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Andrew Reid

Blade Runner 2049 review (2D and 3D versions)

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Blade Runner 2049 cinematographer Roger Deakins has been quoted in the clickbait media (basically every website now) saying "don't see the 3D version"! Actually rather than slamming the 3D version, all he did was state a preference for the 2D version! In most cinemas the 3D version was the only one available, be it on a standard size screen or IMAX. This was the case in Berlin at Sony's very own state of the art cinema, so I watched the film twice - the first time in 3D and the second time in 2D in a classic theatre.

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**SPOILERS?**

Review is spoiler free

This thread is not (uncensored post-film discussion)

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony Cameras

I saw it again at a Dolby Cinema theater and it was straight insanity. The score rattled my core. I have to agree party with your review. The original was legendary and had a completely original look and feel. Much darker and noir inspired. That being said, the story of the original isn't great if you think about it. Deckard is a detective but doesn't do much detecting. The story of 2049 was much better in my opinion. Goslings character actually did some detective work and had an emotional character arc.

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1 hour ago, AaronChicago said:

I saw it again at a Dolby Cinema theater and it was straight insanity. The score rattled my core. I have to agree party with your review. The original was legendary and had a completely original look and feel. Much darker and noir inspired. That being said, the story of the original isn't great if you think about it. Deckard is a detective but doesn't do much detecting. The story of 2049 was much better in my opinion. Goslings character actually did some detective work and had an emotional character arc.

I think its because we are at a time when we have this huge repository of movies at our disposal that movies like the original seem less inspired in terms of story....

If we go back in time to the 80s and look back, sure you can't pit the story against the likes of the God Father movies, nor Citizen Kane, but the visuals took precedence.

I don't know.... you can argue that Star Wars had the visuals and the storyline.

I grew up in an era where Commando was a staple - I vividly remember where everyone would say that that was a badass movie, now go back and look at it - its laughable.

With that said, 2049 had to pay homage to the original but also have a decent storyline - which I think it had. I liked it a lot and I think that what Harrison Ford said in an interview came true - "you don't have to watch the original to understand this movie, its like a standalone" or something along those lines. 

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I actually appreciated that they didn't slavishly recreate the original film's style. It would have been the lesser film no matter what, but making it look exactly like the original would have robbed it of its own merit.

I actually loved the story, and Gosling IMO completely sold it. It's very subtle at times, but he is learning what real love is. You're shown rather than told, which I very much approve of. The majority of the exposition has to do with the plot. To get the emotional arc, you have to dig in a bit and experience the film from the perspective of K as a replicant.

I still prefer the original, but 2049 managed to be its own thing, while simultaneously fitting with the original and (most critically) not ruining the original.

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"Shown vs Told"   They SHOWED us a lot of graphics.  Ok.  But plot wise, we were TOLD more than SHOWN.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!

 

"This breaks the world"  they TOLD us.  No it doesn't.  Didn't really SHOW anything close to that.
"You bought a war" thanks for TELLING us.  Where?  Didn't SHOW us.
"You've never seen a miracle" thanks for TELLING us.  We didn't SEE it either, but HEARD about it.
"You do not know pain", they TELL us, then SHOW us a scene with almost no connection.  So?

"I'm the bad guy, but my story falls away completely, and nothing will happen to me until the sequel's sequel"  Ok, I adlibbed here, but why even watch this???

I enjoyed the 3D too.   But it is not for everyone.

Just disappointed they kept TELLING us how "important" everything was, but not SHOWING us.  I felt nothing for most of it.
 

 

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A lot of current screenwriting suffers from too much exposition and not enough spectacle.

It was exactly the case again here.

Which is perhaps why I feel so cold emotionally to it.

SPOILER ALERT...

- When your replicant lover is recreated, it's never going to be the same as the original.
- Yes, they did try a different look and cinematic language this time out, but like in Arrival which has a very similar tone, I'm sorry but it leaves me cold.
- Tarkovsky did a similar slowly paced style far better with more spectacle and less talky talky
- It's not a bad film, it's a very good one but it's highly hyped and overrated by the critics and not a patch on the original in any area apart from Roger Deakins

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I saw it too. It was a pain to find a showtime in 2D and in it's native english form as always in France.

I like it a lot, but I thought exactly the same about the image, it just lacks the 80's aesthetic. Shooting spherical and not going for the glowing neon style was a bit unexpected.

That said, I really enjoyed it and I think it is a very good sequel to the original :) 

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It is a good film, but so what? Technically perfect but cold and soulless movies abound these days (see also; Arrival, Alien:Covenant, the new Planet of the Apes trilogy). Proper descriptors: clinical, cold, respectable, lifeless. Gosling is bland, and as in The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford is effortlessly the best thing in the movie. It's not about how someone looks, it's about charisma and Ford has it, Gosling doesn't. I think it will be remembered about as well as 2010, the sequel to 2001. It too is a perfectly good movie, but like I said, so what?

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9 hours ago, AaronChicago said:

That being said, the story of the original isn't great if you think about it. Deckard is a detective but doesn't do much detecting. The story of 2049 was much better in my opinion. Goslings character actually did some detective work and had an emotional character arc.

The original has a simple story but logical. This new one has a convoluted but a stupid plot. It works until you think about it.

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I loved the new film I was far from dissapointed - I was expecting the worse. Its dense non commercial, intelligent and technically excellent too..... I did feel that there was too much detail. I did feel the colours too out of the can..... they were washes over not built in lighting. BUT none of that is nearly as important as my thoughts on the questions I had the BIG METAPHYSICAL Questions I had after watching the original. Such things like - how long do we have - and what do we do in that time - does it make a difference about what we are as long as the feelings to us feel real. These things have lived with me most of my adult life - from seeing the film in my late teens. Those questions have shaped my life. Too pursue - to pounce on life while it is there...... to reach out in the time we have.... to believe in ones emotions. To live with some form of poetry at times - that is emotively based...... Now maybe my multiple sittings of the original has allowed me to distill those thoughts to the point where the message speaks bigger than the plot and vision. I did feel due to the experience of the new film that I was immersed in the world but was so engrossed that those big questions were hard to hear - maybe they werent there..... or maybe i should start rewatching it again. Either way the new film is fukcing impressive - it was never going to fill the boots of the original......... but its one of the best things Ive seen in ages.

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SF is my favorite genre, and perhaps not surprisingly, Blade Runner my favorite movie, but this one never connected with me. That said, my hopes weren't high to begin with. Of the director's previous work, I much prefer Prisoners over The Arrival, the latter which--unlike apparently most critics on rottentomatos--I felt insulted by. Not Elysium insulted, and certainly not Signs violated, but the air of condescension was a bit thick as the credits rolled. But back to this new work. First off, however, I need to send out a message to the film mixers and/or theater owners in this country:

PLEASE STOP TRYING TO BLOW OUR F*CKING EARDRUMS OUT!!!

What's the thinking here? Rattle our bones with Zimmer horns every 20 minutes just to wake us up? Film scores are supposed to help guide us emotionally through scenes, not jar our goddamned teeth loose. My wife was measuring the decibels (from inside her bag--no ambient light a-holes here) in the back row and it was averaging over 126 dBs whenever there was a scene transition. She had earplugs and still had to sit the last 45 minutes in the lobby of the theater. Such a gentleman she's got, I know...

Actually, that's really all I had to say for now. In my youth, I could talk all night about a new movie, but these last few years consuming Diet Coke, I have to watch it at least a second time before I can even approach forming a concise and fair opinion worth the time it takes to listen/read. I do, however, agree with at least one other contributor before me saying the plot was pretty convoluted. To be fair, I think half the plot was already lost on me, because despite the volume set to "sphincter-puckering," all the women not named Robin Wright mumbled their way through half their lines. Not that it would have mattered, because I think the main point for now is that after watching the original at least 200 times, the entire point of the movie was never intended to be that complex: A robot hunts other robots and discovers what it means to be human. Ridley, God bless his heart, was just old school enough to let you figure that last part out for yourself. Wasn't even a twist by then, really. Too subtle for some, never accepted by others, painfully clear to the ones that would go on to subject themselves to a 2nd viewing...and maybe a few more after. The reason I love the original was actually because the story was thin, the theme was heavy, but the visuals made me feel like I was looking into a window into the future. Dystopianland. Yeah, screw it, I'd go.

Anyway, one last detail before I sign off: This film, for all its visual competence, fell sadly short on one movie staple that really would have gone a long way: who exactly is the baddie? Rutger Hauer might not have been a traditional villain, but he was a perfectly compelling foil to Ford, particularly when Ford wasn't onscreen. Luv was a tool, Leto was embarrassingly lame, and as bad as his acting is, I would have preferred keeping Bautista around for at least some degree of physical menace on the hunt. Also, the android physics were wildly inconsistent. Like stupid inconsistent. But nothing that a little Zimmer-induced aneurysm shouldn't be able to take care of.

Despite my critique of the movie, I really don't hate it--I just don't feel much for it. Oh, my God, was that the intent all along..?

 

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IMO the plot was just a backdrop on which to hang some deeper thematic elements, but I guess this is a film where your mileage may vary. I certainly found some interesting stuff to chew on. The journey of emotional development that Ryan Gosling's character is taken through seems pretty nuanced. I found myself drawn into his shoes, the shoes of a self-aware replicant. It's a genius twist on the ambiguity of the original. 

Deckard may or may not be a replicant, but in the end, he decides that it doesn't matter one way or another. The line between replicant and human has disappeared, and not only does he not care which he is, he considers himself better off not knowing. (That's my take, anyway.)

In 2049, Gosling's character finds this same line disappearing as well, but from a completely different perspective. Even knowing exactly what he is, the lines blur and the box that he defines himself by slowly crumbles. 

In many ways, he's an ancillary character. Ok, sure, he's the titular Bladerunner. But the film turns on its head any notion of him being uniquely tied into the greater story beyond that role. He's not even the offspring of Rachel in the end. 

Gosling's character is learning the core trait of humanity: compassion. Selfless love. With that as the central journey of the film, it suddenly makes sense that he cannot be anyone spectacular. He sought out and helped Deckard for at least partly selfish reasons. Only after the knowledge that he was in fact just another replicant among countless replicants could he willingly undertake a selfless compassionate act.

Who cares that Deckard is in the film at all? That there is a child? That there might be a war? That's the backdrop. The set dressing. The cinematography. They use exposition to move this along, because it's not the crux of the story. They could be Teletubbies for all the heart of the story cares (although Deakins+Teletubbies would be rather disconcerting). 

But what do I know? Anywho. That's why I like it. I can understand it's not for everyone (goodness knows I think Arrival was a finely polished piece of mediocrity). 

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Hey dudes, what's wrong with spoilers!? C'mon they let you see better any film. BTW there are always dozens of next chances to you taking advantage of spoilers free income : D just try next, so... ; )

BTW II: Have you seen all classics? All Tarkovski? All Ozu? All Mizoguchi? All Kieślowski? Twice or several times a decade, a lifetime...?!

 

On another note, I concur: there's no anamorphics killer. Never will be :-)

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Thank you for this nice review of Blade Runner 2049.

It seems to me that the problem you encounter with the film his due to the weekness of the script.

When the original came out it was a real wonder. How to create 2018 in the eighties ??? Lots of people (most of them chinese) a lot of rain; a lot of bikes and a flying car...
Nothing fancy. But it did work because the real core of the film was the difference between human and humanoïd ... And Deckard was in between, on the verge of falling on the dark side.

In "2049" we have a classical oedipus quest of a humanoïd looking for a father ... Whatever qualities the job of Roger Deakins (and there are plenty) you can't make a good film with a script that feels like it's been on for ever.

The main flaw I found in the original was the too long fight between Deckard and Roy at the end (before a very beautiful and poetic death) here the fight with the female replicant at the end could be dismissed all together (and the pseudo-danger for Deckard  drowning in the back just as well).

In the end all the philosophical sophistication of the original disappears for the sake of a lazy blockbuster. Just too bad. And the inner trailer for the sequel to come (the real ones" who are gathering an army in the off-suburbs) make me feel bad.

In the mean time, thank you for your blog that brings us a lot of valuable informations and meaningfull insights on DSLR evolution (and forget my english).

MarcH

 

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14 hours ago, PepperJay said:

PLEASE STOP TRYING TO BLOW OUR F*CKING EARDRUMS OUT!!!=

+11

I am sick of it!! I go to watch a movie not to be blasted into submission. It's a form of punishment that only the sadistic and the moronic actually enjoy!

2 hours ago, March said:

Thank you for this nice review of Blade Runner 2049.

In the end all the philosophical sophistication of the original disappears for the sake of a lazy blockbuster. Just too bad. And the inner trailer for the sequel to come (the real ones" who are gathering an army in the off-suburbs) make me feel bad.

Glad someone else spotted this mini-trailer for yet another sequel.

With the crap box office, I hope they cancel it!!

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Hi Andrew I have read about a Deakins cinematography masterclass in your review. can you give us more clue about it? was it online or on Berlin or where? there will be a new one? thx!!!! :)

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On 10/20/2017 at 9:15 AM, PepperJay said:

PLEASE STOP TRYING TO BLOW OUR F*CKING EARDRUMS OUT!!!

14 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

+11

I am sick of it!! I go to watch a movie not to be blasted into submission. It's a form of punishment that only the sadistic and the moronic actually enjoy!

I went to see the movie on a small local theatre, which I know doesn't put the sound levels too high. And I didn't find it that loud and enjoyed it.
That said, I do not want to endure these kinds of sound levels you only get in big theaters/Cineplexes.

I really don't get why they have to put the sound output that loud :s

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