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Blade Runner 2049 ~ A Capsule Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp

The 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner is notable for its spectacular futuristic vistas, its haunting music score and brooding tone. You probably know (or maybe you don’t) that the story in Blade Runner is about those delightful synthetic humans called “replicants” that are so close to being real that nobody can tell them apart. Replicants were manufactured as a disposable work force, but, only trouble is, they were so highly evolved that they developed a will of their own, staged an insurrection, and murdered a lot of real humans, after which the manufacture of replicants was banned. (We saw this same premise used, but not as effectively, in the HBO television series Westworld.)

Now, thirty-five years later (can it really be that long?), there is Blade Runner 2049, a sequel, of sorts, to the earlier movie. The main character is called K (played by Ryan Gosling). He doesn’t have a name because he is himself a replicant, but he’s the good kind, not the kind that goes around murdering humans. K is a Blade Runner, meaning it’s his job to hunt down and kill the replicants that are still living and walking in the world, disguising themselves as real people. K is so human-like that he has human emotions. This is going to get him into trouble.

Before the production of replicants was banned all those years earlier, the mad scientists who made them added a new wrinkle: a replicant woman was able to mate with a human man and have a child, which is exactly what happened. Remember the character Deckard (Harrison Ford) from the 1982 Blade Runner movie? At the end of that movie, he fell in love with a replicant named Rachel and absconded with her. It turns out that Rachel was one of those replicants who could have a baby with a human father. Well, we find out in Blade Runner 2049 that, not only did Rachel have a baby by Deckard, she had twins, a boy and a girl, after which Deckard disappeared. Can K be the half-human/half-replicant boy that was born to Rachel and Deckard thirty years earlier? If he is, where is the twin sister? What happened to her?

In Blade Runner 2049, K spends a lot of time literally flying around in these futuristic cityscapes to a pounding (heavy on the kettle drums) music score, looking for pieces to the mystery that consumes him. Holograms are very popular in this world. There are holograms of Elvis Presley, Liberace and Frank Sinatra, and holograms just about every place else, including a fifty-foot-tall, pink, naked lady with blue hair by the side of the road who promises that you will see everything you want to see and hear everything you want to hear. Oh, and one of the most prominent features of this world is that it’s dark all the time and rainy because, well, the atmosphere has been messed up.

There’s lots of information thrown at the audience in Blade Runner 2049, maybe too much, which makes the story murky at times. (For example, what do the beehives mean?) The writing could have been tighter and the length could have been shortened by thirty or forty minutes. Otherwise, it’s a wild sci-fi trip to a dystopian future world that you might have to see more than once to absorb everything in it.

Copyright © 2017 by Allen Kopp

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