Blade Runner Ran Amok

Last night, I saw the new Blade Runner 2049 – a  sequel to director Ridley Scott’s dystopian sci-fi classic from 1982. Both the original and sequel have characters based on a story by Philip K. Dick titled, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”.

Visually, I think director Denis Villeneuveis and his cinematographer Roger Deakins have done a fine job. You could literally print each individual frame and hang it on a wall as a piece of art. From that perspective, I was defiinetly impressed.

At 75, Harrison Ford is quite fit and his usual grumpy, sarcastic self. And though Ryan Gosling seems to have been cast for his ornamental value rather than an ability to add anything memorable or dazzling to the part (I know, I know, he’s playing a Replicant/Android), he at least doesn’t distract.

What does distract, however, is the new film’s convoluted storyline and a dozen or so loosely connected subplots. While the first film was set in a futuristic Los Angeles where a bounty hunter chases down rogue humanoids and ends up falling in love with one, the new tale is a mash-up of the Matrix, the Fifth Element, The Force Awakens and likely several other genre films director Denis Villeneuveis’ has on his personal top 10 favorite list.

Like the first film, Blade Runner 2049 will need to be re-seen – at least a couple of times. As it’s a major studio produced project, it will certainly have gone through a painful approval process – which inevitably contributed to the story being so unnecessarily perplexing. I’m guessing there’s a few petabytes of unseen footage from the film being stored on a hard drive somewhere. And though Mr Villeneuveis has already stated there will not be a “Director’s Cut”, you never know. Ten years ago, Ridley Scott’s edit of the original Blade Runner was released as what I and many other fans consider to be the best of several previous iterations.

My image above, shot from a helicopter on my way back from the Grand Canyon a few years ago, is only relevant in this context because it’s from Las Vegas which in addition to an apocalyptic L.A., is portrayed in an extremely dismal guise in Blade Runner 2049.