Blade Runner 1 and 2049 dual review

Blade Runner rated: 3.5/5
Blade Runner 2049 rated: 3/5

Like the first film, this one ended up bombing at the box office, even though it’s ranked at #1 for the weekend (well thank fuck not that many dumbass kids and fucking bronies are giving My Little Pony that much fucking money). Will it gain as much of a cult following and reach the same level of fame as its predecessor? Or will it just be remembered as a meh movie? Only time will tell. Until then, here’s my opinion.

So I was going to be very disappointed in this film if it didn’t at the very least provide a visual treat that is pure ecstasy for the eyes. Not only because the first film was also that, with intense attention to detail, but also because it provided a way to make both things that are pleasant and/or horrible (death, pollution) beautiful to look at. There is beauty even amidst suffering and a toxic environment. Not only because of that, but also because the first film had a theme that was all about the eyes. That film opened with a visual shot that ended up being a first person perspective of the city of Los Angeles 2 years from now (hey, it could still happen), and showcased this by switching from a view of the city, to a view of the eye that reflects the city. This film opens in a similar way, minus the fire and smoke. It opens with an eye. I’m honestly not sure why, because if it’s supposed to be the main protagonist’s eye, which was my assumption, then it shouldn’t have started with Gosling asleep at the wheel, with his eyes closed. Fuck advertisements against drinking and driving, they need advertisements about not sleeping at the wheel!

“But the flying vehicle is on auto-pi–“
I don’t care!

Anyway, the first film had a lot of instances with regards to “eyes,” which is a central theme/symbol in that film. Not just with the showing and highlighting of the eyes, but also the discussing of them.

 

Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, only uses “eyes” as a brief callback to the first film, in only 2 scenes. I didn’t catch anything particularly re-ocurring objects throughout the film in that way, at least not on this watch.

That being said, as I had hoped, this film is fantastic from a visual perspective. The special effects, set designs, all fantastic. One of the best-looking sci-fi films since Tron: Legacy. And aside from some scenes in the city, the film largely carries a different color scheme to it, a different atmospheric film, than the first one. That’s not a bad thing, because it looks great in any case. Plus we actually get a look outside Los Angeles in this film. Usually foggy, sometimes an orange color.  Both films use atmosphere and visuals as their primary strength, becoming a mood-piece, leaving the plot and characters secondary, and this works to their advantage since both films have their own share of plot holes (more on that in a moment).  It makes it easier to overlook those flaws in that way.  How scenes drag on and let the music carry you, how the sound effects carry you, how the pleasant visuals allow you to settle into and take in all that there is in each well-crafted sequence.  Letting the colors dominate to create a particular mood, almost making things dream-like.  This is when both films are at their best.  In the case of the previous film, the mood of it is dream-like, but slowly becomes more and more like a nightmare (with less music to lighten the mood I might add), before rising back up to its dream-like quality, and then having the final sequence take place in silence as if the dream is over, we are awake, and on edge, wondering what will happen next.

The 2049 film follows this aspect for the first half of its runtime, but becomes more plot/character driven during its latter half (with a couple scenes here and there that return back to the welcoming atmospheric style), which ends up being to its detriment because then one has to consider the problems with the plot if there’s going to be heavier focus on it.

But make no mistake, the previous film has some plot holes (or at least some leaps in logic) as well.  It may be a masterpiece, but it’s a flawed masterpiece.  For starters, why the fuck would they be designing androids to look exactly like humans? Pleasure models I can understand, but models made for work and labor, why? Not to mention why the fuck they would program them to act real and have emotions? Seems to me like a lot of the problems brought up in these films would be solved if they stopped making robots look and act human, since it brings no logical benefit. I mean seriously, how are they profiting off of these things if they’re going to make this many? Does the robot labor force make so much profit that the Tyrell Corporation have no problem putting the entire workforce at risk by giving them emotions and making them all look and act human, giving all of them unique looks and personalities in the process? Granted, this film mentions the aftermath of all that and how it lead to Tyrell going bankrupt and being bought out by some other company, that would continue to make the exact same fucking mistakes that Tyrell did before going under!

Another problem with both films is the security issue. Not just in the city air, but also inside actual security buildings! In both films, an employee/employer of importance within the company gets blasted/knifed/thumbed into oblivion, while inside the security building, and the perpetrator gets away each fucking time in each fucking movie! That’s just insane! Did Los Angeles turn into Mega City One or something?

As for the flaw unique to this film, it’s more of a storyline and thematic issue. As a sequel, it is mandatory to compare this to the first film, and consider how it’s going to develop the story/world/lore/character(s). In terms of developing the theme, it honestly doesn’t. The theme of the first film is if artificially created beings are capable of being human, of being alive, of feeling/giving love, etc. This film is basically the same thing, except limited to Ford’s and Gosling’s characters. Any other (supposed) replicants don’t count because they’re not given enough screen time to matter, even if it happens in one scene for the sake of sequel-baiting. It doesn’t take the theme in any other meaningful direction that expands from the first film, except that it ignores the religious aspect of fallen angels from heaven, and implies robots will eventually fight back and threaten to take over the world. That’s bullshit, and that only belongs in Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and Planet of the Apes films.

Also it relies too heavily on the existence of the first film. I’m not talking about building off of established plot/world/characters; I’m talking about the last scene ending not only on a character of the past film, but also not ending on any note that is thought-provoking and/or conversation-starting like the first film did, let alone making you view the film differently on a second viewing knowing what you know after a first view. Speaking of that, if you’re wondering whether or not this film answers the question definitively if Deckard’s a replicant or not, to my surprise, it doesn’t. It actually handles Deckard’s character in such a way it would be the same whether he was a human or replicant. So viewers can look at this movie with either conclusion they arrived at after seeing the first film.

That aside, the pacing was well-done in the 2049 film. It starts at a crawl, but starts to kick into gear about 30-40 minutes in when Gosling’s character arrives at a junkyard.

Back to the visuals for a moment. In this film, there’s a (kind of) sex scene that I’m sure people will talk about afterwards. It’s not explicit or anything (if it was that would be legendary, us guys would get to see 2 smoking hot females in the nude, and the girls and gay guys would get to see Ryan Gosling’s six-pack and incredibly tight muscular ass; fair trade), but it’s an interesting stylistic scene with a digital girl trying to “sync” with a physical human during sexual intercourse. If that scene was cut down to to MPAA censors, then I want to see a goddamn director’s cut! This honestly wouldn’t surprise me, since the sex scene in the original film was also cut down, I shit you not.

Like the first film, this film succeeds as an atmospheric visual film, with everything else taking second priority at best. The scenes in both films are top notch. The 2049 version even manages to succeed the original in terms of visuals for a brief duration when Gosling visits the corporation (and after he leaves it) that took over the Tyrell Corporation. The lighting, the rooms, the sounds. It’s glorious.

Anyway, I’ve discussed the flaws of the film, but there’s one other thing I personally consider a major fault, but only on a personal level. I felt it played it too safe and strayed too close to reliance on the original in a way different than mentioned above. It’s that this took place on Earth. In both films it is mentioned that there are colonies established on other planets, some of which are used for replicant slave labor. I’d like to see a film take place on one or more of those, to see what life is like there. This would expand the world building (a lot), and potentially the lore and themes in this way. Plus there wasn’t any good reason to continue a story arc for Ford’s character. This film didn’t take it in a direction any more interesting than Gosling’s character, and it was wrapped up in a satisfying way in the first film.

And, well, there it is. The first film is better, but this film is worth seeing just for the visuals alone. And the story, despite my gripes, is still worth going through even if just to experience the visuals.

 

Edit 10-9-2017:

Oh, right, and the villains didn’t have as much depth as those in the previous film.  They came off as cookie-cutter villains compared to those from the first film who had a sympathetic plight.  It wasn’t enough to make them out to be good guys, but it made them more relate-able, even if they were machines.  And in my opinion, that’s the whole point/purpose of films that focus on artificial intelligence.  Using robots as a metaphor for some aspect or element to humanity, so that humans can know more about themselves, what it’s like to be alive, what it’s like to be human.

Alien: Covenant and Baby Driver dual review

Yep, review of two movies, because I don’t feel like doing excessive typing for just one of them. Mainly because lately I’ve been focusing on novels rather than films and games, though I’ve been getting addicted to The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a card game in the same vein as Hearthstone. In case you’re curious about the books, I’m reading Stephen King’s It in preparation for the film, and Frank Herbert’s Dune in preparation for Comic Book Girl 19’s Dune Book Club thing she will be having on Twitch. I’ll admit it, I’ve got a crush on her, but I also agree and respect most of what she says. Except for John Wick 2, that movie kicks ass.

Anyway, enough of the tangent. Movies!

Rated: 2/5

While it is more entertaining overall than Prometheus, and there are fewer moments of unbelievable stupidity…

Yes, you’re a dumb broad who deserves all that’s going to happen to you.

…there are still moments of unbelievable stupidity. Moments that made me go, “All right, you know what, you dumb fucks deserve to get killed.”

But that’s not the worst part. That would be somewhat forgivable if not for one little itsy bitsy thing. YOU FUCKED IT ALL UP RIDLEY SCOTT! Your motherfucking cocksucking gay love fetish you have for Michael Fastbender and fucking androids, it ruined the entire fucking lore!

In case you want to know, (hey, I clicked on the “Contains spoilers” button this time, so you don’t get to bitch about me ruining the shitty surprise), let me paint the picture for you. So the first Alien film from the 70s; you know, the only good one Ridley Scott did. The only thing we really know of the creature’s background is that it came aboard an unknown alien spacecraft, is responsible for the death of the Space Jockey, which sets up the mood that there is this technologically advanced alien race out there somewhere, or that there used to be. And this Alien species is responsible for destroying it, or at least a portion of it. And humanity is nowhere near as advanced as them, which should make us worry even more about our chances against these creatures. The mystery, the unknown. The unknown is what is ultimately terrifying to us because we can picture it as being our worst nightmare. Filling in the blank is extremely dangerous, as it is most likely it won’t match the nightmare scenario most viewers have thought about when watching the first Alien film. So Ridley Scott decided to fill in that gap.

With Prometheus, for all the film’s faults, I didn’t think it fucked with the lore too much. But this film, oh this film. It takes all that mystery and horror, and shits all over it. How? By stating that psycho android Dickbender from the first film is somehow responsible and capable of genetically altering/engineering the alien lifeform until it becomes what we get in the first Alien film. In other words, it’s no longer about how/why another alien race created the Alien species, or if the Alien species has always been around and has just been spreading from planet to planet, from galaxy to galaxy, as a virus needing a host to leech on. It’s about some fucking mad robot that humans made who is ultimately responsible for all this.

Great way to kill off that mystery you motherfucker. And double-fuck you for not having any practical alien effects and suits in this film. Say what you will about the AvP films, at least they managed that much.

Cool and all, but some practical effects would’ve been nice.

Christ, you know what? I’ve fucking had it. I’m done. I refuse to watch any more films from this franchise so long as Ridley Scott is doing them. This needs revamping and new blood, like Neill Blomkamp and what he was originally going to do. But noooooo. Hollywood and Ridley doesn’t want that to happen so easily and just yet. Because fuck us. Well fuck you too. I didn’t spend a penny to watch this film, so hah! Suck a practical effect Alien mouth-cock!

So as you can tell, I’m more pissed about the rape of the lore than I am about everything else in the film. Dumbfucks aside, the special effects are decent enough, at least when it came to the spaceship. The film was thrilling enough, even if I knew how it was pretty much going to end (that was dumb too if you really think about it). There’s a decent amount of entertainment to be had here. And like Prometheus, it’s shot incredibly well and can be visually impressive from a cinematography point of view. But there’s so many faults around the good stuff that it ultimately brings the film down. Feel free to watch it if you don’t give a rat’s ass about the lore. Otherwise, avoid this like the fucking plague.

I really want to rate this film lower than I currently have. Shit, considering how much bashing and foul language I’ve thrown in, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just give it 1 star. A part of me doesn’t want to because there’s some fun moments and nice atmospheric scenes in it that made me see how good this could’ve been with a few rewrites here or there. Pretty sure that part of me is going to die off with time, so enjoy this higher than it deserves 3 star rating while it lasts.

PS: Actually, you know what, fuck it, I’m making it 2 stars just to spite the fact that this film shows so much extreme violence, and yet it tones it down a notch when it comes to the shower scene for showcasing some nudity and sex. Fucking hypocrites, like explicit consensual sexual intercourse is more disturbing than explicit blood and gore. Granted, the scene was eventually going to have both, but I wanted more shown clearly of the former goddamnit!

Rated: 3/5

Groovy. Fast & the Furious can eat a dick.

I don’t think we’ll find a film with better editing for the rest of the year. The music, and how just well timed the stuff happening on screen links to the music cues of each song on the soundtrack at the right time. From words in a shop or graffiti on a wall, to gunshot timing, doors slamming shut, all of it conforms to the beat of the song being played at that moment. And that long one-shot take after the opening action segment, good God man, the amount of effort that must’ve gone into that to make a borderline music video.

And the car chases are awesome. Drifting drifting drifting drifting. Dilly dally shilly Sally. Kudos if you got that reference.

It’s nice to see Jamie Foxx finally play a villain. He may have done that at some point in an earlier film, but I haven’t seen it if that’s the case. I got sick of him always playing the good guy when he clearly has an asshole-aura about him that needs to be exploited for a role like this. Thankfully, it’s put to great use here. And he’s quite memorable as a result.

Also nice to see a film like this that’s rated R. It could’ve been PG-13 with some edits, but I’m glad they didn’t. They decided not to hold back on the violence and language. People getting blasted, run over, impaled. It’s great.

Characters left something to be desired. Not entirely interesting or investing. But their attitudes, personalities, it shines through enough to be entertaining.

And surprisingly realistic when it came to the outcome of the ending. Again, Fast & Furious can suck it.

Not much else I can say about it. It’s difficult for me to write much about a film I have positive feelings for unless there’s fascinating thought-provoking themes to it. But there isn’t in this case. It’s just a fun little car ride film with some decent shootouts and character moments here and there. And that’s not a bad thing. Fun, earnest, has a nice beat, and I recommend it.

Thelma & Louise review and the feminism contrast

Rated: 3/5

Overlong Intro

Man, the trailer for this film. Talk about false-advertising as to what the film really is. Seriously, if you saw the film and haven’t seen the trailer, watch the trailer:

It plays it out like it’s a typical road comedy, trying to hide how serious it gets. That’s like if someone made this the official trailer for David Cronenberg’s The Fly:

Anyway, I’ve been revisiting the 90s over the past couple of weeks, and this time I’ve revisited a film that generated a bit of controversy at the time of its release (1991), yet that didn’t stop it from being a financial success, a film considered a classic. The main reason for its controversy and classic status (although films can be considered classic because they’ve stirred controversy) is due to its feminist message. A real bona-fide feminist message, not some half-assed one filled with bodily fluid and private parts jokes and all that bullshit.

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