'Blade Runner 2049' retains original scope, delves into new frontiers

Pic Credit Zooey Grossman

Issues of control over human populations, a violent police state, addiction to technology, environmental disasters, and artificial intelligence are not just in world and national news today, but were part of the original story which was set a mere two years from now. The original Blade Runner is, among many other things, a weird fucking movie, and Blade Runner 2049 proudly upholds that tradition with all kind of odd little flourishes packed into every frame.

Unlike the optimistic "E.T". Blade Runner 2049 is wise enough to provide just enough new context on that mystery while opening a brand-new mystery of its own.

Harrison reprises his role as Rick Deckard while Ryan Gosling plays LAPD Officer K, a new Blade Runner who discovers a dark secret that could end humanity. Nevertheless, those who saw "Blade Runner" kept standing in front of the refrigerator thinking about it. Race and class are trigger points, K flinching from eye contact with humans, and yet a traitor to his own kind. He himself has doubts whether he is a replicant, haunted by what he thinks are false memories of his childhood.

The sequel is a sprawling sci-fi detective tale in which the mystery revolves around what makes us human.

A shared thread among the French-Canadian director's films are challenging if not probing social queries that are left unanswered (hence the challenge), as well as significant plot twists and flawed heroes on long roads to redemption, though they don't know it.

Villeneuve brings back the feeling of a streetwise cop looking to fulfill his duty as a Blade Runner, and enjoy the small amenities he could afford. Luckily, he returned just in time to comment on Ford's singing and dancing abilities, since we all wanted to know. When she began talking about their movie "Blade Runner 2049", Ford told Hammond to "cheer up" and that's when they started making more jokes and couldn't stop cracking up.

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Further comparisons support the $45-55 million range as Blade Runner is now neck-and-neck with The Martian ($54.3m opening) leading up to release and has overcome Gravity ($55.7m opening) in the last few days. There, Scott created something of a cyber-steam-punk L.A. landscape that has continued to influence generations of filmmakers and the culture at large. Stuck in the muck of blind servitude, K is a sauntering embodiment of ennui, as unfulfilled and unenthusiastic about being a "blade runner" as Ford's Deckard was. Even Scott reportedly said after seeing all the footage, "It's marvelous, but what the ... does it mean?"

During an assignment to track a rogue replicant, he comes across bones of a woman, who died 30 years ago. It dropped the narration and reinstated some critical scenes.

This Final Cut is where newcomers should be dropped in. That's the one Scott had complete editorial control over. That being said, Villeneuve does not forget that this is a follow-up. For better or worse, Scott's subsequent editing (beginning with his wholesale elimination of the narration itself) has studiously called the audience's attention away from Deckard and onto the eerie silences and dirty, empty spaces that populate his world.

It's best knowing as little as possible about the film as going in, so here are the very bare bones: following an unspecified yet devastating widespread environmental collapse, and a brief prohibition on the manufacturing of replicants, businessman Niander Wallace (a scenery-chewing and thankfully rarely seen Jared Leto) has bought out the Tyrell corporation from the first film and is using it to pump out thousands of "bioengineered humans" to exploit as slave labour.

"I pursued my instincts passionately, and he pursued his freedoms". Have you ever heard Ford guffaw? "The result is that people have continued to have an interest in it".

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