Another week, another cranky movie review. Last Sunday, a friend and I went to see Blade Runner 2049. I didn’t have high expectations, but even so it was not a successful outing. We accidentally went to a 3-D viewing. Aside from having to wear stupid 3-D glasses instead of my usual ones, I had to endure noisy theater workers who seemed to be having a party right outside our door — a party complete with a small child screaming and running amok. At one point I actually went outside and asked them respectfully to tone it down. They did not. Bad conditions certainly colored my view of the movie, but I believe I can make a few reasonably objective comments.
Blade Runner 2049 DID capture something of the original movie’s feel, and will no doubt win Academy Awards, but Denis Villeneuve was so intent on outdoing Ridley Scott in the atmosphere stakes that he sacrificed everything else. Villeneuve paid too much homage to Scott, sometimes even borrowing lines from the first movie. This seemed a cheap bid to get Blade Runner (1982) fans on board.
The two hour and forty-four minute run-time coupled with the prevalence of extended shots and long, lugubrious silences made the new film drag.
Style cannot stand in for substance. In fact, aside from its distorted Christian overtones (miracle birth and sacrifice), it had nothing new to say at all. The “what makes a human, human?” question got asked and answered the same way as in the original.
I missed interesting characters like the 1982 movie’s J.F. Sebastian, the doll-maker,
or the replicant, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer).
Unlike Batty, the villain in Blade Runner 2049 had no redeeming qualities at all, and no motive other than obedience for anything she did. I couldn’t help but feel that the story had gone backwards, rather than forward.
Don’t bother to see it unless you’re (1) such a super fan of Blade Runner that you can’t stand the thought of missing it, or (2) need to hide in the dark for almost three hours.
Have a wonderful weekend! I’m off to serve lunch at my church’s Fall Bazaar.