Blade Runner 2049 Review The Good, The Bad, and The Cancer

Blade Runner 2049 is the exotic cyberpunk sequel to the original Blade Runner.  Thank God it’s not a reboot.  Maybe Hollywood is learning their lesson- probably not though.

The Good:

The sounds are the most innovative aspect of the film.  The cities are loud- bizarrely loud.  However the sounds of the city are unfamiliar and unidentifiable.  We get the experience of going to large city for the first time and being surrounded by a perpetual cacophony.  The country side, by contrast is deathly silent.  This sounds simple, and it is, but the film takes a great risk in not filling every moment the characters aren’t talking with sweeping orchestral music.

The lights of the city shimmer and gleam, but everything is broken.  Everything is in ruins, and yet still beautiful.  It’s really a wonderful contrast that deserves much more attention then what it’s getting.  No two areas have the same atheistic.  There is no reusing of sets.  Every place has its own geometry and color scheme that tell you how to feel about it.  The visuals are simply wonderful.  They are so good that a simple tour of the settings of the movie using a slowly moving camera would be interesting to watch.

Ryan Gosling’s performance is masterful.  He is at once robotic and communicates a depth of emotion that is distinctly human.  The confusion over what is human and what is not is silently depicted in his face in every scene.

This is Jared Leto’s strongest performance.  He has really shown here why is one of the strongest up and comers in the movie industry.  I really look forward to him becoming more of a leading man in films.  His talent is too strong to waste.

If Ana de Armas does not become one of Hollywood’s leading ladies based on this movie, then Hollywood doesn’t deserve to exist.  She brought this character to life that is full of life and energy and yet in the end is merely as robotic as Gosling’s, but in a completely different and opposite way.

Honestly, every performance in this movie is superb.  Just go see it.

The Bad:

The pace of the movie can be slow at times.  The movie doesn’t advertise itself as a mystery or a drama, but as a fast paced sci-fi urban western.  The difference between expected pacing and actual pacing will no doubt be quite jarring for some audience members.

The Cancer:

This movie was surprisingly light on cancer for a modern big budget Hollywood movie.  The four things activated my Geiger counter.  A Somali actor is depicted as a high skilled technician.  Look up IQ by country for more information as to why this is a problem.  A woman is shown to be an incredibly dangerous assassin.  Considering the woman is a robot though explains why she is so proficient in killing and resistant to being killed.

There is the standard Hollywoodism of widespread bigotry and systemic discrimination perpetrated by white men.  This time of course the bigotry is directed at robots, or “skin jobs”.  One thing that is interesting here is that the bigotry is not entirely unearned.  The androids are known to go rogue from time to time, killing people in doing so, and even committed a catastrophic act of terrorism.  The main character of course is completely passive to this, making the viewer sympathetic to his plot.  Fairly standard.

Environmental alarmism grows on barnacles on every angle of 2049.  People are forced to eat larva for protein.  Wood has become the ultimate luxury item.  Living plants are rare.  Apparently the ecosystems of earth have failed, whatever that means.  This is also to be assumed with any dystopian sci-fi film.  Routine.

The Important Questions:

Was watching the movie a waste of time?  Absolutely not.  Best movie I’ve seen this year.

Would you watch it again?  I plan to.

Would you watch a sequel? I would see it at the midnight premier, but considering the box office numbers it’s unlikely.