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Flicks To Hold You Over: "Blade Runner 2049"

Before I write anything about Blade Runner 2049, I have to disclose my bias for the original.

The original Blade Runner, specifically the very original theatrical cut with the narration voiceover with Harrison Ford is within the top ten best movies ever made. It ranks right up there with Millers Crossing, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Casablanca… you get the picture.

I am biased towards the original. When I was a teen it was that other movie I would watch repeatedly. If it wasn’t “Raiders…” it was “Blade Runner.” The soundtrack album was on heavy rotation on my record player regardless of the fact that it wasn’t the original score recorded by Vangelis. And when that soundtrack was eventually released I bought it THREE times, two cassettes and once on CD. It’s my driving music when it’s at night and it’s raining, much to the chagrin of my wife and kids at times.

It’s one of the soundtracks I ALWAYS have with me when I travel. Always.

The Three Disk set that I purchased a couple of years ago with all of the strange ambient noise in the back of some of the tracks is pure genius.

The original Blade Runner has been a huge part of my life during the past 35 years. It’s the “go to” movie when discussing huge issues like, what does it mean to be a person, what does it mean to be someone with your own thoughts and idea, and it serves as a metaphor for the current paradigm in a soft-fascist state were personhood is easily determined by government and corporations when they aren’t too busy taking control over each other.

The idea of messing around with it isn’t a concept I take easily. Blade Runner isn’t something I want anyone to fool around with or ruin with unnecessary sequels or prequels.

So… as you can imagine when I heard that there was finally going to be a sequel with Ridley Scott somewhere in the mixture I was a bit hesitant. There are some sequels to movies you should never make. Like the aforementioned “Casablanca,” since my thoughts and ideas about what happened after to Rick Blaine after Ilsa got on the plane is far more awesome than anything anyone else could come up to in celluloid.

And now… after seeing it this past Friday night, the most important thing I can say is that I’m insanely jealous of those people who will see it for the first time.
We get some idea of what happened with Rick Deckard and his replicant Rachel from the original, but without giving too much away in the form of “spoilers,” we’re left wanting to know more of what happened to that couple.

“2049” is the most beautiful movie about dystopia that I’ve ever seen since the original Blade Runner and another great movie with similar themes such as “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” Ridley Scott and the entire team behind this film created an epic that builds upon what the original “Blade Runner” did, accomplishes what other movies like “A.I.” tried to do it it’s by continuing the conversation the original “Frankenstein” began about what obligations humanity has towards the new life we create.

“2049” comes right out and says to the audiences faces exactly what others have tried to say with subtle hints, innuendo, metaphors, and exposition dialog. Toying around with life, creating a slave race, and dabbling with trying to create the “perfect” human being is wrong, unethical and will lead to the inevitable destruction of mankind.

For me, personally – I’m still shocked and amazed that it’s 3 hours. The time flies despite the fact that the artisans who made this movie take a lot of time establishing the world of this alternate future. We’re allowed to explore the dystopian world and incredible sets but we don’t wallow in what others call “Fan Service.” Each frame of this movie serves a purpose in telling the overall story or setting the mood.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a brutal and harsh movie that’s exactly what you expect from a gritty Noir film. Bad things happen to good people and we’re sent down dark rabbit holes that personify the best of Philip K. Dick’s writing. It does nothing to ruin the mystery and the ambiguity of the original Blade Runner, so of the really big questions from the 1992 classic are left unanswered while asking a few fresh ones.

Put it in another way, “Blade Runner 2049” is the kind of Cyberpunk movie David Lean might have made about the future if he had access to our modern tools and pool of talent. It’s “Doctor Zhivago” with androids, holograms and flying cars. But in a good way!