TV Party Tonight! #42

TV Party Tonight! #42

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Blade Runner 2049 [4K/Blu Ray combo]

Is sci-fi making a comeback? It sure seems like it. Or at least it seems like it’s becoming more mainstream. This year alone saw the return of Star Trek, a comedy spinoff series, the success of Black Mirror and the Handmaid’s Tale (sure, that’s more speculative fiction) and even the high profile movie Valerian (which did bomb, rightfully). Whatever is causing this new interest in sci-fi is still uncertain (perhaps it’s the feeling that we’re in end times) but anything that’s stimulating such imagination is welcome in my book. Of course another big hit for sci-fi this year was Blade Runner 2049, and anyone who has seen it can tell you why they like it, even if they didn’t.


But first let’s talk about the original Blade Runner. Its impact on modern cinema and sci-fi is undeniable, which is a surprising considering how little happens in it. There is an agent (or Blade Runner) assigned with completing a task, and he completes it. But Blade Runner is beloved because it does so much more. You see, the trick to a good sci fi movie is to have a simple plot and let the world it takes place in be as much of a character as the cast. If the world your story takes place in is compelling and fascinating, then you’re going to get your audience’s attention.


It’s this idea that Blade Runner 2049 adheres to and does so well. The plot in Blade Runner 2049 is surprisingly simple, but it’s the characters, the world, the technology, the social structure, and the significance of these elements that make it such a mesmerizing movie. The world that director Villeneuve created is massive, full of incredible sets, loaded with detail, undoubtedly futuristic and yet complete familiar. Right here in front of us we have a completely plausible direction for where we’re headed as a society.


I’m sure by now you can guess that, to me, the plot of Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t really matter, even though it’s interesting in its own right. What this movie does for over 3 hours (those prologues are highly recommended to complete the experience) is relentlessly build its world. It’s not just what you’re seeing, it’s what it implies. Blade Runner 2049 leaves you asking questions and makes you wonder if you just took a brief trip into the future.


Some observations:

  • It shouldn’t be too surprising how much Blade Runner 2049’s story is like the original since they were both written by Hampton Fancher who really hasn’t written much else.

  • Director Villeneuve sticks strictly to practical effects and sets and not green screen to create this world. Also, the technology is purposely much more tactile and analog than digital. A total throwback to the original Blade Runner.

  • While the original movie had London as the inspiration for Los Angeles (Ridley Scott being British), Villeneuve stuck to his hometown of Montreal for the architecture. Stick to what you know, I guess.

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