Tag Archives: Blade Runner

Blade Runner 2049: A Masterpiece

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

WARNING: This discussion will contain MAJOR spoilers for the film, so if you haven’t seen it yet, STOP NOW!!

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When they announced that a sequel to Blade Runner was really coming, I was NOT a fan of the idea, I admit it. To me, it was one of those films that couldn’t have a sequel without ruining the concept. So even though the previews looked good, I still approached this film with a high degree of skepticism. There was a long checklist of things this film HAD to do in order for me to walk out of the theater happy. And now that I’ve finally seen Blade Runner 2049, I have to say, it didn’t just fulfill that list…it SURPASSED it.

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I truly didn’t believe that the look, feel and SOUND of the the original Blade Runner could ever be duplicated and I was dead wrong. From the very beginning, I felt a connection back to the original film that only grew stronger as the story continued. And what a story! 30 years after the original film, there are more replicants than ever, but now they all obey (according to Niander Wallace, who has taken over the defunct Tyrell Corporation). Agent K (Ryan Gosling) is one of these replicants who now works as a blade runner, hunting down the last of the Nexus 8 models. His world is turned upside down though when he discovers evidence that one of the Nexus 8 replicants died in childbirth. According to everything known about replicants…this shouldn’t be even remotely possible. As Madame (Robin Wright) points out, if there’s truly no difference between replicant and human, there will either be a war, or an outright slaughter. She orders K to find the child and ‘retire’ it.

Right away my gut instinct said that the dead replicant was Rachael, I’m not sure why but it made perfect sense in my head. Then, when K traveled to Wallace headquarters (with a great look at the old Tyrell pyramid building) and Luv played an old ‘crystal’ recording of Rachael being given the Voigt-Kampff test by Deckard (using audio from the original film), that was the moment I fell in love with the film (not to mention the fact that they confirmed to anyone who has seen the original film that this was Rachael and that she DID have a child by Deckard). I was not expecting such an explicit tie-in to the original film, in fact, I wasn’t expecting ANY type of tie-in.

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The search for the child continues, and as the story goes on, all the evidence seems to point to the notion that K is actually this missing child. K has strong memories of hiding a toy wooden horse as a child; when he later finds this same horse, it seems to confirm that his memory was real, and not implanted. I was totally okay with this idea, until a wrench was thrown into the works. After encountering Deckard, and unwittingly leading Luv (who is also Wallace’s enforcer) straight to him, K is rescued by an underground resistance movement made up of replicants, who believe that they are equal to humans, and the existence of Rachael’s child proves it. K meets Freysa, who helped deliver that child and confirms…it was a healthy baby girl. Despite all the evidence, K can’t be that child, even though he clearly wants to be. I actually felt a glimmer of disappointment for a moment, but it didn’t last. In hindsight, it would’ve been too simple for K to be the missing child, too obvious as it were. And if you’re in the world of Blade Runner, nothing is THAT simple. Actually, once it was confirmed Rachael had a girl, for a little while I thought it might be Luv. After all, if you look closely at her, she does resemble Racheal a bit. But then I remembered she’s definitely a replicant, so it couldn’t be her either.

Then came the scene that made my jaw smack the floor. Deckard is brought before Wallace (who is played in a semi-creepy way by Jared Leto) who wants to know where the child is, or at the very least where the replicants who helped him and Rachael are. Wallace has prepared a special reward if Deckard helps him, a very special reward indeed. To my great shock, out of the shadows steps….Rachael. An exact duplicate of how she looked 30 years ago, gait, mannerisms and all. It shocked me in great part because Sean Young, who played Rachael in the original film had loudly and frequently said that she was not involved in this film in ANY way!! Now it turns out that this was a massive piece of misdirection, as Young WAS involved in directing her body double in how to act as Rachael. The character was resurrected in the same way as Princess Leia in Rogue One, only the results now are…perfect, absolutely perfect.

The identity of Deckard and Rachael’s daughter came as a bit of a shock, but it also made perfect sense. It turns out that the missing child is actually one of the best ‘memory designers’ in the world. She’s lived most of her life in a sterile chamber because of a ‘genetic disorder.’ It’s brilliant: what better way to hide the child of a replicant and a human in plain sight by fudging the records and making it appear that she has a compromised immune system and therefore must live apart from human contact? The story ends with Deckard coming in to the room where she’s working, clearly overwhelmed to see his child for the very first time. And K? He finally succumbs to the wounds he received in his final confrontation with Luv, but he is visibly at peace as well. At the moment he lays back in the snow, you can hear the iconic “Tears in Rain” theme from the original Blade Runner.

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And speaking of the music, I had my doubts considering Vangelis isn’t involved but WOW! Musically it felt very much like the original film, with long synth tones and other motifs. At times the music felt like a sound cloud (which is a good thing), building and pulsating around the action (a good example is the end of the fight between Luv and K, when the dying Luv is looking up through the water).

More thoughts on Blade Runner 2049:

-I LOVE the look of Los Angeles, it has that same gritty, futuristic yet falling apart feel of the original. And seeing the former Tyrell pyramid got a little giggle out of me (I was wondering if we would see that building again). Also the abandoned Las Vegas looked amazing as well.

-I found it fascinating that K had a holographic girlfriend (Joi). Even though she’s programmed to “say everything you want to hear”, you get the sense that her love for K is real. Also the scene where she “syncs” with a call girl to give K a night with a “real woman” was…fascinating, to say the very least.

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-There are two ways the story can go from here. First, this could be the end and I would be perfectly happy with that. All my questions regarding the end of the original film have been answered to my satisfaction, we know that Deckard has found his daughter, the story could be over. But then again, there are hooks that could lead into another film, as we’ve also been told that a revolution is coming from the enslaved replicants. A sequel could cover this as well as the ongoing adventure of Deckard with his daughter.

My final words on the film are: Blade Runner 2049 is an amazing film, a masterpiece. Don’t let any doubts about this being a sequel to Blade Runner hold you back from going to see it. This is easily the best film I’ve seen this year.

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Blade Runner (1982): A misunderstood gem

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Blade Runner (1982): A misunderstood gem

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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On June 25th, 1982, the world was introduced to the dystopian world of Blade Runner. Starring Harrison Ford and set in the “distant future” of 2019 Los Angeles, the film tells the story of Rick Deckard, a “blade runner” whose job is to hunt down and “retire” replicants (i.e. robots that look identical to humans in appearance) that have illegally returned to Earth from the distant space colonies.

For many years, the only thing I knew about Blade Runner was: don’t watch it, it’s a mess, great concept, bad execution, etc. And then the “Final Cut” of the film was released in 2007, and suddenly (as far as I could perceive), everyone’s opinion of the film began to change. It went from being an awkward cult film to one of the greatest films ever. Or maybe it was always that way and I didn’t notice until now. I think it’s been about two years since I saw Blade Runner the first time (my first copy was the “Director’s Cut”, I only got the “Final Cut” last year) and I remember sitting slack-jawed the entire time.

Really, what I feel the film boils down to is: what makes a human a “human” ? That is, what separates organic human beings like you or I from the “artificial” replicants like Roy Batty, Pris or Zhara, who resemble human beings in every way except they possess unnatural physical abilities (like extreme strength or the ability to touch hot liquids without being burned). It’s clear that the replicants have their own loves, wants and desires, just like humans do. In fact, the replicants appear to want life MORE than regular humans because replicants are only given a four-year lifespan before they die.

Deckard initially regards hunting down this particular group of replicants as a routine job, until he meets Rachael that is. Initially presented as the niece of Mr. Tyrell, the inventor of the replicants, Deckard is stunned to discover that SHE is a replicant also (and what’s more, she doesn’t know it). Over the course of the film, Deckard finds himself increasingly drawn to the enigmatic Rachael, until he finally realizes that, replicant or not, he’s in love with her and he’ll protect her at all costs.

I won’t go any further into the plot of the film, because I really feel that if you go in knowing what’s going to happen, you won’t enjoy the film as much (but seriously, everyone should see Blade Runner at least once in their lives, just don’t watch the theatrical cut with the voice-over narration). There is, however, one point I will address, and that is the question as to whether or not Deckard is a replicant himself. It seems like a question out of left field, because, why should that even be a question? Here’s the thing about the world of Blade Runner: all replicants are implanted with false memories so that when they wake up, they believe that they are regular people, with a past, loved ones, old friends, etc. By the time they figure out otherwise (and not all do), the four year life-span is up and they’re dead. Knowing this, it is distinctly possible that everyone we see on the screen is a programmed replicant, living their daily lives and not knowing that they’re artificial beings grown in a series of factories. And if you say “that’s ridiculous”, keep in mind that Rachael lived quite a long time believing that she was human until Deckard told her the truth.

Despite anything Ridley Scott has said in the years after Blade Runner was released, I believe that the question is never truly resolved one way or another. Deckard might be a replicant, he might be human too. As the one police man tells him, “It’s a pity she won’t live, but then again who does?” I take that to mean that, replicant or human, we’re all going to die some day anyhow, so why not live life to the fullest while we’re still here?

I know that the sequel to Blade Runner is being worked on right now, it might even be filming for all I know, and I’m not happy about it at all. Blade Runner was NOT designed to have a sequel, and I believe that creating one ruins the integrity of the original story.

Have you seen Blade Runner? What do you think of it, if you have seen it? Are you excited (nor not) about the sequel?

*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Studios

see also:

Blade Runner 2049: A Masterpiece

Thinking about Blade Runner 2049

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