Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.)
Originally published Monday, October 9, 2017 at 06:01a.m.
The year is 2049 and Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a Nexus-9 replicant robot and blade runner, is tasked with finding the natural-born child of a Nexus-7 model. Directed by Police Lieutenant Joshi (the iconic Buttercup from “The Princess Bride”) to kill the child to prevent a war between humans and replicants, Officer K realizes that he is a part of a conspiracy that could mean freedom from slavery for replicants.
“Blade Runner” (1982) fans, this reincarnation pays homage to the finest elements of the original. The smoggy, sweeping cityscape of nuclear-razed Los Angeles welcomes viewers. There are nods to the Voight-Kampf test including a clip of Rachael’s test. The neon Atari sign glows brightly in the opening sequence and Edward James Olmos makes a cameo appearance as Gaff complete with a swiftly-fashioned origami figure. Fans will also recognize several characters using Cityspeak (a mix of Spanish, Japanese, German, Chinese, Hungarian, and French). A new replicant mastermind succeeds Tyrell – Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). Wallace is a maniacal sculptor and visionary whose warehouse is the Louvre of robot construction and each new model is his quivering, newborn Mona Lisa. Except one, his executive assistant, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks from “The Best Offer”). Hoeks provides a depth and intensity that is a complex melding of foolish loyalty, deceptive knavery and naïve obedience.
Outstandingly, most of the actors deliver poignant performances. Dave Bautista (Drax from “Guardians of the Galaxy”) gives us Sapper Morton, a Nexus-8, which was a brutish model used for intense labor. These aging 20-year old models are being retired (read: terminated) and they aren’t going down without a fight. Bautista exudes the grace of a battle-hardened Mr. Rogers with the rebellious patience of Joan of Ark as he fights for his life. Jared Leto provides a nuanced sophistication that betrays his age as he strokes a new Nexus model and declares, “We’ve lost our taste for slavery.”
Maddeningly, it is the lead character who falls flat. Gosling does not deliver the same brooding, square-jawed brashness of Harrison Ford’s Deckard. Gosling does what he does best: Casts his cherub-skinned thoughtless indifference across each scene with a perpetual smirk. Even when caked in apocalyptic ash and a bloodied 5 o’clock shadow, he remains defiant eye-candy. Luckily, there is a surprise cameo that will allow you to forgive his performance … momentarily. Fans, if you think you missed any Easter Eggs after seeing 2049, check this link: http://www.looper.com/89576/easter-eggs-missed-blade-runner-2049/
Thriller Fans, the articulate and agile cinematography is so confident that each scene flows like a painting that beguiles your wonder. Shots of embers rising into the night air, snow (or ash?) falling on fingers and the stilettoed feet of a female Colossus rising from ash-riddled Vegas is stunning. Perhaps a foreshadowing of what is to come? The details of each set are meticulously prepared and give the impression that this world is happening … somewhere close. The irony of K’s emotional attachment to his holographic companion, Joi, begs us to question whether our attractions, desires or beliefs are natural or deftly crafted by our environment, family or a creator? Is it all real? Does it matter? Though you will easily figure the plot, there are two twists that are both rapturous and melancholy.
Sci-Fi Fans – who are not Blade Runner fans –there are plenty of ships, holograms and devices to catch your attention. Unfortunately, they won’t hold your attention. There is nothing new to be seen or experienced in this film. The contemporary question of can robots feel, are they sentient, can they give birth and what does it all mean for the future of humankind is so 1990s. While “Blade Runner” was groundbreaking and revolutionary for its time, “Blade Runner 2049” is a predictable, plodding mess of alleged CGI beauty.
Action/Adventure Fans, there is little action and virtually no adventure. The 2 hour and 43 minute run-time is grueling! You will be relieved when Harrison Ford enters the third-act to deliver unapologetic punches all over Gosling. All the gorgeous characters then slip into age-old action movie conventions with corny lines and the illogical pretense of saving or killing for the sake of the sequel. Yet, the melodramatic cinematography will do little to save the mundane script or your patience. A sex-bot orgy is bizarrely long and bloated.
With Ridley Scott as an executive producer and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) at the helm as director, fans of “Blade Runner” (1982) will find that the 30-year wait was well worth it.
Fans of all things Blade Runner: 5 out of 5 Miners
Thriller Fans: 4 out of 5 Miners
Sci-Fi Fans: 1 out of 5 Miners
Action Adventure Fans: Save Yourselves. 0 out of 5 Miners
'Blade Runner 2049' pulls in older guys, but few others
NEW YORK (AP) – "Blade Runner 2049" had the pedigree, the stars and the stellar reviews. But even though the highly touted sequel had seemingly everything going for it, something didn't click with audiences.
The big-budget, handsomely crafted sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic opened surprisingly weak at the North American box office. According to studio estimates Sunday, "2049" grossed $31.5 million, a poor start for a movie that cost at least $150 million to make.
The problem "Blade runner 2049" ran into is clear from opening-weekend data. The audience was overwhelmingly male (71 percent) and over the age of 25 (86 percent). The movie, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, simply failed to pull in moviegoers beyond fans of the 1982 original.
The opening was a blow most of all to Alcon Entertainment, the production company that split the film's cost with Sony Pictures. Warner Bros., which released the original and maintained rights for any follow-ups, distributed domestically. Sony released the film internationally, where it performed better with $50.2 million in overseas ticket sales over the weekend.
The 20-year-old Alcon, backed by FedEx founder Fred Smith, has been behind some notable successes with Warner Bros. ("The Blind Side," ''Prisoners.") But its blockbuster ambitions – which include flops like "Point Break" and "Transcendence" – have gone rockier. Co-founder Andrew Kosove previously called the ambitious "Blade Runner 2049" ''a chips-in-the-center-of-the-table exercise."
And Alcon – a 45 employee company – seemingly did everything right, turning in a glowingly reviewed film, directed by the sought-after Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival") and produced by Ridley Scott (who directed the original.) Audiences liked the movie, too, giving it an A- CinemaScore. Representatives for Alcon Entertainment didn't respond to messages Sunday.