Back Row Reflections – Blade Runner 2049

The following article contains minor spoilers for the movie “Blade Runner 2049”.
You have been warned.

The day I’m writing this is the day I saw both the original Blade Runner (Director’s Cut) and the subject of this article, the 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049. As such my thoughts are gut/initial reactions to both, so keep that in mind, please. That said, this will primarily be my thoughts on certain aspects of the sequel. Though there are some thoughts on the original that I’ll be bringing up when they’re relevant.
With that preamble out of the way, let’s get to it.

(Final note: Occasionally I’ll simply refer to the sequel as “2049” for short)

Blade Runner 2049 is a movie I’m surprised actually managed to turn out the way it did. This, a sequel to a neo-noir sci-fi movie from the early eighties that actually manages to keep the spirit of the original intact. Logic dictates this should’ve been an action-filled mess, or generally have just missed the point of the original entirely.

I would assume the involvement of Ridley Scott (who I was surprised to learn was just an executive producer, not the director for this) helped with that. And the safe assumption the director, Denis Villeneuve, was committed to keeping the tone in line with the original. Also helps that one of the original writers was on board. Generally speaking, the stars seemed to align in this specific case, and the movie is all the better for it.

The main talking point I have is something I might as well get out of the way now, and is a nice segue from the point I just made. 2049 has several moments where it looks like it could turn into an action-movie out of nowhere. But it doesn’t. Sure, there are some action scenes, but they’re very subdued and brief. The most “action-movie” thing that happens (apart from a few, very brief fight scenes) is when the character “Luv” and some lackeys come to kidnap Deckard.

They blow a section or two out of the side of the building Deckard & K are in, which knocks them (and Deckard’s dog) back as a result. From memory that was the only explosion in the movie, and even then, it was a fairly small one. Especially given the size of the building being hit. This was one of few key instances where I expected the movie to devolve into a typical action set piece…and (thankfully) that never happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I like big action set pieces as much as the next person. When they actually belong in the movie in question. Blade Runner & 2049 are not action movies, and they never really try to be. While I’m not sure how much this made Blade Runner stand out back in the early eighties (given I wasn’t born yet), I know for sure it makes 2049 stand out among the movies of today.

Of the few sci-fi/sci-fi-related movies I have seen (and one yet to be released) this year, 2049 stands out like a sore thumb in the best way possible. I have a feeling Hollywood thinks this kind of movie can’t be made anymore, or can’t make money. Hopefully the fact that 2049 has already made its budget back proves them wrong. Though at the same time, I hope it doesn’t make them try to milk the franchise dry. Given rumblings of sequels to 2049 I won’t hold my breath though.

Tangent aside, I’ll now end on my thoughts comparing the original to the sequel. Straight to the point, I actually like 2049 more than the original. While I will concede I may have to give Blade Runner a proper watch later on (and also watch The Final Cut, as I’ve only seen the Director’s Cut), there’s just something missing from it that I feel 2049 actually has. And while I can’t pin-point too much, there is one major factor 2049 has over the original. Time. 2049 has a run time of almost three hours. Blade runner, no matter which version you’re watching, falls short of two hours.

While this might seem like an odd thing to bring up as a flaw of the original, I really do believe a lack of time is what hinders it slightly in comparison to 2049. 2049 has plenty of time to set up the plot and characters involved, especially the main character K. Blade Runner has some characters that you could honestly cut out entirely and it feels like you ultimately wouldn’t lose much. At least from a story perspective.

Whether it was thought a two-and-a-half-hour movie of this nature wouldn’t sell in 1982, or Ridley Scott just envisioned it as being as long as it was, I don’t know for sure. But again, I feel an extra half hour could’ve been added, which could’ve allowed for certain aspects to be expanded upon. Oh, also, I feel 2049 has a better/more fulfilling ending than Blade Runner. Sue me.

All-in-all I enjoyed the absolute hell out of Blade Runner 2049. And while I am very sceptical about any potential sequels that may happen in the future, I feel the future is bright for this franchise so long as the team behind 2049 is kept around to make sure it’s handled correctly.

Ten Movies And/Or Film Franchises I Have Never Seen

A few times in my life I have had a conversation that basically went like this (granted said example is an exaggeration).

Someone: Oh hey this reminds me of *insert movie here*
Me: Oh…I haven’t seen that movie.
Someone: WHAT? REALLY?
Me: ……yeah
Someone: WHY?
Me: I don’t know, just haven’t bothered to yet.

In some cases it can be explained away by age difference, but there have been plenty of times where people my age have seen PLENTY of movies I know exist, but have never actually seen. As such, I figured I would make a list of some of the movies and/or franchises I have yet to see as of writing this article. I may do more lists like this in the future, but I figure ten is enough for now. I would also like to point out that this is mainly going by movies/franchises that the vast majority have seen, so lesser-known/cult-status movies probably won’t show up here.

Mission: Impossible Franchise
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The first of three action franchises I’m going to bring up, and I must say I have absolutely no idea what this film series is about. All I honestly know about these movies is Tom Cruise is in them, and one of the movies had a thing where two guys jump at each other on motorbikes, and the motorbikes explode or something like that…that is honestly all I’ve got. I’m not kidding. I honestly know nothing else about this franchise and I refuse to look it up to give a synopsis, because that’s the beauty of the thing. Considering I do know this franchise exists, yet know next to nothing about it, is actually quite amazing. That reminds me, I’ve also only seen three movies that actually have Tom Cruise in them, and that’s without even trying. Weird.

4/5’s Of The Die Hard Franchise

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Ok. This one has Bruce Willis in it and he’s all “Yippee ki-yay mother fucker!” and stuff. And his character’s name is John McClane. Yeah, again that’s about all I know, but in this case I have seen ONE of the five movies. In a way I’m probably cheating, but the one I have seen is Live Free Or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0, so I think this still counts in that I haven’t seen the three everyone actually seem to like (and “A Good Day To Die Hard”). Hell, I only ever saw the fourth one because it came on TV once and my dad was watching it, so I decided to give it a shot. The thing that strikes me as odd is, as well known as these movies are, I have never once had someone tell me I NEED to watch them. Ok actually maybe ONCE that happened, but still. Regardless I’ve honestly never felt compelled to watch the first three movies, or the fifth, so I’m not sure if I ever will watch them.

Lethal Weapon Franchise

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Stars Mel Gibson & Danny Glover. Action movies. Yeah wow, I have no idea what the hell these movies are about. Hell, I had to look it up to remember Danny Glover was in the movies. Accidentally found out it’s a cop duo series, but I didn’t bother to read the plot synopsis for any of the movies. I’d honestly rather go in blind at this point if I ever watch these movies. How did I first find out about Lethal Weapon I hear you ask? Well that’s easy, there is/was a Lethal Weapon mini-rollercoaster at an Australian Theme Park called Warner Bros. Movie World. Yep. Had no knowledge of the movies as a kid, so that one ride being named after Lethal Weapon is where I first heard about it. Never got to ride it though, not that I’d have wanted to.

Star Trek Film Franchise

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Funny thing about this? I’ve only ever watched one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so you could basically say I’ve pretty much never watched Star Trek period, let alone the movies. Being a Star Wars fan has nothing to do with it by the way, I’ve just never been compelled to watch Star Trek for some reason, and therefore have yet to pay attention to the films. Also, that does include the new “everyone’s younger” movies too, not just the movies William Shatner & Patrick Stewart’s respective eras had.

2001: A Space Odyssey

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“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that Dave” “Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do”. That’s pretty much all I have off the top of my head. I know the basic plot somewhat, and I DID almost watch this the other week, but I missed it due to doing something else, so I am still yet to see it. That’s honestly it. Aside from HAL-9000, I have no idea of the full names for characters or anything else like that. Hell, I don’t even know what actors are in it! And that’s worse than anything I’ve brought up so far!

Citizen Kane

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I know absolutely nothing about this movie aside from the quote “Rosebud” and the fact it’s in black and white. That is seriously all I know. I have no idea what the plot is, I can’t remember if I know any of the actors in it, and have no idea what decade this was even made in! Honestly I think that’s about all I need to say.

Indiana Jones Franchise

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Now, I count the entire series instead of “all of them except Raiders” because I barely remember anything from Raiders, as I think I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the movie, and not the whole thing from start to finish. As far as I’m concerned that means I’m not cheating, so there you have it. I have seen Spice World, Master Of Disguise and at least one of the Care Bears movies…but I’ve never seen any of the Indiana Jones movies the entire way through or at all. Granted, depending on who you ask, not having seen Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is probably a good thing.

Donnie Darko

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Just what the hell is this movie about anyway? I can’t remember any of the actors that are in it and the only quote I know is “Go suck a fuck” and the titular Donnie’s response asking how one does so. I actually know how to suck a fuck, but I’d rather not explain it to keep this article “Safe For Work”. Let’s just say if you watch enough porn, you’ll figure out how.

The Evil Dead

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I didn’t add “franchise” because I have seen Army Of Darkness, and Evil Dead 1 & 2 are basically the same movie from what I’ve been told. I’ve wanted to watch at least the first Evil Dead for quite a while, but for some reason I’ve just never gotten around to watching it. Not much of an excuse I know, but hey, it’s the only excuse I’ve got it seems.

Ghostbusters Franchise

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Well, if none of the previous ones made you hate me, this just might. Sure there’s only two movies so far, but I have yet to see the second one at all, and I’m fairly sure I’ve never seen the first one the entire way through, only seeing bits and pieces when I was little. I honestly have no excuse for not having watched these movies other than “I just haven’t watched them yet”. Considering the hype behind them I’m almost as shocked as you are that I haven’t seen them, but the fact remains that I simply haven’t yet.

And that’s all for now. Is there any well-known movies/film franchises you’ve never seen that surprises people? If so, is it a case of not finding them appealing, or just not getting around to seeing them yet?

I’ll be back soon-ish with another article. But for that one, it’ll be a case of me trying to get you to watch something I’m fairly sure you haven’t seen, instead of talking about things I haven’t seen. See you all next time.