "retiring" humans this whole time, but it then turns out that the police station is a decoy staffed almost entirely with replicants who honestly believe the story they're telling (this is the guy who wrote the story behind Total Recall after all...). The point this whole thing raises is, "How would I know if there wasn't a measurable way to confirm that the people telling me this are replicants and that I'm not?" It's that weird gray area between flexible interpretation and full-on gaslighting and yes, it will hurt your head when you're reading the book!

    So yeah, it seems a bit like RS just read that and went, "Oh, Deckard being a replicant would be interesting. I don't understand all that other crap, but we can use this bit." In the context the story uses, the device works in an interesting way (how would a replicant know it was a replicant?), but in the movie, it's a lot more clumsy and undercuts the emotional resonance - at least for me.

    Additionally, the book has this whole subtext about reverence for and empathy with all life (which replicants are exempted from - but I can't recall the specific justification). That's why characters in both movies make such a big deal about animals - there aren't many of them left. This little bit of context would shore up the narrative of "why exempt replicants from your view of revered lifeforms?" but is strangely left out for other plot devices that I don't consider as effective.

    But then we're getting into the weeds about the book vs. the original movie. :doh:
     
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  13. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    Don't have time at this moment for an in-depth response BUT I am not even considering the book, for various reasons. For the material prior to your initiating discussion referencing that text, first if one discovers they are the recipient of any prejudice, and they have their "duh" moment, I don't follow that "dismissal" follows that "discovery." Second, presuming we don't know if Deckard is a replicant avoids the "valuation of discovery" or whatever. At least in this point in the narrative, it's not like we can say he has a certain skin color or goes to a certain church, or he hasn't claimed a particular nontraditional sexual orientation. It really doesn't matter, and if after he dies he's autopsied and confirmed either way, does that change his experience. Suppose someone thinks I an Jewish or gay or any other number of things, apart from skin color because I am phenotypically western Europe white, and won't hire me or get me fired or firebomb my house and terrorize my children for that reason, in error? The act is the act and the motive is the motive, and it is wrong and illogical-That's part of what I take from the BR cinematic universe at this time. It brings the analysis out of "hmmm, we can click this box for this person" and deal with the issue in an arguably artificial simplification.
     
  14. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    Fair point. I suppose it's more a question of whether or not he realizes it and the impact that would have on the emotional weight of what's happening.

    Also, it's not to say that being the victim of prejudice doesn't have weight, but it's a different type of weight from someone who isn't the victim of it recognizing the inherent evil of the thing. Does that make more sense?
     
  15. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I think it can-I can see your point while still holding to my extrapolation.
     
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  16. macdaddysinfo

    macdaddysinfo Forum Resident

    This was clear with the bump and fu skin job k got from the fellow officer in the station...
     
  17. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    FWIW, the limited run of the soundtrack on lp for sale or at least was last night
     
  18. bloode

    bloode Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Metro Chicago, IL
    It doesn't include the Sinatra and Elvis tracks, btw. With something like this, I'd wait for the hi-rez dl's if I wanted to step up from the CD. Sill waiting to get my discs as they should be shipped next week. I'm still pretty amazed at how full sounding the mp3's are.
     
  19. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I missed both limited disc runs, so I'll hopefully be happy with both the sound/pressing quality of the limited lps AND the packaging and such--into fanperson status on this, with no shame.
     
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  20. bloode

    bloode Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Metro Chicago, IL
    I have no doubt it will sound excellent. Can't wait for the review!
     
  21. peteham

    peteham Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simcoe County
    I was devastated because here was yet another film that was beautiful visually, but painfully thin on character and convoluted in story. In the end, I was bored, until the 'Matrix' style fight, then I got irritated. But again, beautiful to look at, but bloody empty.
     
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  22. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US

    I'd like it but limited funds would have be get 'Interstellar" on vinyl first.
     
  23. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

    It's not doing well in China at all which basically seals its box-office fate.

    Blade Runner 2049 Is A Flop in China Too

    Per Forbes, Blade Runner 2049 is projected to earn about 55-60 million RMB in its opening weekend in the country, which only amounts to about $8.3-9 million USD. For comparison’s sake, The Fate of the Furious and Kong: Skull Island were two of China’s biggest hits of the year with openings of $184 million and $71 million respectively. Blade Runner 2 couldn’t even beat domestic box office bomb Geostorm, which reportedly earned $9.5 million on its opening day alone.
     
  24. cwd

    cwd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    That is so sad, and I'm being serious, not sarcastic.
     
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  25. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    I just got back from seeing it. Loved it, loud music was the only down side
    Even the wife loved it and she doesn't normally go for movies like this
     
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