Blade Runner 2049 (2017) (Blu-ray film review).

I watched the new ‘Blade Runner 2049’ film with no expectations, having successfully avoided all the hype. It might be 30 years after the events of the 1982 first film, but it has none of its panache of the original. It’s has too much of a tendency of an arthouse film. On first watching, it has more style than substance and having to wait for the last hour for the plot to make sense and draw things together. There is also far too much internalising than dialogue to explain what is going on. If there was ever a desire to make a ‘director’s cut’ of the movie, I think an hour and a side-plot could be shaved out without anyone missing anything.

The current Blade Runner is KD6-3.7 (actor Ryan Gosling). He’s a replicant and doesn’t rely on the Voigt-Kampff test to determine who are other replicants. The Tyrell Corporation is bankrupt and gone, bought out by the Wallace Corporation. All K’s doing is seeking old Nexus-6 replicants with unlimited life-spans and ‘retiring’ with extreme prejudice.

Unlike Roy Batty, none of these replicants are doing anything but keeping their heads down so I fail to see what their threat is. The new replicants, which K belongs to, are designed to obey but seem to have the same failings as normal humans. They sleep, eat, drink and breathe. You would think they would use normal humans than the expense of making replicants. Then again, the Earth’s atmosphere is now heavily polluted, which makes me wonder are there any humans left?

The discovery of the replicant Rachael’s skeleton and the fact that she had been pregnant has K ordered to hunt down the child and kill her or maybe him.

Somewhere along the line, K gets wind of former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (actor Harrison Ford) and wants to take him in. Except teams have homed in on his signal and he isn’t invited, rather forcibly. He meets other replicants who explain that Deckard and Rachael (actress Sean Young briefly here) had a daughter who was hidden after she died. K then decides to rescue Deckard and the rest you can watch for yourself.

The set that can be most admired is Deckard’s home, which looks like it’s in Las Vegas or what’s left of it. Even so, you still have to wonder why Deckard would hang around for 30 years twiddling his thumbs, apparently doing nothing, more so after Rachael died. The way he lays into K shows he must be keeping fit though, even if there doesn’t appear to have a supply of fresh oxygen. Maybe it’s in the whisky. He has more than enough bottles of that.

Whereas I could watch the original ‘Blade Runner’ forever more, this is one film I doubt if I’d survive too many sittings. It does make me wonder if people will watch, have a doze in the first hour and just be entertained in the last hour when Harrison Ford makes his appearance.

According to the bumf, there is a variety of extras on the DVD and Blu-ray versions. The advance disk I have only has three, so I’ll focus on these.

For this disk, there is 22 minutes devoted to ‘Designing The World Of Blade Runner 2049’ with the most significant detail being Syd Mead designed the Las Vega set.

What is more worrying is I found out more about the film from the second set of extras. ‘Prologues’ looks at three significant events leading up to the present film. For 2022, in animation, the revolt of the Nexus 6 replicants. For 2036, Niander Wallace (actor Jated Leto), whose corporation now taken over the defunct Tyrell Corporation, demonstrates the more slave-like Nexus 8s. A shame there is no explanation about his own eyes. For 2048, it explains why Sapper Morton (actor Dave Baulista doing a magnificent turn) went rogue and should have been shown in the final film. The 6 part 11 minute ‘Blade Runner 101’ also gives background to the current reality.

Looking this film a second time, it still drove him to me that these replicants do everything normal humans can do. They eat, drink, smoke, grow beards, sleep show affection and even hate, although the current Nexus-8s have to obey humans unconditionally to death. No wonder models like K are used for hunting earlier Nexus replicants since they aren’t prohibited from attacking them. They are so close to being human you would think why bother to create them any more, just use the old human model.

A little thought here. K cannot attack Deckard who tries to punch the crap out of him which means the latter has to be human. At long last, an established result.

GF Willmetts

January 2018

(region B blu-ray: pub: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 164 minute film 1 blu-ray disk with extras. Price: £14.99 (UK). ASIN: B0765YMKKZ)

cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hocks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto and Sean Young

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

One thought on “Blade Runner 2049 (2017) (Blu-ray film review).

  • I agree with Mr Willmetts’ reservations about the film. I found the movie slow to the point of tedium, as did the other four people with whom I watched it. I agree that the film could have been edited down as much as an hour. It is not a positive comment to note that the extras on the DVD/Blue Ray helped make sense of the movie. I had only modest expectations of this sequel. They were not met. I thoroughly enjoyed the original. This sequel is not a worthy successor.


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