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.

KTHXDIE 21 – Return of the Nostalgia Critic

D talks about Channel Awesome’s announcement that the Nostalgia Critic is to return shortly.  An announcement like this the week he quits smoking is not wise.

KTHXDIE 18 – Reboots & Remakes

Jimmy D discusses the cinematic phenomenon of Hollywood franchise reboots and remakes. SPOILER: It’s not all Hollywood’s fault.

KTHXDIE 15 – Demo Reel Versus Nostalgia Critic

D weighs in on Channel Awesome’s controversial business move, and the fanboy fallout that resulted from it.

KTHXDIE 14 – DRM/Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management – the music industry’s attempt to control the way you listen to music – oh, yeah, D’s got stuff to say about this.

KTHXDIE 13 – Vampires & Werewolves

Jimmy D weighs in on the new-millennium fad surrounding vampires and werewolves.  NOTE:  If you find that your favorite incarnation wasn’t mentioned, consider yourself lucky he didn’t make you cry.  Keep your “corrections” to yourself.

Comic Review Show!: Saga Chapter 7

Samantha Maybe discusses Chapter 7 of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, enjoy!

Saga belongs to Image

Theme song by AlanahSees

Music used in this episode includes:
Laffy Taffies – Wreck it Ralph
Kodamas – Princess Mononoke Soundtrack
Sadness! Abenobashi Shopping Arcade – Magical Shoppping Arcade Abenobashi OST
One Minute to Win it – Wreck it Ralph
Kardusen – PG.lost
TARDIS – Doctor Who: Series 5

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head over to my channel at www.samanthamaybe.com and check out even more awesome stuff at www.thatruled.com

Thanks for watching!!!

KTHXDIE 11 – Hangovers

Usually, these are released much earlier in the day… as you can see by the title, Jimmy D’s not feeling so good today… you can even see the stars circling his head if you look closely.

KTHXDIE 10 – Coffee

Jimmy D is sick of people ruining one of his favorite things – caffeinated goodness. The perversion of this simple pleasure must be stopped.

KTHXDIE 6 – Commercializing Rebellion

Jimmy D weighs in on monetizing the human propensity to be “different”. SPOILER: You’re not different.