Blade Runner 2049

Not so special K. A worthwhile sequel to a classic.

When the news that Blade Runner was getting a sequel, and that Ridley Scott was involved in it, I1 like many2 others3 reacted with scepticism and gnashing of teeth. Prometheus was still fresh in our memories. I heard about Villeneuve and Gosling is a great actor, but we are talking about a film that led to a rewrite of Neuromancer. It’s like making a sequel to The Bible.

Having watched it, I have to eat my hat. Not only they filled their big shoes, it stands alone as a great film even without the baggage that comes from characters named Deckard.

Several years after Deckard there are still rogue Replicants out there, and the Blade Runners to “retire” them. Tyrell went bankrupt but the company simply change hands to Wallace, another megalomaniac who wants tame Replicants to outnumber humans. A routine skin job leads to the discovery of remains of a Replicant with signs of having been pregnant. The cops want this information to be destroyed, Wallace wants the secret to unlock the Replicant population growth and the Replicants themselves just want to survive.

In a way, the central conflict is the opposite from the original. Here Replicants have no angst for not being humans, on the contrary, they revel on it. They are not humans nor they want to be, Replicants are proud of being better, something with all the upsides of humans without many of their failings.

The revelation the Replicants can reproduce can only classify them as a people, not just prettified slave labour at whims of the humans. I predict a sequel to this where there will be a role reversal. Replicants succeed in their rebellion and take over the world, while humans will go into hiding. Some humans will be chosen to hunt down and “retire” others of their own kind. Entire articles will be written analysing the film to decide if the protagonist is a Human or just a Replicant that thinks he is human.

Hans Zimmer tries to mimic Vangelis by using his songs in some parts, and by stealing liberally from his protégé Junkie XL. It’s not so bad that detracts from the film, but it’s not gonna win any awards.

What should win is the entire cinematography. There are so many fantastic images in every scene, from small details to sprawling cityscapes that include colours other than metallic grey and neon blue. As for the special effects, a scene comes to mind that involves K with his virtual significant other and a very much real prostitute that boggles the mind how it was technically achieved. Just like a magic show, sometimes you just gawk in awe at the illusions and rationality goes out of the window.

To drive the atmosphere home, most high tech features good old analogue controls, a virulent reaction to the skeuomorphic slabs of glass in most Apple-inspired sci-fi. All the product placement is thematically required, but it’s kinda funny to see Peugeot moving into the arms business with the kitted out Ford Crown Victoria meets MQ-9 Reaper.

It is only fitting that Jared Leto plays the god-complexed.

This is the film that confirmed that Dave Baustista is a serious actor now, that’s just the world we live in.

  1. My first reaction to the announcement

    I hope I’m still alive in 2049 to re-watch the Blade Runner sequel to laugh at, just like Johnny Mnemonic and its 8MB of hot RAM. I’d bet good money it’s gonna be crap.

  2. GameCat’s reaction

    That’s the number of available different cuts of the film.

  3. Lethe’s reaction

    Stolen comment re: Blade Runner 2049

    “Why 2049? Is that when Oscar Pistorius is released?”


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision