“Every leap forward in human history is built off the backs of a disposable workforce”- Niander Wallace
Blade Runner is a science fiction classic. The fans of the original film have been waiting in anticipation for this sequel. I count myself among those fans. When I first heard about the new Blade Runner in the works, I was very skeptical. As readers of this blog know, I am a big science fiction fan. Fans of this particular genre are notoriously unforgiving. Before getting into the details, I am grateful to say that these fears were unfounded. Blade Runner 2049 is a great film.
The first thing that I must say, is that you had to have seen the original Blade Runner in order to truly appreciate this film. I mean, you can go in cold, but there will be so many nuggets that you’ll not be in on. Blade Runner 2049 takes place thirty years after the original film, following the state of affairs of a post-apocalyptic world. A Blade Runner is a nickname for a police officer that hunts down rogue Replicants- bioengineered androids who were designed by the Tyrell Corporation. Created as full fledged adults, these replicants are stronger and smarter than humans- designed to work in the inhospitable off-world colonies. BR 2049 picks up with enormous background by showing how an unethical corporate successor, the Wallace Corporation built on the work of the Tyrell corporation.
Among the most impressive aspects of this film is how visually stunning it is. It depicted overcrowded cities, and depicted the results of decades of ecological collapse in a plausible manner. In extending the Blade Runner universe, we saw much more of the state of the world outside of the futuristic Los Angeles. Contrasting the imposing structures that Blade Runner is known for depicting, and the vast wastelands of the outer city, extrapolating the societal divide that could very well persist into the middle of this century. BR 2049 shows a terrifyingly unchanged world, with militarized police and corrupt mega corporations responsible for mayhem. It even showed the return of child labor. In a different and broader focus than the original, this film dealt with the themes of slavery, freedom, and the meaning of person hood. The social commentary, as in the original is strong.
What may be a downside to some people is the length of this film. There were a few parts that dragged, but in my opinion it did not take away from the overall experience. It doesn’t feel quite right to complain about a long movie in 2017 when the trend is the opposite. Although this film didn’t do that great at the box office, Blade Runner 2049 is a satisfying watch. I can definitely see myself picking up the DVD when it comes out.
In thinking about how this film will be received, its nearly impossible to see it and not think of our current world situation. In seeing passing news headlines, it feels like we just might be in a version of the “worst of all possible worlds”. When we live in a country where a Black person can be charged with a felony for getting jumped by a racist mob, who needs Dystopian fiction? Just saying.
Blade Runner 2049 is a good film, and a worthy sequel to the 1982 original. If you’re a fan of the original, its a must see. Aside from the comic book films, Blade Runner 2049 is likely the best science fiction film of 2017.