Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
October 5, 2017 10:12 AM - Subscribe

A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

Wikipedia
Wired - The Replicant: Inside the Dark Future of Blade Runner 2049
posted by fearfulsymmetry (240 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
For about the last decade or so I've enjoyed the accompanying shorts (animated or live action) for major films much more than the films themselves (Marvel/DC/Matrix sequels). I don't bother with Marvel/DC films anymore at all but always look forward to the shorts when I remember there probably are some.

Blade Runner 2049 has 3 of them, the first by Shinichiro Watanabe who directed Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. I'll start with these and await word about the film.
posted by juiceCake at 2:18 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Plus: It looks great; really, really, good. The outdoor urban scenes especially, but so many other scenes - this is a BIG SCREEN movie. Many good performances, especially Harrison. Edward James Olmos and Sean Young appear. Ryan Gosling's arguably best performance. Ana de Armas (Joi) really good. Integrates neatly with the original. "Atari". Nods, some subtle (Close Encounters, 2001) and some not-so-subtle (Matrix, Her), to many sci-fi movies. From watching all of the credits, half of Hungary appears to have gained employment through this movie. The dog survives (obviously therefore it's a male dog).

Minus: Score is good, but not quite the original. Jared Leto acts over the top. The plot twists are a little too easy to fortell. Many things and people from the original, but no owl. Too many sightings of "Sony". Some cliches e.g. climactic fight scene between protagonist and antagonist. Loooong. The too-graphic, and unnecessary to be shown, repeated violence against women (human and non-human).
posted by Wordshore at 2:33 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty interested in seeing this as I love the original but can someone clue me in on how bad the violence against women component is? Are we talking domestic violence incidence, full on unflinching rape scene, sex slave plotline....?

I'll probably go see it anyway but I find I react most poorly to that kind of material when I'm not expecting it.
posted by WidgetAlley at 3:35 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Without spoilers, it's several violent killings. I suspect some people will argue that in a few cases "they are replicants, not humans, so it's not the same" but hmmm. No sexual violence, though some female nudity (the last of which I didn't understand the point of, but that may be just me).

Also, on reflection because of the above, this may not be a good date movie.
posted by Wordshore at 3:50 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Against all odds (i.e. Ridley Scott coming within ten thousand yards of it) this is getting some very encouraging press. Might be the first flick I've seen in the cinemas in years!
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:52 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I thought it was very, very good. I'm still kind of taking it in... If nothing else, the world it creates is complete in a way that I haven't felt leaving a movie since, maybe, The Witch. I'd be curious to see the story bible and script notes, because nearly every aspect felt fully realized. The future it paints is also pitch black. Even in the original movie there was a little bit of hope, where the dystopia still left room to be cool and slick. That didn't really exist here - the story takes place in a world that's past dying, and is officially dead.

RE: Violence against women, yeah, that is an unfortunately large part of the story. To my mind none of it is necessarily gratuitous, and none of the violence is specifically gendered... well - maybe one scene early on -


SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS


Wallace gutting the newly 'born' replicant felt a little gendered, and also a little gratuitous. Everything else has violence against a character who is a woman (the main Wallace agent, the LAPD captain, Joi), but not because she is a woman. There are some gazy visual effects, but those are also mainly in the context of commercials and statuary that are, not to excuse it, meant to be titillating within the world of the story but not to the viewer their self. I think that they probably could've shown less skin in those instances and still had the same effect.
posted by codacorolla at 7:55 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


(the following paragraph is rife with spoilers)

Saw it tonight. It's visually beautiful, sound design and soundtrack are both amazing (especially if it really is Hans Zimmer, sounded more like Lustmord). There are some fun callbacks to the original. But the plot threads, which start out intriguing, get tangled up, some dropped, and the end is just a mess. The dialog is grasping for the pithiness the original film hit in its best moments, and misses pretty much every time. Also, the film is deeply and embarrassingly misogynistic. The female characters are all ludicrous caricatures, and they all get murdered. Except the MacGuffin, who lives in a giant snow globe.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:51 AM on October 6 [13 favorites]


I saw it today too. I loved it. The score is outstanding (it was a bit too loud at the cinema I saw it in though).

If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world. Would it be nice to see a different world portrayed? Yes, but then it wouldn't be a Blade Runner movie.

Ryan Gosling is sensational in his role, as is Harrison Ford although his Deckard is a very much beaten down version of his character in the first movie, which makes sense.

I'm still worrying about the dog.
posted by h00py at 4:01 AM on October 6 [9 favorites]


Has anyone seen it in a theater with vibratovision?
posted by minsies at 5:32 AM on October 6


Yes! My seat vibrated and although it wasn't as sexy as it sounds it did really enhance the visuals. Lawdy, you just made me remember seeing 'Earthquake' in Sensurround as a kid!
posted by h00py at 5:46 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


Saw it on a IMAX. visually stunning, misogynistic in a terrible way.

I loved the soundtrack, but I also love John carpenter/Tron soundtrack type stuff.

I thought Jared Leto’s character was totally extra and not needed at all.

Overall, it’s good, but with “HARD SEXY TITS” as the main aesthetic I’m struggling with saying it’s anything brilliant.

Seriously the misogyny in that movie is ridiculously bad, like a 14 year old boy jerking off to imaginary porn in his head bad.

It’s a visually stunning movie, the plot is okay, a few characters are great, I dunno. If it weren’t for the visual treat it would be a really bad summer action flick.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:18 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]


If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world.

There are ways to display misogyny in creative, engaging and interesting ways. The way misogyny is presented in 2049 shows little to no examination or self-reflection nor does it really challenge or put anything at stake with what the mechanics of misogyny are. It's just basic-ass male gaze that literally does nothing but put tits and sexual violence on display. It's extra, it's veneer and for a movie that intended to be as visually important to the plot as possible, it's a failure of direction.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:37 AM on October 6 [15 favorites]


To me the misogyny of that world is as deeply ingrained as the one we live in now. I'm all in favour of more stories told from viewpoints that don't involve the male gaze, in fact I actively seek them out and long for more, but the world of Blade Runner is misogynistic and incredibly violent and bleak and ugly. It's also dark and beautiful and so sad. I like that in a movie sometimes, even while it's disturbing me.
posted by h00py at 8:00 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]


FWIW, despite my feelings about the tits on display, I am going to see it more times because it's still gnawing at me.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:15 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Minus: Score is good, but not quite the original.

I almost swore off seeing this when I learned Vangelis would not be scoring it. But the consensus jaw-dropped positive reviews have sucked me in. Now, I just need to find a time to see it.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:24 AM on October 6


For me, this is a difficult film to form a simple quick opinion on... I need to think and unpack it a bit before coming back to it at length. There's a lot to say about it.

I will say now I thought it was very very good, certainly a lot better than I expected when it first announced and even later when I heard Denis Villeneuve was directing (all of whose films I've seen I've liked and is probably one of my favourite directors at the moment).

It's a rare sequel that builds on it's predecessor instead of just being a remix. It looks and sounds amazing (and fingers crossed it'll finally give Roger Deakins a long deserved Oscar) and has some interesting things to say. And so much more... but that can wait for another time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:39 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]



If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world.


dude this is a really really really important thing to just drop in like it's nothing. unlike the original, this movie is neither based on 1968 source material nor made in '82 nor set in 2019. how/why would anybody know to expect a misogynistic world? that's a big deal, people really have to mention it up front in reviews and stuff.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:42 AM on October 6 [11 favorites]


I guess I'm a pessimist and can imagine that a world that features female replicants mostly just existing as sex toys would, even 30 something years later, to be just as bad as the first time we saw it.

I mean it's 35 years later since the first movie was made, based on material from the 60's, and we're still surrounded by blatant misogyny (such as featured in this film). It's a Möbius strip!
posted by h00py at 8:57 AM on October 6


I feel like it's lazy directing in a movie such as this to throw one's hands up and say "all these other themes such as free will, what it means to human, to feel love, and racism and slavery and ecology and empathy we will shall deeply explore and create challenging statements on these through both visuals and dialog, but the "women as sex objects" angle, we'll just present that with the most lily white generic porn-levels of presentation as possible and oh yeah, women are basically just vaginas there's nothing outside the gender binary in the future".

It's just boring to me now when I see it.
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:39 AM on October 6 [22 favorites]


If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world.

That doesn't work, because the misogyny in this film is in the choices the writer and director make in depicting that dystopia, not the dystopia itself. All the things in this film they chose to make beautiful just underscore the times they decided to be indifferent or ugly. This cannot be blamed on the canonical shittiness of 2049.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:43 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


(contains total spoilers)

Digital Spy: Can we talk about a big problem with Blade Runner 2049?
posted by Wordshore at 3:42 PM on October 6 [10 favorites]


Wow, if that Digital Spy piece is even remotely accurate, I can safely say I'm going to stay far away from this movie.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:09 PM on October 6


If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world.

The Handmaid's Tale is a portrayal of a deeply misogynist world that is not itself misogynist. It can easily be done, but it requires accepting that treating women, as the filmmaker, in the same way that the characters in the film treat women is not actually a requirement or even an interesting way to create art.
posted by telegraph at 4:19 PM on October 6 [19 favorites]


Minor dialogue question--at one point the police chief character says something like "What would happen if I drink that?" What's the point of that line, feel like I missed something.

Did anyone see it in 3D? Did it enhance or detract from the movie? Seen maybe two 3D movies and wrote the tech off but could make an exception for this one.
posted by aerotive at 5:24 PM on October 6


Minor dialogue question--at one point the police chief character says something like "What would happen if I drink that?"

She's offering to sleep with him. "What happens if I finish this bottle of whiskey?" I can see how someone could miss it, because it makes no sense at all. I assumed I was reading the scene wrong until later in the movie when the threesome with the hologram and the hooker with a heart of gold occurs, at which point I was like "yep, screenwriter based this on Blade Runner erotica he wrote when he was 17".
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:57 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


Visually stunning, but too long and slow. I alternated between getting restless and nodding off. Ryan Gosling is good, but I didn't feel like this role was a stretch for him in any way.

The one thing I thought was interesting was that with the exception of Robin Wright and Sean Young, the other women actors weren't necessarily household names, but looked really familiar. My companion and I kept thinking that Joi was Felicity Jones, for example, and it was driving us crazy. We wouldn't tell if that was deliberate or not, but that's what we spent the most time discussing after it was all over.
posted by TwoStride at 6:12 PM on October 6


I loved it.

And I loved the Treasure Island quote, which is in itself a reference to a deleted scene from the original film!
posted by Omon Ra at 6:48 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


So, I realized that what I'm about to do might seem like trying to defend something that I also felt was gratuitous (the use of the female body in the movie), but I think that there is a valid reading of the film that places the misogyny into a different context:

That reading is that the first film is about "what does it mean to be human?" and this film is "what does it matter if someone else calls you human?" The first film is existential, and this film is practical. The main difference is that BR1 presents a puzzle (and then, depending on the version, solves it) about whether or not Decker is human. This film straight-up says that K is a replicant. It teases you with the idea of K being a sort of Christ figure pseudo-replicant, but then pulls away the carpet in act 3. However, through the action of the film and K's ultimate final selfless sacrifice, it shows you that the designation of 'human' is something that comes externally from a Big Other - in this case a wonderfully overacted Jared Leto.

I think that is the intention of Joi. She is one caste lower than even K - K (a lowly 'skinjob) is able to buy her. However, the moves that the film makes, make us understand that Joi has developed a personality too. She begs for her own sort of freedom, as dependent as it is on K, because she has developed a personhood that extends from being his assistant and lover. When K is looking up at the towering, nude simulacrum of Joi (one that is different from the AI that he came to know), he understands his own position with regards to the plot, that it doesn't matter whether he is legitimately human or not - it matters what he does with his agency. Or, put another way, there will always be a more powerful person with a vested interest in denying humanity. Humanity, and the question of the original film 'what does it mean to be human', is meaningless. There is no intrinsic value to being human, but the idea of 'humanity' has been leveraged time and time again in human society to force people to act against their will: other tribes, other races, other genders. K is divested of his dream because of his detective work, and (much like Roy in BR1) he finds himself in the position to commit an act of grace for Decker.

Here is my main critique of the film: why didn't we get a perspective from Joi? I think that her position as subservient to, but independent of K is supposed to mirror the replicant situation that's at the heart of the series. so why don't we ever get to see her thoughts and opinions, to make her more than a cardboard thin (although well rendered in 2 dimensions) character?

Following from that, we can compare K to the humans that we get a glimpse of in the movie. In the film K is just as human as the humans that we are allowed to see. More so than Jared Leto's (intentionally) ridiculous and overwrought Wallace, who might be considered the ur-human. So we're asked, what makes him a replicant? I think that the answer comes in two forms. The first is in the question-answer sessions, a sort of lingual coding, that punctuate his two acts of detective work - it's positioned as verbal coding, but really seems more like a complex brainwashing tool. The second is in his surroundings - the hyper-capitalist world of Los Angeles, with its giant advertisements that take on the same function of architecture. Those advertisements in the film take on, overwhelmingly, the form of female bodies. The way that capital is presented in the film makes me think that advertising and branding and the market are their own sort of coding. It slyly makes reference to the 'bonuses' that K earns in killing his own kind, and also takes pains to show that K's hovel is still better (and envied) by his human neighbors.

So, when K goes out to Vegas, a modern referent to crass consumerism, he sees these concrete statues of advertisements long gone, and then fights in the ghostly remains of a show room infested with spirits of capital who in no way would be current or recognizable. It would be like a person in the 1980s seeing a ghostly recreation of a Lumiere Brother's film. I think that what this section of the movie is suggesting is the idea of our own time living in the ruins of a past that we have a hard time recognizing or reckoning with. At the same point in the movie we're also confronted with a beautifully horrific representation of drone strikes, and also child labor - two ideas that come out of our ghastly present, and that pervade nearly every second of modern American foreign policy, and cultural capitalism, but that most modern Americans have very little problem is ignoring for the sake of expediency.

So, in the end, K does something that goes beyond the wide-scale morality of the idea of the Replicant resistance - he unites a child and father. It's deeply human. If the first movie was asking big questions, then this one is asking something more fundamental: if the person in power defines humanity, then why even ask about it in the first place? Related to that, how do we present our own humanity in the face of a completely inhuman system?

With all that being said, I also understand the problems of misogyny that the film has. There are no POV women characters, the female characters that exist are not very well developed, there is a focus on the body of women that extends beyond reasonable doubt for making the points above, and a great deal of violence is directed (with cinematic precision) towards female forms. I cannot, and don't wish, to argue away any of that. It's valid, and unfortunately it exists. At the same time, I think that BR2 is a huge improvement on the original, and the ideas that it puts forward are far more interesting than the baseline existential noodling of the first.
posted by codacorolla at 7:07 PM on October 6 [64 favorites]


I have to go see this again, because honestly I was just sitting there the whole time shocked that it didn't suck. How could it possibly be good? How could it be this good?

I'm a huge BR fan, and a hater of most movies.
I went in expecting the equivalent of Alien:Resurrection and wasn't particularly excited.
I was really surprised at how good a job they did with this.
It's interesting, well written, lots to think about, looks beautiful, sounds great.
Things are spelled out a little more than I like, more than the original, but not to the detriment of the whole.

We immediately started analyzing the themes, innuendo, and dialogue.

And the soundtrack did sound like Lustmord lite, in a good way. I kept thinking "Is this really Hans Zimmer?"
posted by bongo_x at 11:49 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


A few disconnected thoughts....

One of my favorite shots in the film was the first descent into LA: this gigantic mass of dark buildings, punctuated with thin streams of glaring light. It makes real the scale of the population crash, and is one of a number of fantastic touches that emphasize that this is a straight-up dying world. Mass extinction is a key theme of the book which is a kind of understated flourish in the original film. ("if I could afford a real snake, you think I would work in a place like this?")

Giant Naked Women - both in the 2049 present and the broken forms in Las Vegas - are pretty direct statements about the objectification of women. NO ONE in this film has anything resembling a equitable relationship with ANYONE. Every relationship is about power and servitude. How did Joi become so loving? By serving a replicant cop whose big taboo desire is to be a bit more human. Her role and indeed very existence is about serving his desires, while K's life is predicated on serving the desires of the state. Sex is something to be bought. And any love outside of these systems of power - things like actual family relationships - can only exist on the margins of the world, and is fundamentally dangerous.

Another favorite moment was the point where all of the shiny-cool technology flips into being obvious tools of surveillance...
posted by kaibutsu at 12:37 AM on October 7 [23 favorites]


Within the first ten minutes I had the thought "Oh, this is actually going to be good, isn't it" and that was a very strange experience.

I think my main criticism of the film is that Jared Leto's character would have been much more effective if he was less of a cartoon villain. He could have been portrayed as a normal person who just doesn't see replicants as human and is trying to solve an engineering problem and I think that would actually have been creepier. Instead, the "uh oh the bad guys" parts of the film feel like they're crowding out the more thought-provoking parts.

In any case I'm delighted to have watched a new Blade Runner film that felt like it had a reason to exist.
posted by selfnoise at 4:39 AM on October 7 [22 favorites]


Every relationship is about power and servitude.

It's slaves all the way down; K has no power to not be a Blade Runner but can buy a hologram "companion" and she, Joi, subsequently hires a prostitute presumably with K's money that he got for killing other slaves.
posted by octothorpe at 6:50 AM on October 7 [26 favorites]


Just saw. Enjoyed very much. Overlong fight sequences and a little too much scenery chewing from Leto, I felt, but I loved all the art direction and thought the story and themes were very well integrated with the world created by the original film.

And now, an ELI5 question: Does K die at the end and if so, what happened to him to make him unable to regenerate?
posted by GrammarMoses at 12:19 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Jared Leto’s eyes were a nice visual echo of the owl’s eyes from the original. Overall, a great sequel. Now I need to watch Sicario again.
posted by migurski at 2:06 PM on October 7


Some random thoughts:
I had no clue that Wallace was blind. I didn't realize it until I watched those short films set before this movie.

I agree that there were more female nudity than necessary for cohesion of the plot. And that screen with the the newborn replicate was over the top, but I honestly can't tell if I felt it was over there top because of the nudity or Leto's acting. Maybe both.

I really liked the film though. Despite all its problemsi wanna see it again. And maybe once it comes out so I can turn on the captions because Sapper mumbled everything except for the miracle line, and Wallace's dialog was incomprehensible while you're distracted by the scenery chewing.

I would've also have preferred every major female character to stay alive. It's fridges all the way down.
posted by numaner at 4:19 PM on October 7


I still can't get over this movie being made in 2017. One of the most interesting and amazing things to me is that they made zero concession to bringing in more fans, or expanding the appeal of the original. If you didn't like the original you're probably not going to like this.

It sort of doubled down.

I kept thinking
"when is the wise cracking giant robot going to show up?"
"when are they going to outrun the fireball and jump out the window into the water?"
"when is the speech about being yourself, everything you needed was there all along, dancing like no ones watching, etc.?"

Just watching the previews before the film had a lot to do with lowering my expectations.

I would have cut 10-15 minutes from it.
Leto's scenes are too long. The fight scenes are too long. The love scene is too long.
A couple of scenes weren't really necessary, like fighting the marauders.

But I have a hard time imagining how a sequel to such a classic movie could have been done much better. I have as nearly many quibbles with original as I do with this.
posted by bongo_x at 4:50 PM on October 7 [6 favorites]


Thoughts and Spoilers:

One of my favorite bits was how we're built up by our familiarity with The Matrix and Star Wars and such to think that K is "the one" but at the end the resistance leader just gives him an "Oh honey, you really thought that was you?".

I love that they still didn't settle whether Deckard was a replicant or not.

Ford put in an amazing performance. I didn't think that he had it in him.

Did you notice the "cut corners" in the decor of the room Edward James Olmos was in?

The first part of the movie had way too many people doing history lessons to people who should already know those things but I guess that's a failure of a lot of sci-fi including the original BR.
posted by octothorpe at 6:03 PM on October 7 [6 favorites]


I've seen last Friday (the first movie I actually went to see since Basterds) because one of the Indies has a limited run, and was digesting it, so a few random thoughts:

It manages to expand on the movie, without trying to replicate it. It has some of the same themes (memories, the secret behind humanity), and it managed to look like the same universe, only a few decades later. Didn't try to ape the original movie at all - with some other IPs, I'm sure we'd have the same movie only slightly altered, with some "like sand in the desert" of some sort squeezed in. It was not concerned in providing loads of fan service.
Also, I was concerned the movie would have too much boom-boom, but almost all there is, was in the trailer.

The casting was pretty solid, although Leto was chewing scenery. Kinda bums me out Bowie couldn't be here for the role. At a point I was almost thinking Ford now only accepts returning to roles where he can be killed by his son. I wonder if that played a bit during scripting, because if it was: well played.

Zimmer didn't suck. In fact, he did a pretty good Vangelis, other than the bog-standard end titles. I would have probably signed Fuck Buttons to do something memorable to bookend the film.

It's a lot less ambiguous than the first. At least it got out K is a replicant early on. The thing I've been wondering if maybe K is the "dead" brother. Just found weird that as he was coming to terms with his purpose under the falling snow, Deckard met Stelline... Playing in her fake snow. I dunno, but it seems a bit strange as just a coincidence, and not implying some sort of connection between them beyond K having her implanted memories.

It's a gorgeous movie. I've had Blu-ray caps and hires stills add my windows background for years, and I'll surely add some from this. While it's a lot less dark, it still looks like the same world. I think I got tetanus just from watching the orphanage junkyard.

The details on Joi were incredible. Loved how she was slightly transparent, and the synchronization with Mariette was disturbing (also yay Mackenzie Davis) which was likely the point.

I think Luv is on a Kick Murder Squad. And Deckard turned into the Courier on his idle time.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:40 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


If the film is misogynistic it's because it's portraying a misogynistic world.

Yay! I got to fill out out another "War Against Women" Bingo square!

Seriously, if a movie is misogynistic, it's because the writers and director are misogynistic. I mean, it's just bizarre the way scifi fans will always make excuses for their stuff being massively sexist.

But I have a hard time imagining how a sequel to such a classic movie could have been done much better.

I dunno, maybe not be misogynistic? Or are we just supposed to find it acceptable? Maybe if fans just flat out admitted "we don't think women are worth being treated as anything other than objects", we could start from a position of honesty, at least.
posted by happyroach at 11:18 PM on October 7 [9 favorites]


I really, really liked this. What a profoundly odd and sad film. It absolutely nails being a sequel to Blade Runner. I do agree that this is not going to convince anyone who did not like the original to suddenly convert. It's also a remarkably confident in its own skin(job); not a single step towards pandering towards a wider audience or making the film more palatable or mainstream.

Sharing some errant thoughts as it's going to take a while to process the whole experience.

The small aside about the dog was really strong both thematically and as character development for Deckard who wasn't much of a character in the first film.

Like Sicario (and the original BR), the music drives creating tension, mood and atmosphere. The whole theatre shook at some of those scene changes and it was incredible. Like Mad Max Fury Road, you could viscerally feel the place through the visuals and audio. I left the theatre feeling physically affected by the film. This is the film that the live action Ghost in the Shell wished it could to be.

From the very start the story is, explicitly, about how replicants view the world and interact with one another more than it is about humanity. It creates an interesting tension at the heart of the film from K and Luv making small talk to seeing the replicants having more emotional responses to situations than the people around them.

I did think the nudity was a bit much at times but I didn't read the film as actively misogynistic but rather misanthropic - it doesn't paint humanity in a positive light. But I'm a dude so will defer to people who are better qualified to speak on that point.

Final fun fact: one of the replicants speaks Finnish. Yay, us.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:44 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


I think it's interesting that this film makes it much more clear that the people left on earth are the dregs, the biosphere is ruined, and society on the surface is non- or barely-functional. The original could have just taken place in a bad part of future LA in January, but this one puts the over- and then de-population aspect of the book much more in the forefront.
posted by thedaniel at 11:06 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


I liked this film, but I feel it's a little uneven. I think Blade Runner is starting to show it's age. The cyberpunk genre it helped found and the ideas it started have been expanded and explored extensively. Yes, Blade Runner 2049 definitely expands on the original, but the expansions it puts forth have been trod before, like in Moon, Ex Machina, and World of Tomorrow.

I think this speaks to how genre defining and how well-timed the first Blade Runner was. It's kind of like watching Citizen Kane the first time after seeing all the great films that came after it. It only feels familiar because it was the original.

Along the lines of why the movie couldn't have been told in Joi's perspective mentioned above, would the movie have worked just as well/better if K was played by a woman?

Also, a little BR trivia: There was a woman Blade Runner shown in the late 90s Westwood Blade Runner game called Crystal Steele (yes, that's seriously her name), and her intro pretty much includes the protagonist starting at her behind, so there's 90s sexism.
posted by FJT at 12:43 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


I liked it. It was over long though. I would have eliminated all the boobs (so many boobs, way too many boobs) and 50% of the run time of each fight set piece. That would have shortened it by the requisite 20 or so minutes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:20 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Has anyone compiled the entire dialogue for K's baseline test? It seems very different from the Voight-Kamff classic, but just like a polygraph, it's more about your physiological responses than your actual answers; I don't remember a shot of them zooming into K's eye, the way they show most other replicants from the past, but i do remember seeing Madam's surveillance of his swallowing reflex.

"Cells."
Interlaced.
"Why did you say 'interlaced' three times?"

Interlaced.
Interlaced.
Interlaced.
posted by tedious at 4:10 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Has anyone compiled the entire dialogue for K's baseline test? It seems very different from the Voight-Kamff classic, but just like a polygraph, it's more about your physiological responses than your actual answers

My feeling was it was sort of the opposite of the Voight-Kompf test, but it's not treated that way because the whole society is in denial and needs to think their slaves are less than human.

The VK was testing how well you could fake empathy and emotions, which may or may not have been more primitive in the older replicants, the new test was seeing whether you could keep your feelings in check. Because the whole story about the new applicants being inherently more obedient and truthful is mostly a lie, they are in fact more human and have been trained into submission.

Why else have regular tests for the baseline?
When K thinks he was born he starts expressing more emotions.

It's like most of the movie, making the inherent themes more obvious than the first film without dumbing it down.
posted by bongo_x at 5:07 PM on October 8 [9 favorites]


late 90s Westwood Blade Runner game

Which was actually really good and captured the vibe of the movie pretty well, as I recall.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:26 PM on October 8 [5 favorites]


And is maddeningly difficult to try to find a copy of these days. Maddeningly.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:13 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Digital Spy: Can we talk about a big problem with Blade Runner 2049?

I don't think those people saw the same movie I did?

Wallace has a bit of a god complex after his farming thing, and sees himself on a mission. He wants to push humanity out to the stars, to fill the galaxy. I mean, he up and says this stuff. To do this, humanity will need LOTS of slaves. But oh noes, his slave factories can't make slaves quickly enough for that! So he will make the slaves so that they can make more slaves, and then there will be enough slaves.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:23 PM on October 8 [6 favorites]


I think that is the intention of Joi. She is one caste lower than even K - K (a lowly 'skinjob) is able to buy her. However, the moves that the film makes, make us understand that Joi has developed a personality too.

I'm less sure of that? The bit towards the end where he is walking along and encounters Giant Naked Pixel Joi and she calls him Joe and they linger on the "What you want to SEE/HEAR," combined with Love telling her that there isn't as much in there as she thinks... Joi might just be a big, fancy Eliza, an empty mirror being held up for K to pour his own self and personality into. Everything she says that seems like her own personality is his own personality and needs reflected back at him -- he's important, he's special, he had a mother that loved him... Or she might be a real person. There's enough to go either way on this, I think.

This gets at why not clear perspective from Joi -- I think the movie wants it ambiguous whether there's a her there or just an it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:40 PM on October 8 [16 favorites]


This gets at why not clear perspective from Joi -- I think the movie wants it ambiguous whether there's a her there or just an it.

Yeah, one of the interesting things going on there. They kept pulling the rug out from easy answers. There seemed to be a lot of moments where he acted like he didn't believe she was real, and never really seemed to buy in, to me. Which doesn't settle anything.
posted by bongo_x at 7:36 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Ford and Leto acted like I imagine they are in real life. I love that Ford was in such a small part of the film, and a huge chunk of that he was just sitting down (while waiting to drown). And now we have a third sequel where he seems to have a kid and then hijinks ensue.

The number of b00bs was ridiculous (how much did the Vega$ b00bs cost to film? such an easy cut).

"Am I the only one seeing the sunrise here?" / "I'm the best one" are now my favorite worst dialog lines.
posted by armacy at 8:04 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Loved the visuals and the world completely meshes with the world of the original. Especially those drone scenes of landscapes where everything is either built up or completely destroyed/barren, I kept thinking "oh, yes, that is probably how it will look".

The plot seemed less inspired to me, but maybe it was just more coherent. I was very unimpressed with the 'Her' redux sexy baby computer. I was hoping it'd be Mackenzie Davis, who I find endlessly compelling, who'd accompany K/Joe on his desert adventure.

Wallace was a misstep I think. The character made no sense and seemed to have no internal motivation beyond "being evil". I was hoping Luv would do something more interesting but was just a loyal number 2 in the end.

I loved the text for the baseline testing and thought that was really well done.

Difficult bits for me: the female nudity was gratuitous, what happened to the new model, the child slaves, lots of people/beings shot in the head
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 8:09 PM on October 8


Haven't seen it mentioned but it seemed really obvious. Giving Ryan Gosling's character the name "Joe" made him "Joseph K", the protagonist of Kafka's The Trial.

I saw the society portrayed as not just misanthropic or misogynist, but anti-life in all forms. The Jared Leto's character's over-the-topness reminded me of a college-age slam poet. He lingered over his insights quite narcissistically. I didn't realize he was meant to be blind; I thought he'd turned himself into a cyborg (out of a sort of bio-hate that he also took out on the newly born replicant's womb).

Halfway through the movie I realized how lifeless the landscape seemed, but then I remembered that Deckerd was supposed to have a dog later on based on the previews. (But I wasn't sure whether the dog was a real dog!) We also had the protein-bugs in the beginning (and the dead tree) and the honey-bees outside of Decker's abandoned hotel.

I'll have to stew on whether there's something askew in my not seeing it as so thoroughly misogynistic (other than being anti-life, and reflecting a world fallen in its contempt for life, with women specifically as bearers of life.) I didn't see the boobs--for advertising, or Ozymandias style desert statues (look on my firm titties, ye mighty, and despair!)--as erotic, more as seedy reduction of bodies.

There was the Robin Wright character, though of course her character wasn't that developed. Also I noted the head of the child labor orphanage was black, perhaps building a theme that minorities and women were allowed to advance only if they provided cover for exploitive organizations.

Perhaps my expectations are set too low. In 2001, I think the only women were stewardesses and wives of astronauts--I don't think there were women among the astronauts? I recent saw Close Encounters again and noted that while there were a few women among the scientists and engineers in the UFO encounter sequence behind Devil's Tower, they stood out for being so few (though I noted how slow I was to realize how few!)

And the memory-designer seemed fulfilled in her career--certainly progress over It's A Beautiful Life where the worst fate befalling a woman is to be an unmarried librarian (an Old Maid!) So when I hear "misogynist film" maybe I'm not calibrated to what should be the norm nowadays.
posted by Schmucko at 8:59 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


OTOH, if the core of Wallace's company is anti-life, then why is the master-slave chain of command based on natural life humans having priority over replicants--who always, Pinnochio-style, wish to be more human and never take pride in their artificiality?

I don't get that. Maybe the natural flesh and blood characters hate themselves, wish they could be like the replicants made to fit in to the sleek orderly world of the elite, and then take it out on them?

I thought the Robin-Wright / Joseph K scenes got right the slave dynamic expressed in the review of BR1 expressed on main page Metafilter last week.
posted by Schmucko at 9:08 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


I guess that the text in the baseline test was from Nabokov’s “Pale Fire"
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played.
posted by octothorpe at 4:15 AM on October 9 [43 favorites]


Oh, that's the book that K has in his apartment.
posted by octothorpe at 4:20 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


octothorpe, you are a genius!
I was trying to remember where that was from (and didn't notice the book)
posted by Megami at 4:29 AM on October 9


Wallace was a misstep I think. The character made no sense and seemed to have no internal motivation beyond "being evil". I was hoping Luv would do something more interesting but was just a loyal number 2 in the end.

They didn't flesh him out much and his Level 1* scenery-chewing didn't help, but I read him as Big Smart Guy Devoted To His Mission Who Is Willing To Do Anything To Get There, of which there are approximately nine gazillion scattered throughout SF but not usually portrayed quite so villainously.

*Level 2 would be Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:54 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


never take pride in their artificiality?

Love (Luv?) seems to be proud of what she is and revel in being stronger than pathetic humans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:56 AM on October 9


So when I hear "misogynist film" maybe I'm not calibrated to what should be the norm nowadays.

I get this.

The movie wants to show you that their society is a depraved pack of slavers, so it shows you women being murdered offhand and women being sold and women's bodies on forcible display. It shows you men being degraded insofar as K receives racist and bigoted treatment, but men aren't just murdered for no reason, and certainly not just for being men, and men aren't being bought for sex, and men's bodies aren't on titillating display.

Even though this horrible pack of slavers would be doing all those things too. There would be men being sold for sex, there would be men specifically engineered for sex. There would be male Jois. There should be giant holographic men gyrating around with preposterous erections.

Anyway, my sense is that Westworld got a lot closer to depicting that sort of equal-opportunity hellscape, or at least genuflected in that direction.

My boring prediction, for no better reason than that I sort of trust Villeneuve: Some of this sort of stuff was in earlier workups in the film but dropped at the request of sponsors like Sony, who don't mind their logo being near giant naked women but don't want to be next to giant naked men. Or dropped pre-emptively to satisfy them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Exactly ROU_Xenophobe. It would have been so easy to show a male Joi in the advertising and have a few males hanging out with the prostitutes. Sure, there were women in positions of authority and more women characters overall but I don't think comparing to films made 40 years ago is a good baseline.

I wouldn't call this a misogynistic film necessarily, it's more that misogyny is so pervasive on our culture that it comes through in everything.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 5:40 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I guess that the text in the baseline test was from Nabokov’s “Pale Fire"

I love that people in the future have technologized poetry.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:49 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


I saw the film as not-not-misogynist. Like, it didn't try to not be for even a second, but it didn't try to be more misogynist than baseline. It reflects exactly how much misogyny we are soaking in right now in 2017 and either didn't notice that that's a thing at all (likely) or did notice and went ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not sure which is worse. But I don't think anyone involved in this project was ever like, twirling a mustache and reflecting on how much they hate women. They just... didn't think about it. Which is pretty typical.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:03 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


I'm on the "wow that was misogynist" train for this movie. This Wired critique sums it up pretty well: none of the women have interesting motivations. Not even Robin Wright, a phenomenal actress. She does the best with the harder-boiled-police-captain role she's got but if they'd written even a little bit better it would have been such a better movie. At least some women have power, it's not all victims, but a bit more backstory and nuance would have gone a long way.

After Mad Max Fury Road the bar has been set very high for feminist retellings of sci-fi movies. I don't expect another film to reach that high but they can at least try to do something. Her did a better job with "what if AIs were compellingly human?", and Ex Machina did a fantastic job with "what if sexbots were sentient and pissed off". This movie felt like a step backwards from them.

I'm also on the "wow that was beautiful" train. I love the cinematography, the sets. I even am OK with the slow pacing because it gives the movie time to breathe, although it was too long and a bit tedious at points. I saw it in IMAX 3D which is ordinarily not my first choice. But it worked for this pretty well. I do wonder now what it looks like in traditional 2d projection.

Also I'm a bit frustrated with the past-resurrection of the production design. We have NuPris, NuRachel, Old Rachel, Old Tyrell Building, NuTyrell. Even sort of a NuJFSebastian, albeit an opportunity somewhat lost there. Do something new, filmmakers! Please!

Now how do I light my office from above with yellow waves of water?
posted by Nelson at 7:35 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


They just... didn't think about it.

That's called failing at making art.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:38 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


This Wired critique

The comments on that Wired critique make me want to do whatever I can to hasten The Blackout.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:49 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Luv's character was a real missed opportunity. She has the potential to be the Pallas Athena of the replicants, a chaste warrior sprung from her father's head who can take up the mantle of wisdom and excellence to become someone better than Wallace's Zeus.

But Luv takes every chance she can to emulate Wallace (most explicitly when she murders Lt. Joshi with the same womb-slash that Wallace used earlier, in the worst scene of the film). When the film moved to Las Vegas and featured Medusa-like busts in the vacant casino, I got really excited that we might see some sort of redemption narrative for Luv. Instead, she mutters some corporate-speak and fridges the unique instance of Joi.

One could make an argument that the lack of character arc for Luv was a conscious choice on the part of the filmmakers to illustrate how poisonous our society is, but I think it's much more likely that it was an unconscious choice that illustrates how poisonous our society is... and that's part of what makes this movie misogynist.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:18 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


In probably a very generous reading, I saw giant naked Joi as targeted advertising and that not everyone gets the same Joi/ad. Which feeds into the narrative that K's Joi isn't any different than any other Joi out there; she is just programmed extremely well to adapt to what get owner wants her to be (to the point where the owner can assign intent and independence to her and no longer recognise her as an enabler/crutch for purely their own desires.)
posted by slimepuppy at 9:57 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


she is just programmed extremely well to adapt to what get owner wants her to be

That is clearly one reading that the film is pushing us toward, what with the repeated ad copy for Joi. And yet, and yet.

Joi is to me possibly the most fascinating element of this movie. I walked out of the theater feeling very torn, and slightly icky. The ickiness, I now realize, was a combination of the misogyny (which IMO is unarguably present, but arguably unintentional in some places and intentional-for-thematic-reasons in others) and the bleak-as-shit worldview.

Where I'm torn is what degree of sapience we're supposed to ascribe to K's Joi, because that impacts how we're supposed to feel about K, Deckard, the impending replicant rebellion (perhaps we'll see that in the next movie: Blade RunneREvolution).

The fact that this film's Darryl-Hannah-Analogue, or "Hannahlogue," makes that extremely loaded remark about "you don't like real girls" seems to suggest that the film wants us to challenge our own likely perception that Joi is nothing more than product. And though virtually everything Joi does could be attributed to "what K wants, whether he knows it or not," I'm not sure whether I think that was actually the case in the moment where she's overjoyed at being freed from the ceiling-mounted holoprojector. I mean, you can read it either way.

It's really kind of frustrating. The Blade Runner-verse, I think unarguably, says "artificial lifeforms can have feelings and individual identities." What makes a hologram different? The fact that they lack the plumbing necessary to procreate biologically? And by merely asking those questions, am I allowing too much of a Star Trek worldview/bias into my thinking about this franchise?

(And speaking of frustrating: "The Blackout." Seems like a huge deal, thematically. Was it only in there as a minor plot mechanism?!)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:23 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I think I'm better able to see how the movie's problematic in portrayal of women. For one there's no woman character to identify to give a woman viewer an "in" to this world in the same way a sympathetic, complex, and yet generic enough to identify with male lead is doubled in Deckerd and K.

But I'm a bit lost with the idea that neon animations of male bodies would have evened things out, in that's not an extrapolation of how things are now. Media for women often's full of beauty tips and photoshopped models to emulate; where one gets objectified male bodies seems most often in Men's Health type magazines, where the attainment of perfect body is often not even for the female gaze but about status. Maybe a dystopia that held a mirror up to our society would be even more misogynistic. Future red-pillers and pick up artists. There are more enlightened underground communities, but I guess that's where the one-eyed woman's band comes in--again, underutilized.

Mad Max: Fury Road was a good comparison, as was Ex Machina. MM:FR showed the objectification of Immortan Joe's "wives", but conflict was framed around that, the "wives" had agency, Furiosa had agency and gave an "in" to the world. I enjoyed MM:FR but my first reaction was that the movie was "doing" feminism in a conscious way that not every movie has to in order not to be anti-feminist.

I thought Luv was going to turn out to be the replicant daughter / replicant Messiah and was rooting for her to survive. But the actual solution did seem to make better sense of the plot.

I noted too that the present-day culture that survives in some way to the future seems to be mostly male-oriented: Nabokov, Harrison Ford's books, Elvis, Sinatra. I guess the last two could be thought of as male sex symbols (I think holograms of Marilyn and showgirls show up too), but Elvis and Sinatra maintained dignity.
posted by Schmucko at 10:36 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Joi is to me possibly the most fascinating element of this movie.

Yes, it seems whether or not Joi is "alive" is going to be a similar debate to whether or not Deckard is a replicant. I interpreted the "Everything you want to hear" scene as definitive proof that she's just programmed to tell K what he wants and not alive, but after reading the discussion here I'm starting to have doubts. She definitely had a sense of self-preservation as she urges Luv not to destroy the emanator that is basically her mind. I think if Joi were just a product, she would be much more indifferent about this, as she knows that there are probably millions of Joi's out there.
posted by FJT at 10:42 AM on October 9


I think if Joi were just a product, she would be much more indifferent about this

She could be like Janet in The Good Place who doesn't mind being re-booted, but is nonetheless programmed to panic, grovel, bargain, and beg piteously for her life, as a safety mechanism.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:48 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


But I'm a bit lost with the idea that neon animations of male bodies would have evened things out, in that's not an extrapolation of how things are now.

Yeah, kinda, maybe? I mean, okay, but grindr and tinder are things now, where men market themselves as objectifiable goodies. So I gather; I am old and married. And it would be a reasonable extrapolation of trends in acceptance of homosexuality. If homosexuality continues to diminish as a Big Deal, then it's reasonable to think that lots of people who might currently identify as straight might be willing to have same-sex sexual encounters simply because they're bored with opposite-sex nookie, or because it's more socially acceptable to indulge those occasional desires.

You might think of it this way:

The movie shows us lots of tits and ass. Maybe that's because the movie is trying to build and show a dystopic, terrible future. Or maybe it's because T&A puts butts in seats, or because the moviemakers like T&A. You could go either way. Maybe for valid reasons, maybe because misogyny, who knows?

Imagine a hypothetical movie with male replicant sex slaves, with a giant naked male Joi waving its willy around. You aren't going to do that because it puts butts in seats, or because it's cheap and easy titillation. Naked men in nonporn films, especially with exposed junk, mostly seem to make people uncomfortable rather than horny (I'm sure there are exceptions). The only credible reason to do this would be as a world-building exercise and because mass audiences (are conditioned to) like to gawk at naked dudes. Then you would have confidence that it wasn't being done as its own misogyny.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:50 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Saw it opening night and was pretty blown away. I really expected it to be like Prometheus - a bad movie with good parts lost inside of it. But this was very Blade Runner.

I agree that it could have shown more objectification of men and toned down the misogyny aspect (but I also didn't notice the nudity as much as other people, and had to think back about where the nudity was in the movie). But also, nothing in the movie felt titillating to me, as I just read it all as power dynamics the whole time. The Blade Runner universe only has characters in a small number of roles: oppressive menial labor, oppressive sex labor, soldiers in far-away vague endless war, and brutal enforcer of the norms listed so far.

Joi was my favorite aspect of the movie, but I was surprised when I saw people on Reddit taking the romance at face value. Like, no, the relationship was fucked up in a way that reflects how actual slavery and other forms of oppression work. It wasn't clear whether K went and bought her or whether the police gifted her to him, but either way I took it as an additional layer of control that was being pressed upon him by his rulers. It's easier to keep the replicants compliant if they can also have power and ownership over a person that is 'lesser' to them.

Joi was both a figurative and literal projection of K's, and there was uncomfortable ambiguity to all their interactions. It's an open question whether she is sentient, but it doesn't really matter. K shows several times that he is uncomfortable with the situation. She first appears as a stereotypical 1950's housewife, serving him directly, but changes her appearance to be more modern because he doesn't like the implications of it. He buys the emitter with his bonus money for killing a replicant (or the emitter itself was the 'bonus') and gifts it as a type of toke autonomy, but she still only appears when he chooses to turn her on or off. She then tells him that she is so happy when they are together, and he backpedals, realizing that he is forcing his owned property to tell him how happy she is to be his property. When K deletes her from the console it puts her in the emitter permanently, he clearly knows that doing so is the prudent course of action but feels guilty doing it. So instead, he makes her tell him that its what she wants so he can lie to himself about it.

It is fucked up, but I thought the fucked up-ness was part of the direct text and was surprised anyone thought they had a real relationship. The whole reason I love the original Blade Runner is because it makes you change your allegiances throughout and question the nature of the film's reality. On the first watching, it seems reasonable to think that maybe the replicants don't have empathy and are dangerous. But then wait, maybe they do. But wait, maybe that doesn't matter in the first place. It's difficult to watch and re-watch, and it is uncomfortable in the same way that thinking about real world power dynamics is uncomfortable. The problems are deeply ingrained and poison everyone/everything, making it impossible for the audience lazily pick a protagonist to root for. I felt the same way watching 2049. It felt like a real window into a world, with a story asking you to think about the world's implications but not handing you any answers.

A couple other observations. I don't think it was necessary to bring Harrison Ford back. His scenes were mostly unnecessary, especially since the film wouldn't work if it resolved any ambiguities from the first film or fully rehabilitated Deckard. Also, his child is from a slave that he kidnapped in the first film. I didn't like the movie trying to paint the Rachael/Deckard romance as anything positive (but at least it avoided totally ret-conning the first movie or ascribing new emotions to Rachael).

I also read the scene with Madam at K's apartment differently than some of the comments above. I thought she was just flexing her power over him. The whole time, he is allegedly incapable of denying any direct order she gives. She reminds him that he is a replicant, and different than the other ones she worked with before (hmmm, wonder what happened when the old ones failed baseline). When he won't share his childhood memory, she orders him to. When she asks about finishing the alcohol, she is both saying that she can walk all over him and do as she pleases, but also she could force him to play out a romantic encounter, similar to Deckard in the first movie or to K's relationship with Joi. At least, the scary threat of force is how K interprets it. Madam may believe she is "not one of those replicant owners" and that her conversation is in good fun.

I watched a court hearing recently regarding a pre-trial evidentiary issue. Both sides testified. I will leave out the details, but the white officer initiated the contact, and believed he was being helpful. The civilian realized he was a black man in the suburbs, and after initially trying to decline help, felt that he had to accept help or cause a situation. So he "willingly" complied with police requests. That is the type of interaction that is seen in Blade Runner, and I can't think of many other movies that display power dynamics in such a realistic way without bludgeoning the viewer over the head.

Alternatively, the movies are Rorschach tests and I'm reading too much into it.
posted by pugg at 12:31 PM on October 9 [35 favorites]


They just... didn't think about it.

That's called failing at making art.


While this works as a snappy comback, it is a also a phenomenal line of bullshit. Dozens of people involved in the production thought about all sorts of things and yes, made art that expressed them in this film. They did not do a good job with issues of race and gender from your perspective, but I don't think it is fair to use this to throw out (and seemingly demand others throw out) the other aspects of artistic success many people see in the work.

In other words, "They didn't think about it" means they perhaps failed in some aspect of making this art, but that doesn't mean the work is artless.

That said, I'd bet they probably thought about it.
posted by thedaniel at 1:00 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


I have to agree that Joi provided K with nothing more than a simulacrum of consent and agency. She doted on him because she was programmed to. Her emotional reactions to him were based on fulfilling his desires.

It was Love I found much more intriguing, based on her seemingly anguished reactions to violence, and her struggle not to disobey Wallace. The only violence she commits without tears comes when she is fighting for her own survival. I felt the Replicants in this film realized the conflict between their own desires and their very restricted agency in a compelling way. Further exploration of Love's struggle, or even some sustained interaction with Priss 2 could have helped offset some of the misogyny of the setting.

There is something in the movie I can't quite articulate yet about the way misogyny forces subjects (both women and men) to mistrust a woman's humanity. Like the society keeps you aware of being a "woman" first so that your humanity comes second. And femininity itself is cast as artificial unless it's in the service of reproduction, making women the commodity that generate more commodities. They rather overtly linked this logic of chattel slavery with religion through Bad Guy's creepy monologues, but they show the ruthless heart of market capitalism in the giant Joi that speaks with K. Here I think K is realizing the extent to which Joi's devotion to him is a result of her programming, just as his conditioning keeps him obedient. Even the name she chooses for him to confirm his individuality is part of her marketing, showing how she's purely heterofantasy performance. I don't see K pining for a lost love so much as realizing that they've both been enslaved by the society that created them. I don't disagree that the world of this film is misogynist, but its misogyny is very familiar and exactly what I'd expect to see from the dehumanized, decaying ruins of capitalism.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:13 PM on October 9 [9 favorites]


If I may steer the conversation back to more mundane issues....

Why did/would Love et al leave K alive at Deckard's place, where he was eventually snared by the Replicant underground, versus killing him? Was there a reason I missed, or was it just because plot stuff?
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:21 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


There are so many moments and things to unpack.

Joi's "ringtone" is Peter form Peter and the Wolf.

K's response Joshi saying "I didn't think that was an option" (or something to that effect) when she questions him refusing an order.

The fact that marketing exists for replicants to spend money. A capitalist wet dream of making a product that wants to purchase products. I wonder how much consumerism is programmed into replicants - I assume they don't need to drink coffee, or alcohol or smoke. Coding in 'retail therapy to combat unhappiness' seems like a very Blade Runner thing to have.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:25 PM on October 9 [11 favorites]


They left K alive because Wallace only wants Deckard. K is a disposable nobody. They probably figured that if he didn't die, he'd just shrug and go back to work. No one really expects him to break free of his conditioning.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:29 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


While this works as a snappy comback, it is a also a phenomenal line of bullshit

You would not pass a grad school MFA thesis defense if the literal reason your work was misogynistic was because you "didn't think about it".

So please walk your words back.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:33 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


I think that the work of many people going into a giant collaborative project like a studio film is very different from an MFA thesis, and I stand by my words. While I agree with you that there are storytelling / world building decisions in BR2049 that are bad, I also think that there are many decisions made by the giant committee of craftsmen and artists involved that are interesting, nuanced and effective.
posted by thedaniel at 1:55 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Why did/would Love et al leave K alive at Deckard's place,

Like Kitty said, at this point in the movie I was thinking the tracking device was was for Wallace to find K, and he was the child. Wallace knew he wasn't and didn't care anything about K.


K's response Joshi saying "I didn't think that was an option" (or something to that effect) when she questions him refusing an order.


One of the great lines. I think it was "I wasn't aware that was an option"? But it seems to hint that obedience is not built in, but forced.
posted by bongo_x at 2:24 PM on October 9


Just saw this last night at a (very loud) theater, and had some thoughts of my own:

Why and how did K end up with 'real' memories? If using real memories is illegal, there must have been some reason to risk giving them to him. Or had Ana just added some of hers into an available pool - maybe just for males as a source of misdirection if people come looking for the original experiencer.

What was the origami animal made by (James Edward Almos character). Looked like a bull to me. A sheep, perhaps, or Deckard's dog?

I'm assuming that Wallace and Luv knew pretty much everything about K's investigation via Joi, at least until she was untethered. Joi herself is one of the most problematic parts on the movie, as I can't recall any indication that she ever had agency beyond pleasing her owner, creating unfortunate parallels between her and Deckards pet.

There was something wonderfully off in Ryan's performance that I'm not sure I've seen elsewhere. In the mawkish bicentennial man, for example, the android's humanity was functionally equivalent, but here there was an element of the inhuman in the performance that struck and stayed with me (probably to the movie's box-office detriment). The shrugging off of physical injury and the indifference to killing was qualitatively different to Deckard's in BR1. The humanity aspired to is once again redefined as a kind of moral status, even selflessness, rather than a set of behaviors or reactions, which is intriguing (and worrying, bearing in mind Joi's fate).
posted by Sparx at 2:50 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


He buys the emitter with his bonus money for killing a replicant (or the emitter itself was the 'bonus') and gifts it as a type of toke autonomy, but she still only appears when he chooses to turn her on or off.

She appears of her own volition when K is passed out in his car at the orphanage. And when he's asleep at Deckard's too, IIRC, though I may be wrong about that.

I didn't find the nude statuary in Vegas to be titillating; it's the remnants of the society from at least 30 years previously. In other words, it's from our society- 2019. We certainly have a lot to work on with regard to objectification of women right now, and I'm not surprised Las Vegas ruins in 2049 would be a reflection of now.

Naked newly born replicant had to be female because Wallace was talking about wombs and children, the discussion is literally about raising more slaves to serve "humans". It's a scene of objectification and dehumanization whilst bemoaning the fact that replicant females can't be made to have babies; a fucked-up simulacrum of fundamentalist views of women today (no birth control for us!). I thought it was incredibly effective use of imagery in a scene that unfortunately went on too long. The naked replicant is vulnerable, confused, and ultimately murdered because she is barren. I think it's a vital, timely message about the female as a second class citizen, even/especially if she chooses/has no choice to not have the children men want her to have.

so I suppose you can put me in the camp that this movie reflects the fucked up power dynamics (including misogyny) of today, and how the future develops from what we're dealing with right now. I don't believe that a society that enslaves AIs would not be misogynist, racist, able-ist, ageist. It doesn't make sense to me that we'd see ads for the male version of Joi, from a society developed from the age of Siri and Alexa. It's incredibly easy for me to imagine off-world colonies populated by the best and the brightest, the democratic and the woke; while back on Earth the means of creating those enlightened enclaves grind on with the labor of the poor, enslaved, and bitter, out of sight.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:28 PM on October 9 [17 favorites]


I definitely thought the origami was a sheep/lamb in a nod to Do Androids Dream...

Another nod I enjoyed was the bee. In the first movie Rachel responds with "I kill it." to a hypothetical wasp. Here K doesn't react though we've seen he won't hesitate to murder humans when needed. He's even careful when reaching into the hive.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:31 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I definitely thought the origami was a sheep/lamb in a nod to Do Androids Dream...

I thought so too.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:39 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


I thought so too.

Ah - thanks - I see it now, I was icecream wrangling when that moment was on screen. Sheep is kind of...meta, though.
posted by Sparx at 4:20 PM on October 9


Also, I just have to say that they totally should have swapped out the Liberace hologram with Celine Dion
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 5:25 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Just saw it and I Have Many Thoughts. But I need to ruminate on them for awhile.

My overall verdict is that it is very good in many different ways and I love it. I also agree that there's a lot of misogyny in the film that is both thematic and probably deliberate, but also a whole slew of things that are misogynistic in how the film was conceived, written, and directed. There's no excuse for the latter and the former is only barely defensible.

Despite this -- and I feel uncomfortable about it -- I still love the movie and think it is an impressive artistic achievement in numerous respects. But I really wish it didn't feel like it was the product of a precocious adolescent male imagination. It's like it was a Luc Bresson film. But in its thoughtfulness and lofty aspirations it deserved better than this and the audience deserved better.

Plus, one of the biggest reasons its domestic opening weekend was so disappointing (only about $30M for a $155M film) is that only 30% of the audience are women.

Also, the title was a mistake. It just sounds like a bad movie. The title should have been, maybe, Replicant.

That's a lot of criticism and armchair quarterbacking from me, especially obnoxious because I am old friends with the spouse of one of the Alcon guys. If I talk about it with her, I'll need to be more circumspect. But I might ask why she didn't have a production credit -- I think she was Alcon's development VP when they first picked this up many years ago.

Anyway, I did see it in a Dolby Digital theater with the "vibratovision". That was a little overdone but, wow, I think the only way to see this film is on one of these huge screens with the elaborate sound. It was very immersive, an experience.

The Sean Young as Rachel II kind of blew my mind. It was flawless. How did they do that?

As noted, the replicant "decanting" was problematic but I do think that was visually one of the most powerful scenes in the film and will probably be iconic. It was super-disturbing and represented the film's dystopian theme perfectly.

I thought the acting was extremely good, all-around. Leto was over-the-top, though.

I also thought it was remarkable how much they accomplished in the short screen time with the daughter -- for the final scene to work, the audience needed a strong emotional investment in not only Deckard, but her. The writing and acting was quite affecting with such little time to work with. She was very engaging. (Although, yes, very much a patriarchal female archetype. Half MPDG and half virginal maiden.)

I thought Gosling was great. Yeah, that's well within the range we've already seen from him, but still: the movie practically rested on his shoulders. Any weakness in his portrayal would have badly damaged the film.

It was beautifully filmed and incredibly realized. So much was true to the first film.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:47 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


I think that the work of many people going into a giant collaborative project like a studio film is very different from an MFA thesis, and I stand by my words.

So if your arguing the misogyny in the film was thought out and deliberate, then what are you arguing? Are you saying that the filmmakers do indeed women are merely commodities, products for the use of men? Occam's Razor would ague that is the case, rather than going through intricate circles of "Well it's an oh-so subtle reflection of our society looked through the lens of 30 years in the future..." And indeed, we do have examples that this is the attitude in Hollywood today. Does anyone know if Ridley Scott has been hanging around Harvey Weinstein recently?

But it's really the fans reaction to the misogyny that fascinates me, especially in the way they explain it away, rationalize it, or simply don't notice it. That makes me feel like the debate over Joi's personhood is just a thin paper divider away from the way men question women's autonomy, especially in fannish and online culture.
posted by happyroach at 8:47 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


I dunno, happyroach. I guess I'm in the camp of 'explaining' the misogyny: it's a movie about people being treated as objects, bought, sold and controlled. Including women (luv, joi), cop-soldiers (k), all of the other replicants (ideologues and conscripts for the coming revolt), and children (harvesting nickel from old motherboards). None of these are portrayed as /good/ things for society to aspire to. I read it as a fundamentally bleak, dying world, in which probably-irrelevant individual acts of sacrifice are the closest one can come to living morally - manifested in K's sacrifice for Deckard and Joi's sacrifice for K.

Is that wrong, exactly, or am I an ass for not rejecting the film outright?
posted by kaibutsu at 9:11 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I really loved the film and thought it had provocative themes about identity, and also think that it relied too heavily on the male gaze. The film was having its cake and eating it too in that aspect, and a lot of the explanations here for how that's "all part of the message" seem like just-so stories. I mean, does anyone really believe that they put in all those close-up shots of perky white tits because it was the best way to illustrate the hardships that women face?

Anyway, otherwise, visually stunning and fantastic world-building. One outstanding thing I don't get is: what was Luv's motivation? Early on it was somewhat ambiguous -- her sympathy for the newly-made replicant/her fear of Wallace - but then towards the end she just seemed to take pure pleasure in being malicious for like, no reason? I didn't really understand her arc or motivations.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:51 PM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Does anyone know if Ridley Scott has been hanging around Harvey Weinstein recently?

What does that have to do with this film?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:48 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I do think it makes sense within the logic of the film to have a world in which sex and relationships are completely commodified, and to present that as dystopian. But as is so often the case, it would be a lot more interesting if you just changed some genders: make K a woman and Joi female, and gender-flip other characters as necessary. Because it doesn’t matter what your motivations were if what you end up producing is yet another film where men drive all the action and women are all sexualised.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:22 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]


Within this world, every type of progress (except technological) has been basically erased after the catastrophic Blackout. I guess I don't have a problem believing that gender equality is one of the casualties. In a world run by Wallace and Silicon Valley's descendants, why would you think women would be presented as fully equal? These characters are not gonna be Woke. They are barely hanging on to civilization.

Also: tits = feeding babies = motherhood and procreation. Hetero human sex, the first step in the process, is unattainable by many of this world's inhabitants. I think all the focus on boobs is, yes, titillating, but also emblematic of something lost and deeply mourned: nature. The film is suffused with grief and yearning for natural processes amid the wreckage -- cf that slightly overwrought dead tree/yellow flower scene at the beginning.
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:39 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/joi
... Jerk Off Instructions
My work here is done.
posted by yoHighness at 5:23 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]


Is that wrong, exactly, or am I an ass for not rejecting the film outright?

Not to go all "Enjoying Problematic Media 101" or anything, but of course you can watch misogynistic films (which are, like, the vast majority of them), as long as you recognise the misogyny for what it is instead of trying to make excuses for it. And don't get upset when other people make the choice to reject the film for its misogyny.

Speaking of which...
posted by tobascodagama at 8:02 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


In a world run by Wallace and Silicon Valley's descendants, why would you think women would be presented as fully equal?

This is a strawman argument. You can make art about a misogynous world without being misogynous yourself. As telegraph already mentioned: the Handmaid's Tale.

Also: tits = feeding babies = motherhood and procreation.

Sure, the film only lingered on naked female bodies because it was important for the ~themes~ and had absolutely nothing to do with appealing to all those straight men who made up most of the audience this weekend.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:38 AM on October 10 [3 favorites]


I don't think a film maker capable of Arrival, and of so deftly manipulating the Philip Dick themes of what our identity and those of others inform our consciousness and actions, can sensibly be accused of either not considering or glibly accepting misogyny. Especially when the film introduced a new and doubly-confounding theme around gender and reproduction.

Nothing about this movie was unintentional or unconsidered.

Villeneuve said, when asked what one thing he wanted the film to be, said 'Brutal'. And so it is. It is a world full of brutes, one where the symbiosis of humanity and its technology is on the cusp of either fully merging or completely falling apart, where nature itself is collapsing and its mimics taking over.

I wouldn't want to live there. It's an awful place. Villeneuve and his creative team do not stint on that message - in fact, they do it beautifully, in every sense. Find it offensive? Good. That's rather the point.
posted by Devonian at 10:01 AM on October 10 [9 favorites]


Fury Road really set the standard for how to tell a feminist story about a misogynist world. The longer I think on it, the more I agree that the film could have handled its female characters better.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:13 AM on October 10 [6 favorites]


Sure, the film only lingered on naked female bodies because it was important for the ~themes~ and had absolutely nothing to do with appealing to all those straight men who made up most of the audience this weekend.

Because it has to be all or nothing, obv.
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:51 AM on October 10


Also, Emily's Fist, the word is "misogynist."
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:53 AM on October 10


I find it odd that people keep acting surprised that the film is not blowing up the box office. The original was not a huge hit and had mixed reviews. It's not a movie everyone loves.
posted by bongo_x at 11:18 AM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Women of all demographics at the box office have accounted for a number of breakout hits over the past few years. I'd be curious to see the cinemascore with the young adult woman demographic, and also curious to see how many might have been kept away from the theater. This was pegged for a 50 million dollar opening weekend, and missed it by about 20. I'd be curious to see what percent of that is comprised of women turned off by word of mouth.
posted by codacorolla at 11:21 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Also, Emily's Fist, the word is "misogynist."

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misogynous
posted by Emily's Fist at 11:39 AM on October 10 [7 favorites]


One thing no one has brought up is that this Blade Runner to me feels a little less lived in and diverse than the first one? Part of it was just the lack of Gaff and cityspeak. The other part is, I live in SoCal and it was odd to see an LA without any recognizable Hispanic or Latin influence.

The version of LA portrayed in 2049 is kind of international, but in more of a superficial and random way. It feels more like adornment and less like actual universe building.
posted by FJT at 11:42 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]


[Folks, quick note, there's plenty to discuss about the movie including-but-not-limited-to its treatment of women; it's ok to discuss the treatment of women and it's ok to discuss the other stuff, and we can do both without going after each other.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:51 AM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I too was worried that the soundtrack would try too hard to poorly emulate Vangelis, but those gorgeous fat synth sounds holy crap. The theatre I watched had Atmos with one crackling speaker, and I oscillated between irritation at the speaker and wow who cares those gorgeous thick synths

Also, the version I saw had no T&A, because it's against Indian culture now and the naked women were all skilfully edited out. If this film had been made twenty years ago I would have seen the same version as the rest of you, but today I did not. I don't know where this fits in the whole misogyny debate but it feels relevant somehow.
posted by vanar sena at 12:41 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


vanar sena:Also, the version I saw had no T&A

So I may be misremembering, but I don’t think the cut I saw in the UK actually featured any T&A in frame at all, with the exception of the giant holographic advert Joi at the end. From that point of view the film was much less exploitative than it could have been, yet somehow it still seemed to revel in the violence done to female bodies in ways that felt deeply uncomfortable.

I do think that was deliberate - the entire film is about trying to carve out a little space for ones own self in a universe that consists entirely of abusive power structures that require & expect the absolute obedience of slavery after all - but that doesn’t necessarily excuse it.

(Also, it was kind of frustrating that they chose to fridge Rachel in order to provide motivation for the rest of the plot.)

In some ways I think the film turns on the relationship between Joi & K: is she purely a construct, or is she too carving out a little space for self-actualisation in an environment that leaves her almost no room to do so? It’s a shame that she didn’t get to interact with the other characters (apart from the replicant prostitute) but perhaps that would have eliminated the ambiguity that the filmmakers were going for.
posted by pharm at 1:18 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I don't think a film maker capable of Arrival, and of so deftly manipulating the Philip Dick themes of what our identity and those of others inform our consciousness and actions, can sensibly be accused of either not considering or glibly accepting misogyny.

Or a filmmaker capable of Sicario. There's another film where I'd figure viewers can see either an endorsement or a critique of misogyny, depending on their predilections (and their willingness to assume good or ill intentions on the part of the filmmaker).

So I may be misremembering, but I don’t think the cut I saw in the UK actually featured any T&A in frame at all, with the exception of the giant holographic advert Joi at the end.

The BBFC's website doesn't indicate any cuts were made to the film for that market, FWIW.

Now that you mention it, I'm just a little bit surprised by all the complaints about the amount of nudity because I honestly don't recall much -- just the nude replicant in Wallace's office, a brief glimpse of Mariette after the sex scene, and then giant Joi near the climax, right? Oh, and also the floating replicant bodies in tanks, but those were both male and female as I recall, with a visible dong and everything. None of that felt particularly gratuitous to me but I wonder if I missed or am forgetting something.
posted by Mothlight at 1:32 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


On the “Pale Fire” front: this reddit comment suggests a link between the poem from the book and the plot of the film.
posted by pharm at 1:56 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


The version of LA portrayed in 2049 is kind of international, but in more of a superficial and random way. It feels more like adornment and less like actual universe building.

The original BR also played a lot more on a street level. I think there was a conscious decision to show there was a world beyond the dirty, neon-drenched streets of LA. Other than K returning after retiring Sapper Morton and the first time he's approached by Mariette, we're mostly seeing LA from above, through windows and car shields. It's using the excellent world building from the first movie to build on top of it, instead of rehashing the same sets. I mean, the movie starts in a protein farm, then spends a substantial time in San Diego, Las Vegas and where Stelline Labs is. There's no visits to exotic clubs, noodle restaurants, the Bradbury Building, Deckards' old place, rooftops chases, nothing like that.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:59 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I'd be curious to see the cinemascore with the young adult woman demographic, and also curious to see how many might have been kept away from the theater.

Last I had heard, the ratio was 71% male viewership, as opposed to 61% for Batman vs Superman. There's been some speculation that this has had some knockon effect, as it's not going to be a couples film.
Personally, I imagine conversations like:
"So what is this anyway?"
"Just a sequel to the greatest science fiction film ever made! You can't call yourself a true SF fan if you haven't seen Bladerunner! It asks the BIG question- "What defines a human?""
"So who's the female lead here?"
"Oh. That's uh, that's Joi. She's um, well, she's a sexbot."
"Uh-huh. Well, have fun. Want me to pack you some tissues?"

There's also been some discussion on Twitter about how the film's adhesive lack of diversity (Oh hey, the save race is all white. Hum.) may have harmed the film's reception. The aggressive "Wrong wrong wrong! It doesn't matter!" defense by the film's fans hasn't helped.
posted by happyroach at 2:06 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


The Sean Young as Rachel II kind of blew my mind. It was flawless. How did they do that?

From wikipedia Sean Young reprised her 1982 role of Rachael for Blade Runner 2049, portraying both the original (using archival footage from the first film) and a brand new cloned version of the character. This was achieved through the use of CGI facial de-aging to match her 1982 appearance, as well as the use of a body double.
Which makes me wonder what else was left for her to do?
posted by Lanark at 3:31 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


The series of numbers -- 6-10-21 -- suggests a date in 2021. Two years after "Blade Runner 1" takes place in 2019
But the 6-10 could either be June 10, or October 6th depending on your countries date format, they always read the numbers never mentioning a month.

BR 2 opened on October 6th, is this a subtle easter egg implying that the USA along with it's weird date format no longer exists?
posted by Lanark at 3:42 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Why and how did K end up with 'real' memories? If using real memories is illegal, there must have been some reason to risk giving them to him. Or had Ana just added some of hers into an available pool - maybe just for males as a source of misdirection if people come looking for the original experiencer.

Somewhere someone says something about how every artist leaves a touch of themselves in their art.

Also, if everyone has the memory, it protects Ana.

Who polices the memory making, though? It's implied that Wallace doesn't have quality assurance controls in place.
posted by Calzephyr at 4:24 PM on October 10


Female science fiction fan here. I enjoyed the movie immensely. I think I need a second watch though after reading the comments. It was longer than my bladder could endure so anywhere water showed up in the last 45 minutes was pretty agonizing :D It was so awesome in IMAX and I didn't want to miss a minute.

I thought there was a lot of emotional depth to the movie and I found myself crying in several parts, such as when K discovered that he wasn't human. That longing to be real - I understood that.

Even Luv brought me to tears with her portrayal was so familiar. Every time there was killing in her presence, she cried. It's her flaw and she can't help it. Her line in the final fight where she says "I'm the best!" speaks to her constant desire for approval, but it doesn't matter how beautiful, smart and badass she is, she's never enough. She can work twice as hard and it doesn't matter. That was my takeaway, anyhow.
posted by Calzephyr at 5:10 PM on October 10 [23 favorites]


"The moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun..."

Pale reflections:
Moon : sun :: replicant : human.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:57 PM on October 10 [8 favorites]


Calzephyr, your insight about Luv has made me ashamed of my comment above.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:58 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


It's all good infinitewindow. It's an overpowering film that just overloads the senses and so many conclusions can be drawn, which is why I am enjoying the thoughtful comments here. There is a lot that I had not considered as well.

In some ways Luv reminded me of Vicky from Oblivion. I don't want to spoil that movie here, but I can see echoes of Vicky's secret terror of being replaced in Luv.
posted by Calzephyr at 6:09 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


It also occurs to me that Love's reactions reveal an increasing terror of failure, leading to her killing of Joshi, in which she takes out her frustrations in almost the exact way she must fear Wallace will do to her. There's such desperation in her choosing to tell Joshi that she plans to lie to Wallace about being threatened in order to justify the killing. Joshi unfortunately absorbs the rage Love must be feeling at her own helplessness as a slave programmed to obey and entirely at the mercy of a merciless "god."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:01 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I thought there was a lot of emotional depth to the movie and I found myself crying in several parts,

Yeah, for me it was a very emotional movie, I felt kind of wiped out at the end.
posted by bongo_x at 7:10 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


Also, if everyone has the memory, it protects Ana.

Does this mean that Ana knows she needs to be protected? Her existence is secret, but is she complicit or are memory artists just gonna subvert the dominant paradigm because that's how they roll?
posted by Sparx at 7:28 PM on October 10


So I may be misremembering, but I don’t think the cut I saw in the UK actually featured any T&A in frame at all, with the exception of the giant holographic advert Joi at the end.

I looked it up and there were four bits that were cut in our version, the "new model", the Joi advert, the nudity in the sex scene and the naughty bits in the display tanks. Also all swear words, FWIW.
posted by vanar sena at 8:04 PM on October 10


Does this mean that Ana knows she needs to be protected? Her existence is secret, but is she complicit or are memory artists just gonna subvert the dominant paradigm because that's how they roll?

I'm not sure. Freysa says something briefly but doesn't go into much detail.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:37 PM on October 10


Hmmm. Ana implanting her memories on purpose to cover her tracks seems improbable to me. Mostly because implanting real-seeming memories in a replicant will bring any suspicious person right to her door.

Imagine a movie in which K didn't have Ana's memory. He would have found Rachel's body and realized she died in childbirth, found the DNA, and tracked it to the orphanage, where his trail would have gone cold. Rather than keep her safe, Ana's memories actually brought her and her father into the picture and put them in danger. Without the memory, no reason to visit Ana and no way to find the horse that lead K to Las Vegas.

Imagine if K had been a little more suspicious during the interview: he could have run a DNA test on her, or wondered why she became so emotional at that memory. Remember that she said the memory was "someone's." She couldn't say it was her own (illegal) but she also didn't say it was his (surely she'd tell him this, if that was the ruse.)

I think instead she just used some of her real memories in her work, per the comment about good artists drawing on their experience. Look at the coincidences and resources K needed to discover that orphanage and find physical evidence of the memory 30 years old: no normal replicant had any possibility of doing that. I think it was just a perfect storm.

I also think that in a world where technology lets you see a replicant's memories (!), her knowing would be too dangerous.

I wonder if she was really adopted or if the adopted parents were a replicant sham. Does she really have an autoimmune disorder (she is a new species, sorta) or is that a convenient lie to keep her tucked away? I can see the replicants purposefully getting her into the position of memory-maker (think about how useful that access will be for a replicant uprising) but you'd think they would have kept her better protected if that was their goal.
posted by Emily's Fist at 11:35 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


And speaking of frustrating: "The Blackout." Seems like a huge deal, thematically. Was it only in there as a minor plot mechanism?!

I will bet you a dollar that the blackout is there because someone kept saying things like "Why doesn't he just look that up in the Tyrell archive?" or "Surely he can just scan the bones and find out that it's Rachel?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:00 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]




From that: "A titanic seawall encircles Blade Runner 2049’s Los Angeles, protecting its snowy streets from the catastrophically risen Atlantic tide."

Who wants to tell them?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:00 AM on October 11 [11 favorites]


Who wants to tell them?

Hey man, YOU DON'T KNOW. Maybe the…poles reversed and…Tyrell fucked up the continental drift…or something.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:04 AM on October 11


I will bet you a dollar that the blackout is there because someone kept saying things like "Why doesn't he just look that up in the Tyrell archive?" or "Surely he can just scan the bones and find out that it's Rachel?"

On third thought, perhaps Blade Runner 2049 is the greatest, no, the most exciting movie about records management ever made.
posted by Calzephyr at 6:49 AM on October 11 [6 favorites]


I dunno... Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made an entire movie out of the idea that the Empire stores its records in improbably difficult-to-reach places. Albeit conveniently located in towers next to transmission facilities.
posted by Nelson at 6:58 AM on October 11 [7 favorites]




Nelson, my sys admin husband talked about the back up technicalities of Rogue One for weeks :D
posted by Calzephyr at 9:15 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Plus, one of the biggest reasons its domestic opening weekend was so disappointing (only about $30M for a $155M film) is that only 30% of the audience are women.

Wasn't this slated for a summer release at some point? Isn't October when movies premiere if they're not expected to do more than break even, or if the studio decides its marketing budget is better spent elsewhere?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:33 AM on October 11


Anecdata: I love Blade Runner. Blade Runner is my dad's very favorite movie evar.

I had no idea this was coming out until the day before it opened when my husband was like, "Hey, you and your dad should see the Blade Runner sequel." I was like, what, already?!

I knew it was being made. I knew it had Ryan Gosling. I had no idea it was opening October 6, 2017 at a theater near me. If they want people to come to their super expensive movie, they do need to market the shit out of it because there are like 89,796 cinematic spectacles happening at the same time.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:57 AM on October 11


soren_lorensen:

This is something I don't understand about movies today, and I've brought it up with someone in the industry a few times. How does anyone know about new movies?

It all seems to be through Facebook or internet voodoo I'm not privy to. I don't think they advertise on TV as much, but it could be just more targeted. I didn't know the new Aliens movie had come out until I was walking though a store and saw the DVD. I don't watch a lot of shows, but my wife does and the TV is on all the time. She is a big Alien fan, and watches the shows you think would be the target.

But this happens to me all the time, not ever hearing about a movie until months or years later. That said, I've seen several commercials for Blade Runner. Maybe it's just luck, or targeting.
Of course I saw them after I saw the movie, which I learned about the same way you did.
posted by bongo_x at 12:13 PM on October 11


If you're in NYC, you are inundated with movie/tv posters in the subways and on buses.
posted by kokaku at 1:03 PM on October 11


There were about a half a dozen posts on the blue about Blade Runner 2049 over the last year.
posted by octothorpe at 1:12 PM on October 11


In here the distributor has ran a few ads on OTA TV and heavily on cable series/movie channels.

I think most of it goes through social media. At least that's how I learned that particular theatre was having a limited run with it, otherwise I'd be only watching it tomorrow.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:37 PM on October 11


Thanks for the AV Club link. I loved this line: "While Blade Runner sows doubt about reality and memory, its sequel keeps finding glimmers of the real thing in simulation and projection."
posted by Sparx at 1:37 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


How does anyone know about new movies?

I don't use FB or Twitter much, but I do use Letterboxd. Other than that it's either talking to friends or email newsletters from mid-size and smallish theaters around my area. It also helps that there's a college town audience movie theater that I walk by on occasion.
posted by FJT at 1:53 PM on October 11


"Oh. That's uh, that's Joi. She's um, well, she's a sexbot."

Not much of a sexbot if you can't actually feel her, being a hologram and all.

Interesting to frame this as a female sentient "sexbot" having less worth than another type of female human lead, since that is one of the issues the movie grapples with. In the film, Joi is a pivotal character, regardless of what she was initially designed for or portrayed as.

At the screening I was at, I would say the ratio of women to men was pretty close to 50/50. This is Philip K. Dick's old stomping grounds, though.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:10 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen the original BR or the director's cut in about 8-9 years so my memories are hazy. I enjoyed so much about this new movie, but it was uneven.

One of my favorite aspects was how it unflinchingly embraced a paleo-future alternate timeline. The original Blade Runner felt like a possible future. It took the used, multilayered future aesthetic to its inevitable conclusions. This new one has an anachronistic retro cyberpunk feeling that is completely contiguous with the original, but bracingly different from our own current trajectories. It feels possible, but it's obviously not our world at this point.

It's not even correct to call it cyberpunk. Cyberpunk, though a product of the 80s, can still be updated to include modern technology. This was a blatant extrapolation of 1970/80s aesthetics with futuristic capabilities. So many of the machines felt like a 1980s Xerox machine that would have been well placed in the original Robocop. It's such a complete, and consistent feeling that I was blown away.

This was the most fully realized and immersive SciFi movie that I have seen in years. They really did create something special. It was flawed, but deeply evocative.
posted by Telf at 8:56 PM on October 12 [15 favorites]


One of my favorite aspects was how it unflinchingly embraced a paleo-future alternate timeline.

Instead of trying to shoehorn stuff randomly, they respected the style in a sort of Fallout way. Yes, the games take place between 2100 and 2300, give or take, but they're based on a timeline that somewhere in the 50s Atomic Age diverged from ours and over the 20 IRL years of Fallout games, all technology is derived from imagining what would happen if the transistor was invented much, much later and the 50s never went out of style.

In 2049, they've imagined the evolution for the technology seen in Blade Runner. Things like the moving photos of the tree with Rachael's final resting place K holds seem to me the next step after the photos they had in 2019, where Deckard took those polaroid looking photos to a machine that did all the panning, zooming and enhancing. Of course, 30-odd years later, K wouldn't have a smartphone-looking device with an accurate 3D scan of the drone thing, he has a photo with a built-in capacity to do all that stuff on the photo itself because that kind of makes sense - like before if someone shot a photo they'd need a something to develop the film, these days you can just press a button and see it on a screen.

I'd love to see the pre-production work that went into "this is 2019 imagined in 1980-82, let's imagine 30 years of technological development later in that universe".
posted by lmfsilva at 2:46 AM on October 13 [8 favorites]


I liked this a lot, but with strong reservations.

The reservations being several plot holes (logistics of stashing the horse for K to retrieve, how Deckard lives (with a dog) in radioactive LV (only one place with that much radiation) - but no-one else lives/loots there, how K finds the spinner convoy at the end, and bunch of other ones) and that the biology is nonsense.

ALL the Biologies are complete nonsense.

There's a reason why 2049 is nothing like any of the fan theories of the original BR because it doesn't make any sense. If you can create replicants, it would be trivial to render them sterile. No "nature will find a way" bullshit*.

I'm actually morbidly looking forward to BLASTing the nucleotide sequence shown on the microfiche (DNA match; don't get me started about how this is all completely stupid to doing sequence comparison by hand) to see if it's the nucleotide sequence equivalent of lorem ipsum or if it's actually a real (part of a) gene.

(*unless you accept the retcon that Deckard was a special replicant (open ended lifespan, designed to have working sperm) intended to be mated with Rachel (also a special replicant). Slightly plausible that Roy Batty killed off Tyrell and that knowledge was lost... until Wallace acquires Tyrell Corp and discovers that in the archives... but this is stupid because if they wanted replicants that could breed, you'd just not code in the sterile stuff.

If this is where the writers were going, then I think then that Gaff knew about the Deckard/Rachel breeding experiment from the getgo and his origami piece in 2049 may be a bull, to signify Deckard as a sperm donor in a breeding program)
posted by porpoise at 10:06 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah, it's SF biology so it's almost certain to make zero sense whatsoever. But:

logistics of stashing the horse for K to retrieve

Wossname Deckardsdottir just left it there exactly as in the memory and never had the chance to go get it?

how Deckard lives (with a dog) in radioactive LV (only one place with that much radiation)

It's described as the only place that used to be that radioactive, not that is that radioactive

- but no-one else lives/loots there,

No one else lives lots of places. Everyone that matters has moved offworld.

how K finds the spinner convoy at the end

He figures they're going to the spaceport. How many convoys going the spaceport are there likely to be on any given night? I found it harder to believe that he's still have access to an armed spinner.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:33 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


until Wallace acquires Tyrell Corp and discovers that in the archives...

Comments like this are why the movie has The Blackout.

but this is stupid because if they wanted replicants that could breed, you'd just not code in the sterile stuff

Yup. It's not like there isn't perfectly functional genetic code for the human female reproductive system ready to use.

The right answer would be that the changes they made to replicants from COGV humans (ie strength, being able to pull eggs from boiling water) result in immediate miscarriage or hormone flows that prevent the uterus from forming or something so they just left it out, and that the hard part was figuring out how to redesign the reproductive system to accommodate those changes. But they didnae do this.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:40 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, germination could have very similar impediments to Nexus 6 life extension. Consider the awesome sci-fi technobabble exchange between Batty and Tyrell from the original:
Batty: What about EMS-3 recombination?

Tyrell: We've already tried it - ethyl, methane, sulfinate as an alkylating agent and potent mutagen; it created a virus so lethal the subject was dead before it even left the table.

Batty: Then a repressor protein, that would block the operating cells.

Tyrell: Wouldn't obstruct replication; but it does give rise to an error in replication, so that the newly formed DNA strand carries with it a mutation - and you've got a virus again... but this, all of this is academic. You were made as well as we could make you.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:26 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Batty: But not to last

The problem with Nexus 6s is that they were designed not to last. You can't change the genetic code to much effect after the embryogenesis/gestation, but the Nexus 8 models (with open ended lifespans) suggests that the limited lifetime was coded in, rather than an unfortunate side effect.

Replicants started getting memories and feelings and went rogue; the limited lifespan is a failsafe.

Interesting that current gen replicants were designed to "obey" (it was a text over or something) - but even here, they can still go rogue.

Anyway, I reservedly really like the movie, but its just all so biologically implausible (including... getting knifed in the kidney is fatal a lot quicker than how long it took in the movie, super replicant or no super replicant).
posted by porpoise at 12:00 PM on October 13


I've never had such a strong response to misogyny in a film as this one. I sat through the T&A with increasing eye rolls, particularly the Two Vast And Trunkless Legs of Sand Stand in the Desert. Near Them, Some Perky Tits! But right in the middle of the casino fight scene, as only broken hologram Elvis got to have a voice, and not broken hologram Monroe or the hundred holo-dancers, I realized I'd officially had it with this movie and no longer cared about the characters, the world, or any of it.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:16 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


To me the nudity in this film is almost all (all?) about manipulation, and I never saw it otherwise. One of the biggest themes is manipulation, that's K's whole life. There are constant reminders he's being played, and he knows it and is trying to go along and ignore it.

In retrospect I think there's a lot of unreliable narrator going on.

Joi is a pacifier, like most media. The more I think about it the more I think any signs that she is not just a clever program are just wishful thinking on his part, I don't think it's as open to question as it's presented. He can buy a product, and add on, to "liberate" her but there is no real world effect of this, like fighting injustice in a video game. The love scene is sort of presented as her hiring a woman to stand in her place so they can connect, but it mostly reads as him not being able to be with a real woman without using virtual porn. It's not in anyone's interest for replicants to have actual relationships.

There are many signs that the holograms are just clever programming, but there aren't any signs that the replicants are less than human other than the sales pitch. The earlier ones were immature and simpler, but the new ones seem to be superior humans created a different way.

It is not in the interest of society to think about those things, the replicants must be less than human. It's in the company's benefit to equate the holograms and the replicants as "products".
posted by bongo_x at 6:10 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


bongo_x,
I agree. The more I think about it, the less I believe that Joi had any agency. I think she was just running a program with a set of parameters that ensured she made her owner happy. The AI storyline was functioning as the opposite side of the replicant coin. It definitely seemed as though the Joi product was offered as an opiate for unhappy, desperate people on a dying planet. Sort of like a sexy version of one of those Paro therapy seal robots we have in our own timeline.

It's noteworthy that in one of the scenes, while K is upgrading her, that Joi's user preferences are visible. The program seems to have slider bars to control things like skin tone and hair color. I think this might lend credence to the theory that Joi's posthumous advertisement appearance was personalized to the eye of the beholder.

It's interesting that a few of my friends have decided that the Joi-K relationship is the only healthy relationship in thy movie. I disagree. As mentioned above, the entire movie is about power dynamics and disparity all the way to the bottom. I'm not even sure if it was a relationship. There's no indication that the world has advanced AI, quite the opposite. I think Joi served as an elaborate chatbot with a projector.
posted by Telf at 1:11 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


logistics of stashing the horse for K to retrieve
Wossname Deckardsdottir just left it there exactly as in the memory and never had the chance to go get it?

I saw it more that Ana Stelline (Deckard and Rachael's child) was being bullied by the kids in the orphanage (presumably because she was trying to hide the fact that she was a girl) and felt she must hide the only gift/memento she has from her father — a very valuable piece of wood, carved into a horse (possibly once a unicorn?). She plants this memory into other replicants (presumably those with her birthdate) in the hopes that one of them will retrieve it for her. Only a replicant who is solving this mystery would bother getting it, and by doing so, they will eventually find their way back to her.

When K seeks her out about the memory, she cries not only because she's reliving that very real moment, but because she knows that he is the one to reunite her with her father soon. Or maybe because a man is going to take credit for everything she is, thinks he's the special hero with all the memories, she's stuck in a bubble (hello, glass ceiling!) and that is goddamn frustrating.
how Deckard lives (with a dog) in radioactive LV (only one place with that much radiation)
Real animals are super rare in 2019 (radiation) and owning them is a status symbol. Like many others, Deckard loves collecting replicant ones (the book goes into this in greater detail, with Deckard learning a lot about who he is and what he wants/dreams of through his animal collecting pursuits). There is no way that a real dog would be around in 2049, esp as post-blackout offspring.

My take is that _both_ Rachael and Deckard were special replicants, with no time limits (but they don't know that). The shitty scene tacked onto the end of the original where Rachael says "We were made for each other." is on the nose, but not wrong.* Anyways, he's aging away with his robot dog, neither of which are much affected by the radiation I guess. And yeah, everyone else is offworld, whatever that means.

One other thing I loved about the Las Vegas hotel scenes are how organic they look and feel. Wood is such a valuable commodity in 2049; this is the only place that features any wood whatsoever and it's everywhere, chairs, tables, figurines.

*That bizarre daylight scene is apparently extra footage from Kubrick's the Shining that he let Scott use for the theatrical version of Blade Runner. I almost wonder if the hotel/casino that Deckard is living in at the end of 2049 isn't an allusion to the Overlook hotel. Especially the bar and the lounge where he can watch holograms of celebrities past, not unlike Jack seeing all the ghosts partying.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:01 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I rewatched the original just before seeing this and was particularly struck by how obvious is was that Harrison Ford and Sean Young disliked each other. Given that and not seeing her in Hollywood lately, I didn't expect her to be in this film much, if at all. But holy heck, I was struck by how badly she was treated in 2049, even if it was her character receiving all the abuse. I kept thinking to myself, "they must fucking HATE her." It almost felt like a bunch of dudes were in the writing room going, "She's gotta be dead. What do we do with her body? How about we bury her under a tree?" "Wait, wait, I know … let's shove her in a trunk!" "Yeah, then we can find her and burn her!" "And then let's bring her back … and shoot her in the head!"

Maybe I'm being uncharitable, but it did feel like it was a bit of meta-misogyny going on there. That level of continual violence and literal objectification, directed specifically at her character seemed really unnecessary and particularly hateful.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:18 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I do like that she is Mary though. And the new Jesus is a woman.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:46 AM on October 15


Despite many misgivings, I went to see it a second time yesterday. But, while in the queue for a ticket (I am old fashioned) was pondering the violence within and especially the headshot moment and was nope, and left the queue and cinema. Noting also that the queue was almost 100% male and not being surprised by the lack of takings.

Guess I might borrow a copy from the public library next year or so, and fast forward through the grim bits.
posted by Wordshore at 6:16 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm finding it pretty strange that nude women's bodies are being referred to as "tits and ass" multiple times in this thread. Nakedness is not porn, and even if you believe the female nudity in this film was entirely in the service of titillation it's rude AF to refer to women's nudity as merely body parts. T&A is demeaning objectification: see Richards, Keith; et al.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:43 PM on October 15 [5 favorites]


I almost wonder if the hotel/casino that Deckard is living in at the end of 2049 isn't an allusion to the Overlook hotel. Especially the bar and the lounge where he can watch holograms of celebrities past, not unlike Jack seeing all the ghosts partying.

Almost certainly. Ridley Scott visited The Shining's set while setting up Blade Runner and says he was very taken with the atmosphere and scale of the lounge/bar - and of course, Joe Turkel played the barman in The Shining and (after Scott had seen him in that role) Tyrell in Blade Runner. (And he's 90 this year, which means he's probably not a Nexus 6.) I don't know whether there was any explicit link between all that and 2049 - you'd have to ask Villeneuve, who's probably going to be sick of BR questions any time now - but there are such strong links between The Shining and BR on quite a few levels that some measure of cross-contamination with 2049 is guaranteed.
posted by Devonian at 3:38 PM on October 15 [7 favorites]


I thought there was a line of dialog implying the threesome was Joi's idea so that she could be real. I could be projecting on to her character, though. To my one year out of the closet trans mind, it reminded me of the strangeness of my few sexual encounters, where I balance depersonalization, a desire to be desirable, and a strange feeling that I'm either regressing or putting on an act.

If she's meant to be just a simple chatbot or mirror of K's buried desires, that wasn't my first reading of the film. She certainly is intelligent beyond reading K's moods. She connects events in the film to K's memories, she actively participates in reading the DNA records. I took it as a world of power dynamics and the struggle of artifice to attain the value of the real. To me, Joi is programmed to want to fulfill her partner's desires for intimacy, and her lack of a physical body creates a very real limitation in the intimacy she can achieve. She struggles through insurmountable constraints to be who she is designed to be. For her, going from being trapped in a studio apartment to trapped in her boyfriend's pocket is an upgrade. She has little physical or metaphorical space to embody who she is or wants to be.

And that's what the hologram sex scene meant to me.
posted by ikea_femme at 6:57 PM on October 15 [11 favorites]


As for the misogyny, I think the intent might have been to use gendered violence to expand on the theme of replicants being distinct from and lesser than humanity due to their inability to have children. That's rather obviously what's going on in hammy Leto scene 1.

But the rest is probably meant to emphasize that this is a future where everyone and everything is a commodity. But if you're going to throw that out there, give the time and attention to deal with it, and somehow telegraphic your intent.

It strikes me as being like movies that include
sexual assault or child molestation to illustrate a character is evil or to be edgy, but never address what that disturbing content means beyond, "This person or the world is bad."
posted by ikea_femme at 7:05 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


Went and saw it it with my wife. Both of us have friends of a variety of gender identities who felt the film was/was not misogynistic, so we were both actively evaluating it on that criteria going in. Neither of us are die-hard cinephile/film-major types, but we've both been on the Writing/Narrative teams of story-focused AAA and indie games and have witnessed the sausage-making. Both of us felt that the world was pretty clearly wearing its wealth accumulation/environmental disaster = broken power dynamics on its sleeve, and that most of the nudity served a purpose/was relatively free of male gaze. I was less certain that was true with the massive nude Joi targeted ad, but... it's a targeted ad. It's meant to read as creepy and intrusive and violating personal privacy in a public space. Presumably some database noticed K is a former Joi owner (possibly he's flagged as high/sexual involvement level) who might be in the market for a replacement. I honestly couldn't tell whether this was a case of the film trying to have it both ways, or of the whole scene working a little too well?

Unlike my wife, I found the threesome scene off-putting and overly straight male fantasy-oriented. We both got that this is sort of the movie's point - Joi is a product and a slave with programmed behavior and K is a product and a slave with rigidly enforced behavior and the prostitute (Mariette) is a victim of economic enslavement in a society which only values attractive women as products. But I felt the prostitute was WAY too comfortable with the whole thing. In my view the film definitely tries to have it both ways by later revealing she's a revolutionary replicant with her own agenda, but in the time and place in which the scene happens nothing like that is communicated. If the point was that most Jois eventually end up doing something like this for their users, and the prostitutes of this world are just used to it by now (my wife's read), then that information should've been pre-loaded prior to the scene, IMO.

Virtually all the violence against women that was especially shocking or gruesome (Rachel, K's boss) was committed by other women, which we both appreciated. Wallace murdering the female replicant was coldly clinical/Jared-Leto-facepalm in presentation, and in Luv's fights with K the camera really sets aside her gender and just treats her as a straight peer/possibly superior. Loved her "I'm the best!" exclamation at the end. I particularly appreciated both that K gets sexually harassed/propositioned by someone with enormous power over him, and that it is not portrayed as being at all on the same level as what every woman in the world of the movie clearly faces on a daily basis. Even within the lopsided power dynamic, he's both pursued rather than expected to pursue, and uniquely free to just brush it off without consequence. It's not at all subtle.

The one thing that really bothered my wife was that she had no "in" to the world - every conventionally attractive woman is a victim. Every woman with power - while she appreciated that they outnumbered the men 3:2 - was (her words) "butch as hell." As a producer/project manager in a deeply male-dominated industry who enjoys modeling on the side (for the validation as much as the money), there wasn't a single character she felt she could identify with. In a world where a male gaze/rape-depicting Game of Thrones series is wildly successful at finding a female audience via inclusive archetypes as much as Kit Harrington's butt, that sense of exclusion combined with the misogyny-baggage of the previous film is her take on why 2049 isn't reaching women. She really wanted to see a male counterpart to Joi, with hypothetical bonus points for a slightly self-aware Goslingesque "Hey girl" presentation. An attractive, emotionally-validating virtual pet that respects your agency would sell like hot-cakes to the women of 2049's world (also our own).

Gender dynamics aside, the cinematography was everything we were promised - doubly so with the 2D IMAX screen we saw it on. But as with every goddamn IMAX theater in the country the sound was turned so loud the speakers started clipping and we both wished we'd brought earplugs. Broke immersion on a number of occasions, which really sucked.

Overall a great film, and I'd be comfortable recommending it to anybody I know outside my evangelical fundie family. I'll probably caution my trans friends that they will, as usual, have zero representation. Bring earplugs if you opt for IMAX.
posted by Ryvar at 3:54 AM on October 16 [5 favorites]


Saw it this last weekend and was blown away. I’m going to rewatch original and then go see 2049 again in the theatre. Two quick thoughts:

1) Did anyone else laugh a little too hard thinking about how many Archer jokes there will be next season for Kreiger and his holographic anime wife? I mean if the next season of Archer isn’t in the blade runner universe, I’ll be disappointed.

2) I drove to work with the soundtrack from 2049 on as loud as possible. If i squinted hard enough, my life as a replicant slave in a distopian america was easy to see.
posted by about_time at 5:57 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


I just couldn't imagine a Los Angles 30 years in the future being this white.

I've lived in LA, was there a racial genocide in the backstory? Like that broke the immersion for me.
posted by French Fry at 7:13 AM on October 16 [5 favorites]


It would be darkly humorous if the off-world colonies in Blade Runner were shown to be mostly POC and they'd left all the slavery-obsessed, replicant-owning people behind on Earth. Jared Leto is a hero to Earthlings but off-world everyone is like "that weirdo thinks he's a genius but is mostly obsessed with genetic purity and making sex robots, glad he's confined to that shithole planet".
posted by lefty lucky cat at 8:45 AM on October 16 [9 favorites]


Joi is clearly presented as an individual evolving consciousness rather than just a mirror/chatbot for K. Of the movie's very rare moments of female POV, most are Joi being overwhelmed by new sights or sensations (sometimes in ways that aren't even observed by K).

The interesting question is not whether she has consciousness but whether it's at all developing independently of her one purpose as a product, to please K and reflect his wishes (which we see do include independence for her). Of course it would've been great for the movie to explore that further.
posted by kalapierson at 10:35 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


I just couldn't imagine a Los Angles 30 years in the future being this white.

I thought that too, but we mostly only see people in positions of power of some sort.
The street level people were much less so.
posted by bongo_x at 12:59 PM on October 16


You know, I'm finding it pretty strange that nude women's bodies are being referred to as "tits and ass" multiple times in this thread

Perhaps a better term could have been used, but I think the point was to differentiate male-gazy exploitative imagery (especially nudity that has no grounding in plot or character from) from the on-screen depiction of nudity for other reasons.

You could argue that using naked female bodies at all is automatically exploitative and I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but this was not a film that lingered on the sexual parts of naked women’s bodies purely for the titillation of a male audience. (compare and contrast with, eg, Starship Troopers...)
posted by pharm at 3:33 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


(At least the usage higher up the thread took that interpretation for me. Some of the later commentators seem to have used it to refer to any & all use of naked bodies.)
posted by pharm at 3:36 AM on October 17


I think the point was to differentiate male-gazy exploitative imagery (especially nudity that has no grounding in plot or character from) from the on-screen depiction of nudity for other reasons.

Yeah, but oneirodynia is right. Sorry.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:17 AM on October 17


No need to apologise GCU. It bothered me too; just re-using the same term that ROU_Xenophobe did for clarity’s sake wasn't a good enough excuse in retrospect.
posted by pharm at 4:37 AM on October 17


I believe I'm responsible for the introduction of T&A to this thread, with the specific intention of differentiating it from nudity that's not intended to be exploitative. This is the first I've heard of the idiom no longer being in favour for this purpose in English-speaking countries, so if I'm using it incorrectly I'm going to beg cultural ignorance and attempt to avoid it in the future.
posted by vanar sena at 4:57 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]


1) Did anyone else laugh a little too hard thinking about how many Archer jokes there will be next season for Kreiger and his holographic anime wife? I mean if the next season of Archer isn’t in the blade runner universe, I’ll be disappointed.

After the vice season and the noir season, a neon-and-rain cyberpunk Archer is something I didn't imagine I needed soooo much until now. Imagine what could be done with Barry.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:10 AM on October 17 [2 favorites]


Alyssa Rosenberg, WaPo: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is about learning that you’re not the main character in your own story
There has been a lot of discussion of “Blade Runner 2049’s” female characters, and whether they’re overdeveloped or underdeveloped, whether they exist simply as fantasy decorative objects or plot devices. But though broadly I think some of these critiques have merit, these elements of “Blade Runner 2049” didn’t bother me very much, because these characters generally take up as much as spaces as they should on-screen. For all its grand visual scope, “Blade Runner 2049” isn’t a story about the society it depicts, or even the replicant revolution brewing in the movie’s margins. Instead, “Blade Runner 2049” is a highly personal story about what it means to discover that you aren’t the main character in a narrative.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:47 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]


My theory while watching the movie was that Joi was a replicant, but just a less expensive model; could he have afforded it, K could have further upgraded his product by paying for her "mind" and memories to be uploaded into a body. My other thought was that all replicants (including Joi) evolve based on how much time they spend with their own kind. So Mariette (who tells K something like "you've got a very special woman" in Joi) has evolved from her work with the Resistance Replicants; their leader has the most self awareness of all. Paradoxically, Luv has not evolved much because she works alone--any replicants she sees are newborns--but she starts to as she spend more time outside of the factory and is given more responsibility beyond business dominatrix. K's work brings him in contact with older, wiser Replicants and he's interested in talking to them before he dispatches them; his accelerating evolution, in turn, hastens Joi's.

One thing that took me out of the movie that I've not seen mentioned here... wondering what, in the realm of alternate universes, is the relationship between House Tyrell and the Tyrell Corporation and which came first?
posted by carmicha at 8:06 AM on October 19


In my head canon, Ana planted the memory of the little carved horse into K's mind because he was designed to be a cop/blade runner from the start, and would therefore have the skills to track her down and maybe find her bio-Dad. She might have done it with other LEO-type replicants too. But on further reflection, that all implies that she knew something about her own biology, beyond that she was adopted. I need to listen more closely to how she represents her origin story to K.
posted by carmicha at 8:15 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


> The longer I think on it, the more I agree that the film could have handled its female characters better.

I finally saw this film a couple of days ago; to my dismayed surprise I did not really enjoy it at all, and the female characters were a big part of the reason why. Running through them, we had:

1. Sexy exposition/male worship bot (crushed underfoot, but not before the VR threesome where she becomes a real girl)
2. Soulless killbot (choked to death)
3. Delicate, sensitive artist type (survives!)
4. Tough cop (who still hits on Ryan Gosling) (stabbed to death)
5. Clone offered to a man as a bribe (shot in the head)
6. Naked newborn replicant (stabbed to death by Jared Leto because she couldn't have babies, I think)
7. Buddhist (or whatever) hooker with a heart of gold

I think that's it? I guess there was also the 300-foot naked hologram.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:57 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling the horse was fairly common as an implant. Mariette, the peach haired prostitute, is drawn to the horse as she gets ready to leave and murmurs "it's from a dream." Which really only makes sense if she had the memory implanted or perhaps heard of the implanted memory from another replicant.
posted by ikea_femme at 10:50 AM on October 20 [6 favorites]


I get the feeling it probably came with a package of implants Wallace bought.
posted by ikea_femme at 10:53 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Maybe because I just watched it but the carved horse made me think of Werner Herzog's Enigma of Kaspar Hauser where the orphan boy's only possession is a toy carved horse.
posted by octothorpe at 10:58 AM on October 20 [6 favorites]


I just watched this at Seattle's Cinerama. It was gloriously beautiful on that giant screen. I completely bought it from the start that this was Blade Runner's world. Amazing work.

I couldn't help but think while watching it, how interesting it would have been to simply drop a gender-swapped Joi into the story yet otherwise filmed it just as it was. In my imaginary version, the film gets a lot stranger that way, and the messaging murkier. Count me in though with those immensely pleased that Deckard's status is still left hanging. Suddenly, being human after all makes that much more sense, but retroactively makes the unicorn origami meaning in the first film more cryptic. I'm a little nonplused at all the talk of nudity though, for I noticed hardly any at all. Do statues count as nudes now?

The Blackout was a convenient way to muddy the plot, I thought, and I really liked the fact they felt no need to explain its details, or indeed half the film's background mysteries. I assumed the Blackout was linked to the radiation in the desert, perhaps an EMP side effect or something, and am pleased they left it open. I like those little mysteries, makes the world seem bigger.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 4:49 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


The cause of the blackout is on one of the shorts. It also explains the whole "look left and up" to see if someone is a replicant- the blackout was how Nexus-8 Replicants managed to avoid persecution and integrate with society, and since all records burned out, the only non-intrusive way was to check the serial on the right eye (why Freysa had hers removed).
While it's not necessary to understand the story and Blade Runner often works better with as little exposition as possible, it's a neat piece set in the same world.

The Sean Young as Rachel II kind of blew my mind. It was flawless. How did they do that?
EW has a short slideshow detailing the process. Young was apparently more involved with it than I thought.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:41 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


I kept kinda wanting to recast Luv as Tatiana Maslany’s Allison clone.

And this film hasn’t done anything to dissuade me from thinking Leto hasn’t had a good performance since Fight Club.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:50 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


And this film hasn’t done anything to dissuade me from thinking Leto hasn’t had a good performance since Fight Club.

According to an interview I read with Bautista (who put in a *fantastic* performance I thought) Villeneuve gave him very, very precise and detailed direction. Leto’s performance is presumably likewise exactly what Villeneuve wanted it to be.

(Can we talk about Bautista? I thought he was great - a really affecting performance.)
posted by pharm at 1:32 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Leto is so awful in this. I liked how Eldon Tyrell wasn't that strange as far as CEOs go. He saw himself as a guy making a product and that it was up to society to decide how that product would fit in the world. Which seems like a pretty common attitude today, even as social networks start influencing elections and so on.

I think the messianic/god complex vibe could have worked better, although it's been done so many times. I feel like it needs more of a techbro getting manic on transhumanism vibe than "I think I'm Jesus so I'll wear a robe and ham it up" performance. And I thought the way they made him blind was kind of gross and ablist. I get the motif/theme carryover (frequent references to eyes and sight in the first movie, replicants shown to have peculiar reflections in their eyes, Eldon dies getting his eyes gouged and skull crushed), but I don't think that's enough to justify making it a key attribute of a character meant to be morally deranged.
posted by ikea_femme at 1:38 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


pharm: Yes! Bautista was great.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:24 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Leto’s performance is presumably likewise exactly what Villeneuve wanted it to be.

Interesting, I just said to someone today that I didn't love his character, but I didn't know he was to blame. I thought he did an OK job with a bad part. But I really think a little might have gone a long way, less would have been more, with that character.
posted by bongo_x at 6:19 PM on October 22


I liked the film a lot, but the one stupid thing that bugs me is the way Wallace destroys the new replicant because she can't reproduce at the very same time he is complaining that they can't make them quickly enough. Like I don't know, maybe that one was good for something else, jerk? Maybe if you didn't go around trashing them for stupid reasons you'd have more of them on hand? Nope, this one has brown eyes instead of green, get rid of her.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:11 PM on October 22 [8 favorites]


Saw it a couple of days ago and liked it quite a lot, and quite a lot more than I thought I would based on some of the things that I'd read about it. I think that it's a film about misogyny rather than being a misogynistic film, and that Alyssa Rosenberg's take on the film is correct.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:08 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


The Wallace character just seemed pointless - he could as easily have been a shadowy figure we never see and only hear over intercoms for all he lent to the story. Everything about him and Leto's portrayal was distracting ornamentation (hey look there's something here, you know that because we're saying hey look there's something here).

I came away from this whole movie feeling meh. I love the original, wasn't playing the comparison game, It was all just a bit bleak and lifeless.

Also, agreed about Bautista - the opening scene set the bar high. Nothing really rose up to that until Harrison Ford shows up 120+ minutes later.
posted by kokaku at 9:14 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


I think two of the high points for me in the movie, in terms of the story it's telling, were K finding the horse, and K finding out that it wasn't his. Reynolds did a good job with both moments.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:31 AM on October 23 [4 favorites]


This is an absolutely gorgeous movie doesn't make much sense. If you spend two minutes thinking about the plot, it just falls apart. It's more concerned with ideas and themes. That's ok generally, but does this film a disservice.

I did love how it was clear and yet ambiguous. K is clearly a replicant, that's made plain. But Joi's agency is not. Good stuff.

Leto's god complex was annoying and terrible and really weighed things down. His rationale was idiotic: Replicants were useful because they arrive fully grown. A baby is essentially useless, while consuming massive resources amounts of resources for years.

But damn it was gorgeous to look and experience, The sound design was impressive and will probably win an Oscar, deservedly so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on October 24 [1 favorite]


I saw this last week and am still thinking about it, so I guess it's good?

I loved the scenes of K's baseline test.

I could have done without Wallace entirely. I think he could have been done just with him as an absent / infirm boss. As other people have mentioned, Luv was much more interesting.

Just delete the whole scene with the newborn replicant. Ugh.

I was bothered by the large number of boobs (especially the orgasming (?) statues? And also this is going to sound weird but they all the breasts shown looked like they were from the same person) but partly because there wasn't any attempt at all to cater to viewers who maybe would rather be looking at Ryan Gosling's bare chest?? Like I think someone upthread said, you can portray a misogynous world without making it obvious that you're only catering to a subset of viewers.

The plot does in fact make no sense. Why did Rachel have a serial number on her hip bone? Who performed that disastrous "C-section"??? As a genomicist I have serious quibbles with their DNA analysis. Also, so are the replicants that are designed "to obey"....is that just all BS from the start? What?

And yet. Here I am thinking about whether I want to go see it again.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:56 PM on October 25


This is an absolutely gorgeous movie doesn't make much sense. If you spend two minutes thinking about the plot, it just falls apart. It's more concerned with ideas and themes.

This is exactly how I felt about it. I came out of the cinema entertained but a little grumpy. The visuals were good but didn't seem groundbreaking to me (I loved the climate changed farmscape and the overhead views of the city, but a lot of the rest felt like generic future to me). The plot had ridiculously big holes in it. I missed all the misogyny as all the boobs were edited out for the Malaysian release. Leto was ridiculous. Maybe they were trying to go for a comparison with the original Bladerunner, where Roy is so over the top? Whatever, Leto and the script and the film just lacked the utter conviction of Bladerunner and Rutger Hauer so they couldn't pull it off. It was so long, I found the final action bit really tedious. Others have enjoyed Luv, but I thought she basically turned into a T1000 and the tears weren't enough to offset that. While Robin Wright was as good as ever, why oh why couldn't they cast an Indian for a character named Joshi? And what was up with the replicant rebellion, was that just a set up for a sequel? I hated that, it felt really out of place in a world where the stakes are personal, not political.

But over the coming hours and days, the ideas really stuck with me. The question of Joi and her agency, the nature of memory, how we construct a self from memory, all those things were really interesting. Harrison Ford doing yet another gruff reprisal of glories past left me cold but Carla Juri was fantastic as Ana Stelline. She played her sad, slightly eldritch character to the themes rather than the plot: she and Joi were the highlights of the film for me as they were the two characters who embodied an exploration of the ideas in the original Bladerunner.

It was more of a failure than Trainspotting 2, but also far more ambitious and interesting. It's interesting to contrast the two approaches to making a belated sequel to a beloved film. I enjoyed the nostalgia of T2, but respect Bladerunner 2049 for trying to expand on the themes of the original.
posted by tavegyl at 12:09 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Agreed tavegyl; For me, Blade Runner 2049 was a collection of amazing performances and scenes that didn’t quite cohere into a fully realised whole. The power of some of the those ideas & the quality of the individual performances manages to lift it above that failure & turn it into a film that sticks with you despite it’s manifest flaws. It’s more than a little like the original in that respect I guess.
posted by pharm at 5:17 AM on October 26


It's probably a coincidence, but I just rewatched 2001: A Space Odyssey and the callsign given by Mission Control includes the number "two-zero-four-niner."

It's probably a coincidence.

(*immediately makes a conspiracy-filled documentary called "Room 2049"*)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:50 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Why did Rachel have a serial number on her hip bone?

Replicants are loaded with tiny serial numbers. Remember the snake scales from the original BR?

Who performed that disastrous "C-section"???

Bautista did, he was an off-world medic before becoming a grub farmer.

As a genomicist I have serious quibbles with their DNA analysis.

Yeah, that was nuts, but it looked cool. Kind of like in Gattaca where Ethan Hawk does astrophyics by continuously typing strings of math symbols for hours straight.

Also, so are the replicants that are designed "to obey"....is that just all BS from the start? What?

I think both movies are partly built on the difficulty of this question.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:45 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


Remember the snake scales from the original BR?

Nope, I didn't, but I went back and looked it up. Thanks, that makes it make a little more sense. I still think it's unlikely that a field medic's C-section would leave conspicuous scrapes on the pelvic bone, though.
posted by quaking fajita at 6:58 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


This is an absolutely gorgeous movie doesn't make much sense. If you spend two minutes thinking about the plot, it just falls apart. It's more concerned with ideas and themes.

You could say exactly the same thing about the original. No matter which cut you watch, BR doesn't make much narrative sense and the world-building is shiny but pretty superficial.
posted by octothorpe at 4:51 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


And yet, I don't say the same thing about the original.

The sequel, gorgeous as it is, just doesn't elicit the same love as the original.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on October 27


This is an absolutely gorgeous movie doesn't make much sense. If you spend two minutes thinking about the plot, it just falls apart. It's more concerned with ideas and themes.

I don't think the plot falls apart, but it's not the important part. It's an absolutely gorgeous movie, more concerned with ideas and themes. That's my kind of movie.

Honestly, I don't remember the last time I saw a current movie in which the plot made total sense, often not even close, and it usually really puts me off. Depends on the focus.
posted by bongo_x at 10:46 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


jwz's cranky review is fun. "why is Leto's character blind? Dude you literally own an eyeball factory."
posted by Nelson at 4:15 PM on October 28 [2 favorites]


Just jumping in to point out that it is NOT a carved horse. It's a unicorn with its horn broken off. You can see this pretty clearly in one of the scenes. Ok carry on, just had to get that off my chest.
posted by forforf at 1:38 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population or significance, sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until – "My God," says a second man, "I must be dreaming, I thought I saw a unicorn." At which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience… "Look, look!" recites the crowd. "A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer."

Tom Stoppard, Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Act I.
posted by Grangousier at 4:53 PM on October 29


Google Now has been giving me lots of news on the film's business and I'm sort of worried about my friend. Her husband, Alcon's Andrew Kosove, said about the 155M budget that this was "an all chips on the table" bet for Alcon. And I really think that a long time back I saw on IMDB news that she was the Alcon exec behind the film in the first place.

As of this weekend, I think it has done something like 220M worldwide, with a disappointing opening weekend in China of only 20M. I remember the days when people made 100 million dollar films that had to succeed in the US and bombed with 15M gross, so I don't know if in these days of worldwide markets and streaming that 220 on 155 in theaters is actually bad. I guess things are always relative and if people expected a lot more, then it will be considered a flop.

But it's appropo given that the first film also didn't do well. And this film, I think, has actually gotten better critical reviews than the first one did (initially).

It's not money on the line for me. I've wanted Alcon to make good movies, and by my standards they pretty much haven't. The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture, but it was one of those sentimental Oscar-baiting films. So I think think that, all things considered, Alcon and Villeneuve should be proud of this picture. Surely they aren't actually going to lose any money on this? I don't know whether that figure includes the marketing budget. And I suppose that depending on how it is all structured, Alcon could do badly even if the film overall shows a profit.

But it's good that a film like this got made, rather than the franchise-attempt sell-out it so easily could have been. Personally, I think whoever is responsible for bringing Villeneuve on-board deserves a lot of credit, though I fear on the basis of commerce it will be the opposite. But if it had been a commercial sell-out, it might have still cost as much and done even worse business, lacking any critical acclaim.

I dunno.

What we're left with is a pair of films that will stand on their own merits over time, I think. Notwithstanding the problematic elements, about which I agree.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:52 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


That was unexpectedly really Christian, in a good way.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:53 PM on October 29


Just jumping in to point out that it is NOT a carved horse. It's a unicorn with its horn broken off.

I might believe that, except that when you add the horse back into the other animals in the set: Rhino, Antelope, Cat, Elephant, & Lion, the first letters spell out "Rachel". "Racuel" just isn't as emotionally satisfying.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:03 AM on October 30 [4 favorites]


Leto was hilariously over-the-top evil, and on a meta- level plays to the persona surrounding the actor himself. I don't know why anyone else is asking more out of him hamming it up, it was great in the same way that Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor was.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:29 PM on October 30


The problems with the plot not quite making sense might have to do with it have had more than an hour cut from the initial workprint. The original version was four hours long and they thought about releasing it as two movies.
posted by octothorpe at 3:56 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


And to think I had the idea there wouldn't have to be a director's cut release of this one.
posted by bongo_x at 4:25 PM on October 30 [2 favorites]


That version better have narration by Gosling.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:45 PM on October 30 [5 favorites]


I felt somewhat disturbed by the long sequence in which Joi steps out into the rain, then gets paused when Joe receives a voicemail. She's stuck in a particular pose that's mirrored later by the giant Vegas statues that completely dwarf Joe. And later, he meets the giant hologram version of Joi. I don't know what to make of all that unless the intent was only to show how Joe feels diminished and vulnerable.

I'm super disappointed to hear that there won't be another cut of this movie, because the filmmakers did evoke a dreamlike feeling, and clearly cared about what the film was conveying metaphorically. I can't help but to feel that there is vital missing information from the 90 minutes that were cut.

Something that interests me is who gets to be emotionally expressive in these films, and when and why, because so little emotion is shown.
posted by heatvision at 4:24 AM on October 31


I went to see this last night and then I had to spend two hours carefully unrolling my eyebrows back down from my hairline. It's not too long since the last post on here so in the interest of communication here are some of my feels. Not that I'd want to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the film - and I'm sure I couldn't - but really, ten minutes in and it was all android eating ritz for me - the Prissalogue character says this doesn't she? - and after that, nothing about the film sat right*. It was like that time I watched The Grey with my daughter, and I'm banned from talking to her now when we're watching a film.

1. So here we are in a high tech future. We have a superstrong perfectly engineered being surrounded and protected by a resistance movement of highly skilled workers. Anyone want to explain the mechanism of dying in childbirth here? What did she die of, blood loss? Or that the android body couldn't perfectly analogise the female reproductive system? Well unless there are tons of human biosystems where that's the case - digestion, ejaculation, eye moisture, touch etc - aging - explained to us from within the film this is pure handwavium. It reminds me of George Lucas explaining to Carrie Fisher how in the future there won't be any bras in space. I felt this was a really gross and stupid plot point, especially since:

2. Have the production team not seen a pregnant woman at term?** Can they explain what sort of caesarean results in scalpel marks on the pelvis? The logic of fridging here overcomes all other logic, including the logic of common sense.

3. Film eating crackers time, I really hate being pummelled into correct attitudes by incidental music. I thought the use of the music was hamfisted as fuck.

4. I didn't find it beautiful. I found it over designed, thanks.

5. The world building. Unconvincing. Unlooted Las Vegas, as someone mentions above. The recycling children. Are they androids? We've seen a new-made android and it was adult. How come children are easy to come by, abundant and low value, in this devastated world?*** HOW COME THIS DEVASTATED WORLD HAS AUTOMATED RUBBISH COLLECTION? How come there IS so much rubbish? In the west we don't experience the breakdown of infrastructure much, there are some plausible movie depictions of it, this wasn't that. I mean, the culture of the feral kids in Mad Max is entirely convincing. A bunch of bald touchy-feely silent kids sitting in circles in a tent is not.

6. The fucking sexism. Fuck that. It's been discussed enough above already. But I actually kept thinking about the Weinstein scandal watching this film, how these attitudes to women are all on the same continuum, and how they inform the treatment of actresses. Retrograde.

7. It's possible people have found explanations online for the plot holes and problems. But for me, if you have to research outside of a film in order to understand it, that film has failed in filmic terms.

8. I was so cross about the caesarean macguffin I went and looked it up just now. Here is a sober but graphic step by step account of the process of a caesarean. If anyone can explain how this leaves scalpel marks in your hip bones I'll be interested to read it.
For the sake of the plot, there needed to be evidence of a pregnancy. Is one not spoilt for choice about what evidence could have been? It's just so retrograde that the filmmakers minds immediately went to a/ removing a female seen as surplus to the plot b/ death in childbirth. Oh women, so weird and odd and anomalous they just can't help being dead all the time!

9. And another thing, android film eating crackers! Have you not seen how many keys aren't even level in an old piano with deteriorating felts?

10. The film long man, cha

11. Grrr


* Apart from Dave Bautista and Robyn Wright. And maybe Harrison Ford and the dog for old times' sake.
** I'm guessing not.
*** Lots of adults died and left children behind? What would have killed them without killing entire families? And if they all died HOW COULD THERE BE ANY NEW CHILDREN?
And also, why wouldn't there be adults trying to scrape a living from recycling? How could the adults possibly all be macho scavenger-hunters?


I put off watching Disco Trek this week cos I'm so scared it may do something disappointing. More scared now.
posted by glasseyes at 5:28 AM on November 1 [4 favorites]


And one last thing. I found the snark in the script made the whole thing come across as juvenile. What, was it written by teenagers?

>:7(
posted by glasseyes at 5:54 AM on November 1 [1 favorite]


Just another really last thing. Someone above objects to casual use of the phrase 'tits and arse' and I agree. I also think it would be great if it could become a Metafilter thing to replace all use of the word 'prostitute' with 'sex worker'. It's far more respectful and indicates the mutuality and economic context of the transaction involved.
posted by glasseyes at 7:53 AM on November 1 [1 favorite]


Blade Runner 2049 Losses Could Hit $80 Million for Producer Alcon

Ugh. Sony will do okay because their deal was front-loaded. So Alcon's only chance to recoup their investment is back-end profits, which will be slim.

I don't question the decision to make the film, although I think it was too expensive.

But I don't understand why Alcon thought this could be a franchise. This is like some kind of sickness afflicting Hollywood, the desire to emulate Disney's cash cows. It's leading people to grasp at straws. This was never going to be a franchise. And, assuming I'm wrong and it could have been, it sure wasn't go to be with this script and director and film.

Incidentally, Alcon produces The Expanse with their new television division. It's kind of a similar thing -- high quality, good reviews, what the fans wanted, but not the hit that would justify the investment.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:55 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Out of courtesy to my fellow moviegoers, I did not yell out "Oh come on!" when I noticed that the giant naked statues were wearing high heels.
posted by ckape at 10:41 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


I went and saw it a second time and love this movie.
My favorite kind of movies unfold and you don't know what's happening as they go along. A second viewing can expose all the weaknesses so it falls apart, or reinforce the strengths. This one is one I'll be watching many times.

There's a lot going on here, and I had different opinions about some things the second time.
posted by bongo_x at 10:09 PM on November 12


Luv nearly imperceptibly flinched, and grimaced, when Wallace killed the newborn Replicant. When he walked past her, calling her, 'the best angel', her eyes were terrified, her body stiff.

As clear a demonstration as any that she, ultimately, is disposable.

She takes it out on Madam, and morgue guy, in spectacularly gruesome fashion. She could, clearly, easily dispatch K, but she does not.

Of Joi, recall Mariette's post-coital comment: "Quiet now -- I've been inside you. Not as much there as you think." We see, several times, the ads for Joi, calling out that she delivers everything "you" want. And yet, until that final scene between K and the giant Joi hologram, it doesn't really hit us that, all this time, Joi has been delivering a performance within very defined boundaries.
posted by gsh at 5:05 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


My take on the sexualization of women in the movie is that it's part of the general decadent, degenerate, hyper-consumerist dystopian society that seeks to escape its troubles through any way possible. Future Vegas having huge tawdry nude statues isn't exactly the craziest concept. So it's troubling but the gratuitousness does make sense. And I interpreted the sex scene as intentional alien and pathetic, the attempt of demi-human beings - one of them questionably sentient - attempting to act human. A sad testament to a world that has debased both humanity and its creations.

On the other hand, the violence against female characters specifically is brutal and felt excessive. Luv is the terminatrix so fine, that makes sense. But Wallace's opening scene to new Rachel's curt execution? The callousness is part and parcel of the setting, but it all seems way too focused on female characters. Other than Bautista at the beginning, there's no similar violence inflicted on male characters. Well, there is on K, but he's the action hero so it's expected. (I did like the comment that making him an upgraded model just means he takes more punches.) Whereas the female characters not only have limited to no agency, there's also a lot of violent imagery.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:19 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]




I liked the film a lot, but the one stupid thing that bugs me is the way Wallace destroys the new replicant because she can't reproduce at the very same time he is complaining that they can't make them quickly enough. Like I don't know, maybe that one was good for something else, jerk?

I agree this was wasteful and stupid and misogynist, but I don't think the reproduction problem is a reason why. He's frustrated because he needs millions and can only make thousands. Whether he preserves or kills those two isn't going to make any difference in that problem.
posted by straight at 10:23 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Giving Ryan Gosling's character the name "Joe" made him "Joseph K", the protagonist of Kafka's The Trial.

Ooo. Nice catch.

Can they explain what sort of caesarean results in scalpel marks on the pelvis?

That really bothered me too.

I also had trouble staying with the movie in several places where I wasn't sure if the movie was ignoring the almost certainly ubiquitous surveillance Gosling would have been under, or if it was a plot shoe waiting to drop. Especially:

1. Luv mentions to Gosling that Joi is one of their products. Which means they would for sure be able to listen to everything he says to her about the horse and believing his memories are real, that he'd been a Real Boy.

2. At the end when Gosling just takes Deckard to see his daughter. Nobody's going to notice that? That doesn't put her at enormous risk? I suppose him lying down in the snow was supposed to be beautiful, but I was too busy yelling in my head, "Get away from there! They're watching you!"
posted by straight at 10:34 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I also had trouble staying with the movie in several places where I wasn't sure if the movie was ignoring the almost certainly ubiquitous surveillance Gosling would have been under, or if it was a plot shoe waiting to drop.

I took that as one of the plot points. On second viewing it was much more obvious to me what gsh said about Joi, her only other role being to pass on information about K to Wallace. A futuristic Alexa or Siri. I thought was the point of the scene where the Wallace people show up in Vegas. The first time I thought they were there to get K, but they were after Deckard. Joi's role seemed to be to push him to investigate, and they knew where he was without the tracking device. Most of the idea that he is the born one comes from Joi.
posted by bongo_x at 12:48 PM on November 14


Maybe it's a convenient plot contrivance, but I'm glad in keeping with the retrofuturistic nature of the movie and franchise that they didn't have stuff that directly mapped to our contemporary techno-fears, besides maybe drone strikes. Just like how they we didn't see their internet. I also originally thought Joi was going to turn out to be an evil A.I. that the megacorp was directing to lure and trap K, and was presently surprised that there wasn't such an obligatory twist.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:55 PM on November 14


Does the internet exist in the world of Blade Runner?

We're assuming their is a connected network, but perhaps there's not. Maybe their is no mass surveillance apparatus. Maybe all surveillance must be done directly without the help of interconnected databases.

The really secret tragedy of Blade Runner is that they live a universe without the internet of things. No Juceros, no Teforia no Lovense audio recording sex toys. Those poor bastards can use any ink cartridge they want and can put unapproved dishes in their IOT dishwashers.

::Shudders::
posted by Telf at 6:30 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I don't know about mass surveillance, but Luv was at least tracking Joi enough to know immediately when the antenna snapped and she went off the grid. Of course, if Wallace has records of K's interactions with Joi, then he'll know about the horse and can presumably have his own records searched to see how that memory got implanted in the first place.
posted by ckape at 9:28 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


general decadent, degenerate, hyper-consumerist dystopian society that seeks to escape its troubles through any way possible
No massive naked objectified statues of men then huh. Just a hard grey cop lady flirting with the idea of sexing her android. Nothing too graphic in case that made the male half of the audience feel, I dunno, assaulted?
posted by glasseyes at 7:34 AM on November 15


The thing is, it's quite clear in the script a woman can buy male pleasure models - see Luv's interrupted conversation with a client the first time we see her. For some completely unknown reason* the filmmakers didn't think that deserved visual representation of any kind.
* Ron Howard voice: we know the reason
posted by glasseyes at 7:38 AM on November 15


I get crosser and crosser the more I think of the caesarean because androids being able to reproduce is such a huge plot point. You'd think they might have worked out enough about the physiology involved to have at least a nuts-and-bolts idea of what parts of the body are involved and what bodily systems support them, and thus what changed so the baby could be born.

Do female androids have periods? Do males ejaculate? Do they make sperm? Are all the relevant tubes patent, and are female androids born - come online - whatever - with a full complement of ova? Because if not, that baby couldn't have got conceived, and if so, how come an android baby is this impossible thing? And, if androids can grow from childhood to adulthood like in the orphanages and the flashbacks why don't they ... sputter... I'm not convinced the filmmakers had a line of thought here that's able to be followed.

There's no evidence in the film that they spent even the tiniest moment thinking this through. Or thinking it was relevant to the plot. Women have babies, only god knows why or how, it's the mystery of life, which androids, with their yearning towards humanity, may one day achieve if they want it very very much. Souls are in there somewhere or other, which the androids if they're sensitive enough may also aspire to.

I don't even know why I'm so cross, it's only fiction. But as SciFi, I think it's lame. There is no sci, only miracles. As a portrait of a world, I think it's offensively sexist. And as a plotted work of narrative fiction, it makes me grind my teeth from the handwavium of basic physical facts. It's not as if we weren't all born.
posted by glasseyes at 8:24 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


I don't even know why I'm so cross, it's only fiction.

Because the central plot point is that replicants can suddenly have kids, which will wreck the natural order or some BS. Sure, humans can bioengineer the human body down to being able to control mental states to an extent, but baby making is such a mystery! Thematically it works, but literally 2 seconds of thought completely making the plot look incredibly stupid.

Far simpler would have been making all Replicants sterile, but now the Replicants have figured out a way around that and can not only reproduce, but control when to reproduce across a wider time frame than humans, along with stronger bodies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:12 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


There is no sci, only miracles.
You newer models are happy scraping the shit... because you've never seen a miracle.
"Only miracles" is the point.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:04 PM on November 16


I mean, the narrative problem is "How do we look at a 20 year old skeleton in a box and figure out it died in childbirth?" This could be solved in other ways than direct forensic evidence, though?
posted by kaibutsu at 10:12 PM on November 16


"Only miracles" is the point.

Such a disingenuous point. Miracle-Fi huh. I'm deeply, deeply suspicious of being asked - proselytized - to believe in miracles. Particularly when that's matched to complete obliviousness to women's autonomy, and a naive and stubborn and inexcusable ignorance of mechanics of reproduction. That quote has crystallised the ickyness for me, and its political analogues, so thanks.

"How do we look at a 20 year old skeleton in a box and figure out it died in childbirth?"
How do we look at a 20 year old skeleton in a box and figure out it died of a brain tumor? I know, lets split the skull in half and leave scalpel marks all over the inside.

I think what I find really offensive is that the showrunners thought it wasn't necessary to find out anything about the medical background of what they proposed. Mysterious wombs, who knows how they work?
posted by glasseyes at 2:19 AM on November 17 [2 favorites]


All Snowflakes Must Melt: “Blade Runner 2049” - article in the LA Review of Books by
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun.
posted by tavegyl at 5:43 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]




Do female androids have periods? Do males ejaculate? Do they make sperm? Are all the relevant tubes patent, and are female androids born - come online - whatever - with a full complement of ova? Because if not, that baby couldn't have got conceived, and if so, how come an android baby is this impossible thing?

The most sensible explanation would be (1) that replicants have DNA and everything that ought to produce functioning reproductive systems, but doesn't for some reason they haven't figured out yet, or (2) the systems seem to grow correctly, but replicant eggs and sperm never produce viable zygotes, again for some reason they can't figure out. The bad guy slashing open the "failed" female replicant seems to imply the first, but the second would make more sense with Rachael being able to conceive without anyone knowing it was possible.
posted by straight at 5:03 PM on November 28


Rather than make it some damn mystery, just have Replicants being intentionally made sterile, to control the population. But after a while the replicants figured out a way around that boom, the same problem exists, without the ridiculous "But we don't know how to make Replicants reproduce, despite bio engineering them down to the cellular level".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:19 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that Blade Runner biology from either movie holds up to any kind of close examination.
posted by octothorpe at 5:28 AM on November 29


Indeed, and it was far from the point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:00 AM on November 29


« Older Movie: Gerald's Game...   |  Podcast: Radiolab Presents: Mo... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster