Blade Runner 2

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The Swollen Goiter of God
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Re: Blade Runner 2

Post by The Swollen Goiter of God » October 12th, 2017, 6:56 pm

(Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, Logan, Shane, and Wonder Woman spoilers follow. I'll bump the Wonder Woman line down to the very bottom, since it's more about Robin Wright than it is about developing my ideas on Blade Runner 2049.)

Jubbers and I watched it earlier in the week. I liked it. She didn't.

I'll do my best to cover both my thoughts and Jubbers's thoughts, but she may want to clarify or correct any of what I say about her thoughts.

I locked in early on and never really noticed the passage of time. If I hadn't known the runtime going in, I doubt I would have been able to venture a confident guess. Jubbers, on the other hand, felt it was paced too slowly. She also thought that the soundtrack was distracting and droning and that the villains weren't engaging. She feels a movie lives and dies by its villains. She also said she felt other movies had explored similar themes in more thought-provoking ways. (Granted, this is probably true of most movies. It's certainly true of the thing I'm writing at the moment. I'd argue that this is no reason for me to stop writing, but I'm sure some future reader will wonder why I even bothered.) She offered AI as one example. She might have given more examples, and she might have gone into greater depth about the example she gave, but she was driving a rental car while we were talking about the movie. She was half-terrified of hurting the rental car, so she didn't really elaborate.

I liked Wright's character. I like that she had an unspoken love for K/Joe. (Speaking of the main character's name, it's pretty obvious at least one of the people responsible for the script is a big Kafka fan.) She made it so that he could get away, and she essentially died for him. (Joi did, too. K, you ol' charmer, women are dyin' for you right and left.)

I took care to say the Wright character "had an unspoken love for" K instead of saying she "was in love with" K, since there's some uncertainty, for me, where intent is concerned. She seemed to have some real affection for K, whatever the case--and despite her foreknowledge of his being a Replicant. This affection was hinted at, I thought, when she asked K/Joe what would happen (between them) if she finished the bottle of booze in his apartment. It's also probably significant that she actually went to his apartment.

(That's how I read the scene, at least. Master Ulic, on the other hand, had this to say: "It’s interesting how differently we read that scene with the bottle, though. I actually felt uncomfortable seeing that. She was in a position of power and seemed to be hinting that she could force herself on him." Oddly enough, his reading also works for me. There were a number of scenes like that in the movie. I think that's one of its strengths.)

I liked the emotional/romantic removals. The chief had feelings for someone she knew to be a Replicant. Said Replicant was an example of physical AI with strong feelings for an example of non-physical AI. All that goes with the theme of the continued gray area (by "continued," I mean "carried over from Blade Runner") where consciousness/soul is concerned. (With Joi and K, they're both AI. It's just that one's corporeal and one is not. Either should be as capable of love as the other, theoretically. I suppose one could argue that Joi was just doing what she was programmed to do, but I think it's significant that she pleaded for K when he was unconscious/incapacitated. She would have survived if she hadn't switched on to try to save him. By doing so, she also openly rebelled against Wallace/her creator.)

I also liked the reversal from the first movie where dealing with one's own "reality" is concerned. With the original, you have AI being forced to deal, emotionally, with the possibility of not having been born. With Villeneuve's movie, you have someone who's already reconciled himself to the idea of being a creation implanted with false memories having to deal, emotionally, with the possibility of having lived a full life and having genuine memories.

Brandi said she thought some of the shots were beautiful but that the camera lingered too long. In terms of shots lingering too long, she mentioned how long it took for K/Joe to go uncover the carved horse. "We get it!" she said.

It worked for me, but I could see where it could frustrate someone. I thought that the lingering in this specific case did a good job of communicating K's terror at the idea of confirming that the memory was real. I like the idea of him really, really not wanting to have to acknowledge the possibility that he was, as his girlfriend kept putting it, "a real boy." (This Pinocchio reference probably only makes Jubbers's AI comparison stand out for her all the more.)

I also like K/Joe having to turn right around and deal with the revelation that the memory wasn't his, though I sort of suspected that would be the case, since I caught characters using careful wordings and made note of what I assumed to be foreshadowing. (They essentially pulled a TDKR kid gender swap on us. Maybe the fact that the two movies are connected by a composer also keyed me into this.)

Brandi's biggest complaint, by far, was the booming and droning score. It was incredibly loud in our theater, and in terms of the staccato, pulsing droning, that just seems to be what we're going to get from Zimmer from here on out. The score was occasionally distracting for me, too. I felt it worked best when it quoted the Vangelis--but the non-Vangelis beats felt enough of-a-piece with the original score that it worked all right for me, in the end. I remember nothing from it, at this point, that I don't also remember from the Vangelis score.

Speaking of the end, it felt more like they went with a Theatrical Release Scott end than a Final Cut Scott end. I think it might have been a stronger ending to have K/Joe tell Deckard to go meet his daughter, then just cut to black as Deckard closes the door. It's already understood that K/Joe is gonna Shane out on us, after all. I think it is, anyway. It didn't seem like they were trying to be ambiguous about it. It seemed, as with Shane, that they meant the viewer to understand that he was likely dead/dying. Even if they didn't mean this to be understood explicitly, it seemed they at least meant it to be understood, on a symbolic level, that his "era" was coming to an end--again, just like Shane. (Logan went above and beyond with the Shane references. Logan actually worked Shane footage into the movie. Now that I think about it, Logan and Blade Runner 2049 would probably be a good double bill.)

There was at least one area where the filmmakers were being consciously ambiguous: Deckard's human/Replicant status. It could be say they hinted strongly that Deckard was a Replicant, since he and his dog weren't wearing masks (one notes that many of the Wallace employees who came to intercept Deckard *were* wearing masks) in the supposed radioactive wasteland they were calling home. Plus, Wallace asked Deckard later on why Deckard hadn't considered the possibility that he and Rachael were made to fall in love--though that certainly could have been the Leto character messing with his head. (He could also just have been saying that even if Deckard were a human, he had been programmed--via societal norms, cues, and potential conscious conditioning--as though he were a Replicant.)

Then again, when K scanned the area for radiation, the readings came back "nominal." Was this nominal for humans, though, or nominal for Replicants? (Also, there's some wiggle room where the definition of "nominal," as it applies to radiation, is concerned. Nominal for a visitor and nominal for an inhabitant can be two very different things.) The bees could have been meant as a clue as to how radioactive the area was, maybe. (I feel like I remember reading an article years ago about how bees in the Chernobyl area only go where the radiation is at its lowest. This could just be me trying to force puzzle pieces.) Then again, who's to say the bees weren't also Replicants? I mean, like, where would they be getting pollen, anyway?

All in all, I thought it was a solid entry. I don't know that I'm ready to set it on the shelf with the all-time greats. I locked in with it, like I say above, enough not to notice the passage of time. (I've done this with movies I ended up hating, too. It's the movies that leave little to no impression on me that make me want to check the time.) It felt like a complete narrative. I get where Brandi's coming from with the "villains"--especially in comparison to the first movie. Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty is one of the most engaging and complex villains in cinema history, after all. (He's also probably less a villain than Tyrell is, depending on how you decide to look at things.) The henchwoman was the more noteworthy of the two we got, I guess. Wallace I could have taken or left.

It wasn't a necessary sequel. It had that going for it in some measure and against it in some measure. It expanded on some of the original's themes, but it was ultimately its own thing. I appreciated that.

One thought I just had:

*Were* Rachael's eyes green? I rewatched Blade Runner the night before I watched Blade Runner 2049, just so it would be fresh, and I remembered her eyes being brown. (I suppose the movie's not very brightly lit, so it could be hard to tell. I also own that I wasn't watching with an eye toward iris color. The only eye element that really stands out when watching is the occasional luminescence one catches in the Replicants' eyes.) If they were, indeed, brown, was Deckard just fucking with Wallace to pay him back for fucking with him? (There's definitely an element of "Fuck you!"/"You're no Tyrell!" to it. It's a clear taunt.) Was the movie suggesting something about memory in general/Deckard's memory, specifically?

It occurs to me that Robin Wright's been killed twice in two big budget movies this year.

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Re: Blade Runner 2

Post by Mango » October 16th, 2017, 5:09 pm

* SPOILERS ahead most likely *

I've been mulling this one over in my head for a bit. I left the theater in a good mood, but with a couple of points nagging at me. However the more I think about specific elements of this film the more it falls apart.I suppose one could say that it is very dreamlike in that at the moment you become very emotionally invested but once it's done you begin to see how silly it was.
Or not. I dunno.

I really liked the visuals. I don't think they will be considered 'groudbreaking' but they did a good job of feeling like the same world but realistically advanced. Also I found Batista and his little glasses adorable.
Joi was the real standout of the film to me. I got really invested in this character who, ultimately and likely the point of, doesn't exist. The point where Giant Holo Joi calls K 'Joe' is a nice 'screw you' moment and you can really feel the world fall away. It reminded me a bit of Sin City when Marv at the end of his rope confronts the Roark statue in the rain. A destruction of the character's world and a galvanization of purpose.
As an aside, in several shots Gosling actually reminded me a lot of a young Mickey Rourke, specifically from Angel Heart

On the negative side of things I seem to agree with Jubbers. The 'music' was much too loud and distorted to the point of incoherent noise. The worst bit was during the unwrapping of the horse; the music in that scene was pulsing into my brain all for a pointless reveal.
It was also annoyingly long. I like a deliberate pace, and I like when you can stare at a character's face and read what they are thinking about. That didn't happen here. So much was simple meandering and segments that felt meaningless. Also, Ryan Gosling has acting chops but here he just stares at the camera without apparent emotion. Even when he's supposed to be wildly off his baseline he still seems unaffected by the world around him.
Even the final fight scene felt prolonged. It feels like the camera cut back to a drowning Deckard at least 10 times. Add to that all the damage that K took, plus the damage in Vegas, both from Deckard and Luv, and the various other incidents. I lost a bit of concern, feeling that K was basically immortal.
Also, if you are gonna die anyways, give your coat to the old man from the desert that you have brought to the snow covered rooftop.

I have decided that this movie actually works better on it's own. If we bring the baggage from the first film along then once Deckard shows up it feels like a continuation of his story. K's sacrifice and journey for purpose fall by the wayside because all he served was a way to get Deckard back into the mix. K died so that GodDeckard could visit his child.
But without that baggage then we are not racing to find out what happened to the original characters but instead are uncovering a puzzle (a confusing and pointless one, but still) and if Deckard is just some old cop then it lends more weight to K's actions. He isn't fighting to save a hero, he's fighting so an old man can see his kid. And that's sweet.

Some random thoughts.
So the N6s had a four year lifespan. They rioted and trespassed on earth and caused all kinds of trouble. Later the N8s come along and no once cares how long they live? Why did they run then? Why are they hunted? By having an extended lifespan haven't they achieved the dream? I mean Replicants are now accepted (more or less) among the populace. This really felt like deflating the driving action of the original and its sequel at the same time.

Also, self replicating replicants only seem like a big deal to other replicants. I mean I can understand the need to repopulate your own people but from a legal standpoint wouldn't it just be two toasters having a third toaster? Just rewrite a law or something. Also, why does Leto...actually hold on...gonna give him his own paragraph.

So Leto right? Why is he blind, why does he have hover droids? Also, why not use standard "I'm Blind" contacts instead of contacts that look like replicant eye shine from the first movie. I went pretty far into the movie assuming he was a replicant and somehow a replicant had amassed wealth and power and wanted to 'free his people' or something. Instead, nope...just wants to make them more rapidly. But how is a multi month incubation process and let's say 12 years of growing faster than what he does? Sure they never say how long it takes, but it's can't be a 13 year average. also, if it takes so long maybe don't kill the newborns?

If Deckard left before the child was born how did the horse accumulate radiation from Vegas and then find it's way into the orphanage? Did Deckard just take a day trip and toss a horse at the only kid with hair?
Her 'adoption' is strange...who told her she was immune compromised? Surely some sort of freedom fighter cause a human would just say "Hey, you're a toaster"

Apropos of nothing, the most fun theory I've read was that Deckard's daughter was tossing her own memories into as many replicants as she could in hopes that one would actively seek out and find her parents. And then it worked.
The Swollen Goiter of God wrote:
October 12th, 2017, 6:56 pm
*Were* Rachael's eyes green? I rewatched Blade Runner the night before I watched Blade Runner 2049, just so it would be fresh, and I remembered her eyes being brown. (I suppose the movie's not very brightly lit, so it could be hard to tell. I also own that I wasn't watching with an eye toward iris color. The only eye element that really stands out when watching is the occasional luminescence one catches in the Replicants' eyes.) If they were, indeed, brown, was Deckard just fucking with Wallace to pay him back for fucking with him? (There's definitely an element of "Fuck you!"/"You're no Tyrell!" to it. It's a clear taunt.) Was the movie suggesting something about memory in general/Deckard's memory, specifically?
Her eyes were brown. But in the VK tests they were green. Apparently this was a fun little 'in joke', but beyond that there is no conformation that I have found. So was he lying or was he telling the truth? Is this question to be the next "Is Deckard a replicant?"
Also, is he? Does it matter? Was Leto lying? Probably, since the big blackout erased all data and I doubt Tyrell kept a memo in his desk that said "Hey, Deckard it a toaster and we made him to mate him. Peace out, I hope someone invents robot eyes."

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