Hello, my name is Michelle Alexandria, I hate Blade Runner. I know I’m alone on my island, it’s peaceful here. Despite numerous attempts, I’ve never been able to make it past the first 40 minutes so I promised myself to watch it fully before seeing Blade Runner 2049. I wanted to fully understand it’s tedious “plot” before going into the sequel. Turns out I really didn’t need to subject myself to that because this movie is everything that’s wrong with sequels – it is almost an exact clone of the first movie. From the look to the plot, the movie is both hamstrung and “covered” by its adherence to its past. If you liked or loved the first one, then you will feel exactly the same about this one.
If you can’t handle opinions different than yours, don’t waste your time reading the rest of this review. You won’t hurt my feelings. The studio asked us all not to discuss the plot, characters, or surprises in our reviews, so I’m going to try hard not to.
The ultimate issue with this movie is, nothing feels inspired or urgent in it. To say it moves at a snail’s pace gives snails a bad name. I felt every bit of the nearly 3 hour run time. It didn’t help that the Dolby Cinema theater that I saw this in had the Dolby Atmos cranked up to 11. When the bottom base kicked in, the seats literally shook. I felt it when ships landed, or characters hit the ground or were slammed against a wall. It was very immersive, but at some point, it also got tiring.
All of Composer Hans Zimmer, music sounds the same to me. There’s very little compositional nuance at times sounds like someone took one violin string and made it sound as cringe inducing as possible. It’s all “hey, look at me, something is going to happen,” electronic ques. Director Denis Villeneuve , uses these ques excessively. Whenever our resident Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling) finds a clue, or a vital piece of story exposition occurs, it’s Zimmer time. It felt really hacky and ham-fisted.
As much as I hated the first Blade Runner, visually, it was ground breaking for its time and I marveled at its visual splendor. Villeneuve, who recently did the Oscar nominated films Arrival and Sicario, isn’t a great visual director. Yes, those films had a style to them, but they weren’t ground breaking or memorable. Those films were more about story and characters over visual flair, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that Blade Runner 2049 did not have a single visual shot that made me think I was watching something truly stunning or awe inspiring.
The world didn’t seem to change or grow at all since the previous film. The world of Blade Runner 2049, like the original is cold, antiseptic, and devoid of life. I never once felt like this was a living, breathing place. I couldn’t get past the idea that this was filmed on an empty film set. There were very few scenes where there were lots of people around, going about their day. When people appeared, they were there for a very specific purpose.
As far as plot goes, without saying much. I wish I didn’t know Harrison Ford wasn’t reprising his classic Rick Deckard. Not because his appearance would have been more of a surprise but because I kept feeling like the entire point of this movie was to explain what happened to Deckard. It made the movie seem like a vanity piece for an actor who really isn’t even in the movie that long. The payoff really wasn’t worth the long tedious journey to get there. It only made me want to see Ford a lot earlier in the movie.
I’m not a fan of Ryan Gosling, at all. He’s one of the blandest, one note actors in the business today. He has one facial expression in every one of his films and that’s bored. His characters are always completely bored with whatever they are doing and it’s the same here. He’s just going through the motions. Beyond his looks, I’ll never understand his appeal and why people think he’s such a “great,” actor. He just isn’t.
Beyond my general dislike of Gosling, I just didn’t find his character K to be all that involving or sympathetic. All we’re told in the beginning, damn, can’t say. Gah. His investigation feels like a plot mcguffin more than a sincere look for the truth.
I was never engaged with the story or his character because there was no emotional drive or sense of urgency to the search until the end of the movie when I finally understood why it was important to do the thing that did the thing that I’m not allowed to talk about the thing. But the build up to the reveal meant I no longer cared about the thing. Once the solution is resolved, I left the theater wondering, well, so? It ultimately impacted nothing.
I walked out of the theater wishing I spent my nearly 3 hours doing anything other than getting my ear drums pounded into submission watching this. It truly was a chore to sit through.
Final Grade D
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