Yeah, Genchu! Where the heck were you??
Do you like scifi police procedurals? Well, Blade Runner 2049 is pretty rad. Although it’ s hard film to recommend because its oppressive sound design, slow pace, and exceedingly long run time of 2:49 hrs could be a major turn off to many.
But it’s so darn beautiful. I honestly enjoyed it more than the original Blade Runner, which is a movie I’ve always appreciated for the visuals and atmosphere but felt otherwise lukewarm on because I find it to be Harrison Ford’s worst acting to date (seriously, he’s so hard to watch in it), and there’s just not enough of the more interesting characters on screen, namely the replicants. 2049 could be seen as derivative, as it’s admirably mimicking the original film’s visual style, but also expanding on it and the world. A LOT of the narrative details are left abstract in the sequel, but the same is true in the original, probably even more so. What 2049 seems to do much better than the original is give us some empathy for the main character, as well as a more cohesive narrative overall (one that didn’t require seven different edits post theatrical release). I do want to bring up the controversial ambiguity of the first film and how it affects the sequel, so SPOILERS.
In the original film, Ford’s character, Deckard, is either a replicant or a human depending on if you ask the director or the screen writer. The sequel does not give a definitive answer to the question of his biological makeup, but does make it clear that Rick Deckard and his love interest Rachael, from the first movie, had a child. This is a big deal in the sequel as there is a replicant revolutionary movement brewing. The whole crux of the planned revolution is that replicants can have children, and therefore do not need to rely on humans for survival and can break free of enslavement.
The thing is, if Deckard IS a human, that means we still don’t know if replicants definitely can reproduce without humans. All we know is that female replicants, or maybe just Rachael specifically, can carry a pregnancy to term, but we don’t know if it requires a human male. If it does, the replicant revolution could potentially run into some problems. Since the replicant uprising is a major world building story thread, I wish 2049 had given us a specific answer on Deckard. Another solution would simply have a second example of two known replicants creating a child, although that might have made the significance of Deckard’s child less narratively important.
Personally, I’ve always thought Deckard was human, and the idea that he had attributes of replicants or could fall in love with one showed that the perceived difference between humans and replicants was more self imposed than a societal necessity.
Also, the manga Pluto is, like, incredible. I recently finished it, and was consequently filled with real human emotion. It’s basically an alternate universe Astroboy story with heavy themes and a bit of serial murder. I admittedly know little to nothing about Astroboy, but that did not stop me from enjoying Pluto. The premise is that humans have created advanced robotic lifeforms that now live alongside humanity. The more advanced robots look just like humans, but that hasn’t stopped good old prejudice from creating a bit of social strife. Among all this, a mysterious figure starts serial killing all of the world’s most advanced robots, one of whom is Astroboy (or Atom, as is his original Japanese name). The artwork is incredible and the story is gut punching. It’s like a mix of Bladerunner and Silence of the Lambs, with some classic shonen heroics thrown in for good measure at the end. I can’t recommend it enough! And if you hate reading manga, there’s an anime scheduled for 2020.Published on by Alex Kolesar