For Your Consideration: Two Cents Cries in the Rain with BLADE RUNNER 2049

Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick

Blade Runner fascinated, confounded, and enraged filmgoers in 1982, a reputation that has only grown as the film’s seeds came to blossom in the minds and works of generations of future artists, and as director Ridley Scott endlessly played with his creation, releasing a multitude of alternate cuts and editions, changes that left everything, including the nature of protagonist Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in a constant state of flux.

Blade Runner 2049 fascinated, confounded and enraged filmgoers in 2017, with director Denis Villeneuve delivering an epic follow-up that enraptured some audiences while leaving others bored or confused or simply pissed off beyond belief.

The sequel finds replicant (future word for ‘robot’) detective K (Ryan Gosling) on a routine job retiring (euphemism for ‘murder the shit out of’) a rebellious fellow android (Dave Bautista). But this simple errand leads K into a deeper, stranger mystery, one that challenges the very nature of his reality and brings him into a tangled web involving god-like titan of industry Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), cold-blooded cop Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright), and, eventually, the long-vanished Rick Deckard.

Blade Runner 2049 was perhaps the most divisive studio film released in 2017, with some praising the performances, the visuals, the score, and especially the hallucinatory cinematography by master DP Roger Deakins. But others were left cold by the sprawling mystery, while others objected to what they saw as an unapologetically misogynistic tilt to the film.

With Blade Runner 2049 now available to buy and rent, the future is available at a moments notice.

Next Week’s Pick:

Netflix has just delivered one of their most intriguing exclusives with a new Toho-produced GODZILLA anime film! There are a lot of reasons we’re thrilled to see Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters on Netflix, but here’s one:

Image credit: Noger Chen

You can send your thoughts to [email protected] anytime before midnight on Thursday.

Our Guest

Derek Smith:

Going into this sequel, I was worried. The marketing had it looking like a huge action-adventure, which didn’t fit the original film at all. I was very pleasantly surprised as the open sequence with K flying to a remote farm confronting a rogue replicant went down. Sure, there was a pretty crazy fight sequence, but it wasn’t what stood out the most. The conversation and humanity (or more human-than-humanity) of it all was what mattered most.

I also beg of you to find a scene in 2017 more beautiful than when K’s wife Joi gets to experience her first rainfall. Truly a wondrous scene that will end up leaving you broken hearted! (Derek Smith)

The Team

Brendan Foley:

So, I have a confession that may result in the revoking of my geek card: While I admire and respect the obvious brilliant technical achievement of the original Blade Runner, and while I completely respect its standing as a seminal film in science fiction whose influence cannot be understated…Blade Runner is a fucking snooze. The characters are all bores (save for the electric Ray Batty, who barely appears), the whole thing crawls at a snail’s pace, and for al the hype about how Blade Runner marries sci-fi and noir detective stories, the actual narrative shares only the most surface-level details with noir.

Blade Runner 2049, though? Infinitely better. The characters are actually interesting and have shit to do. The central story is an engaging mystery that twists and turns and folds inwards in unexpected ways, deliberately playing against your expectations, and the combined effect of Roger Deakins’ imagery and the hypnotic score and sound design create a world that you feel you could slip into.

On the rewatch though, I have to admit that I was not as enthralled as I was during my theatrical viewing. You really feel the film’s ponderous length, especially once Deckard returns to the narrative, and it has to be said that it is a colossal bummer that female characters exist in this film almost exclusively to follow commands and/or die horribly. Only time will tell whether or not the misgivings will win out over the aspects of the film that succeed with flying colors. (@TheTrueBrendanF)

Rod Machen:

Five Great Things about Blade Runner 2049:
5. Phillip K. Dick would be proud.
4. A sensory overload.
3. Getting to see [redacted] again.
2. The Ford/Gosling buddy scenes don’t disappoint.
1. Jared Leto is amazing as The Creator.

To see Rod’s spoiler-packed elaboration on these points, check out his full, uncensored article.

Austin Vashaw:

Directed by on-fire director Denis Villeneuve coming off an incredible run with Arrival, Sicario, and Prisoners, the trajectory of Blade Runner 2049 seems doomed to mirror that of its forebear: a long, beautiful, slow-burn science fiction epic that got off to a rough start with audiences. The original Blade Runner is now lauded as a masterwork, though it took a couple of director’s cuts to cement that status.

2049, on the other hand, is a more confident film. I found it surprising that it veers stylistically as much as it does — a brighter and cleaner world than the original’s grimy, rain-soaked vision. But Blade Runner has always been about humanity and the decisions we make, and in that 2049 rings true with both its new and old protagonists.


Ed Travis:

With a style so simultaneously reverent of the past and boundary pushing today, the genius of craft behind Blade Runner 2049 truly is its greatest asset. A 1982 film which has inspired a sci-fi aesthetic for an entire generation has given birth to a follow up which will somehow catapult that influence long into this future generation. It’s a magnificent achievement of style that appears so effortless as to make it feel almost inevitable. Denis Villeneuve takes another leap forward in his quest of becoming a modern master. (@Ed_Travis)

— excerpted from Ed’s full review. Hit the link to read it in its entirety!

Next week’s pick:

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