Phillip K Dick’s prediction of the future has not improved with age. The world is even bleaker than in the Ridley Scott rendition of the Blade Runner franchise. But who would have thought that nothing could be more dystopian than a LA snowstorm? It’s a good thing that SoCal drivers don’t need to worry about traction anymore, what with flying cars finally having arrived on the scene.
Director Denis Villeneuve and Cinematographer Roger Deakins have created a stunningly beautiful spectacle, wrapped up in a ponderously long narrative. At almost three hours, I found myself checking the time, twice, which is never a good sign. Who would have thought that by 2049, not only have all the trees gone extinct in California, but also have all the film editors?
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played.
– “Pale Fire”, Vladimir Nabokov
Ryan Gosling ably headlines as the android K, short for KD6.3-7. The preceding poem is used as script in a call and response that is used to rebaseline him after a particularly harrowing fight. With characteristically calm demeanor, Gosling passes this test and lives to fight another day. A synthetic human in his society, K is a slave and must do his masters bidding or suffer the consequences.
Harrison Ford reprises his twin roles as Deckard and old Harrison Ford cashing in on roles originally created by his younger self. You’ve got only one more franchise left, Mister Jones. Beneath this marquee duo is a strong cast, primarily composed of strong women, where K gets only tough love from Luv and has only fleeting joy with Joi. This neo-noir detective story plods along as any able gumshoe would, to its inevitable conclusion.
I actually liked the movie. I just wish that it could have been more by being less. As sequels go it does more than a journeyman’s job. It answers questions from the original Blade Runner, but also poses new ones too. Fan-boys are left with plenty of questions to ponder. This next time around, let’s just hope that they are not given so many years in which to formulate them.
On a lighter note, I’ve included the following YouTube link. It is an expertly done fake trailer that mixes Gosling’s last two big movies, La La Land and Blade Runner. It is pretty much the visuals from Blade Runner with the audio from La La Land. If you’ve seen both movies, you should enjoy it, because, well, “things were simpler then.”