October 11th, 2017
Mark at the Movies ~ Blade Runner 2049
Hey, hey! I just got back from a theatrical presentation of “Bladerunner 2049”. In, WOW, 3D.
I think I might be able to make peace with 3D. It doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, so I guess I’ll have to. I find the pointless feature and extra expensive tickets and dopey glasses are only on my mind for the first three minutes, after which I am able to forget about them. And who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be one of those things where, after I complain about it enough and it miraculously goes away, I’ll think, “Huh. This 2D movie stuff seems kind of… flat somehow.”
ANYway… (I talk a bit about the meat of the film ahead, so proceed at your own risk.)
I really enjoyed this film! -Everything everybody has said in reviews and comments holds true. It looked great, maintained the esthetic and feel of the original, and it had a smart story which, yes, even made me tear up a couple of times.
The only thing I’ll add, -and this is not really a criticism.., more an observation…
It was very explicit. Very literal.
-By which I mean, it had a complex story which answered all its own questions and it all made solid sense. It was scripted, I think, by people with engineering backgrounds or something. That’s not a bad thing. You get a functional film out the other end. -Even one with a reasonable emotional range. And yet…
This new film was missing the lyrical quality of the first. -Where a young Ridley Scott was unafraid to make bold moves on screen without feeling any need to explain the rationale behind them, -resulting in a beautiful ambiguity which, I thought, echoed the replicants’ very search for soul.
By contrast, the characters in this new film sure *talked* a big game about feelings and miracles, even revolved the entire script around an amazing birth, and yet.., somehow failed to convince me they were really existing in the thick of those emotions, in that search for the ephemeral. Oh, and there’s a difference, boy! Too much engineering and not enough poetry. There’s a saying in writing circles…
“Show me, don’t tell me.”
This film reminded me of that off-label Star Wars film from last year. “Rogue One”. -That was also scripted by engineers. A tight, smart clockwork where everything also made sense. (And don’t get me wrong; I like things to make sense). But the magic was made material, a talking point, reduced to a crystalline resource which could be mined, measured and controlled -with technology and force of arms.
-It’s like the authors were aware that magic and soul or something like it is important, -the driving force for everybody’s actions after all-, but they didn’t quite grasp the root of the concept, convinced that these wispy, intense emotions were the result of just the 3D containers they happened to ride in.
Like the mysterious infant in Blade Runner 2049, the movie chased after that object representation while failing to recognize that the truly lyrical isn’t the object itself.
But like I said.., this isn’t meant to be a criticism. Just an observation of craft. (The movie was scripted by replicants trying their best? Ha ha!) And they came close. I’m not sure I’d have been able to do anything any better. I tend to lean more heavily on the engineering end of things myself; my inner poet can be a bit unreliable.
It was still a fine film! -I think the thing I was most happily surprised by was how much screen time Harrison Ford was given, and how he didn’t disappoint in his delivery.
It’s funny how I tense up and really hope people shine. -Like watching balance beam gymnasts and figure skaters and hoping, hoping, they don’t fall.
Nobody fell in this film. Phew!
To bump it up from an 8 or 9 to a perfect 10, the flawless routine just needed to be a little less mechanical and a little more flowing. A little more spiritual.
If you recall…
In the original book, the question wasn’t just about independence from slavery, but of *dreams*.
Wolfville, Nova Scotia,
October 11th, 2017