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Sci-Fi Movies

'Blade Runner 2049' Isn't the Movie Denis Villeneuve Wanted to Make (vice.com) 264

Readers share a Motherboard article: There are seemingly two inescapable realities for big-budget filmmakers in 2017: you have to use existing intellectual property and you must provide spectacle that can lure massive domestic and foreign audiences to the the theater. It seemed that Denis Villeneuve chose wisely when he selected the IP that he would ride into the mainstream. [...] There is much to admire, but as a whole, Blade Runner 2049 works best as a case for why filmmakers like Villeneuve should be given big budgets to try out new concepts rather than retread what's come before them. Just like Arrival was at its best when we saw the elegance of how the space ship and the aliens within it actually functioned, this version of Blade Runner shines when we get to watch how Villeneuve's dystopia operates. Moments of technical brilliance small and large are at the soul of this film. Whether you're watching the creation of robot memories, the execution of an air strike from an effortless, detached distance, or even something as simple as a stroll through a hall of records, the mechanics of this world are jaw-dropping. Ryan Gosling (K) wisely opts for a muted, brooding performance, allowing the world to steal the show while still illustrating the burden of living in it. Even with all of this technical brilliance on display (the costumes, sound, and special effects are brilliant), the baggage of the original film's mythology weighs down Blade Runner 2049. The most burdensome baggage for Villeneuve to carry, sadly, is the Blade Runner story itself.

'Blade Runner 2049' Isn't the Movie Denis Villeneuve Wanted to Make

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  • quote: The problem "Blade runner 2049" ran into is clear from opening-weekend data. The audience was overwhelmingly male (71 percent) and over the age of 25 (86 percent).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:17PM (#55337809)

      wrong demographic

      I think they just missed the necessary demographic. I didn't know it was opening this weekend. Who's fault is that?

      I knew they were making this, but I didn't care enough to track it closely; there is a lot of stuff on a lot of media competing for attention. Apparently they took it for granted that everyone was breathlessly awaiting their big opening weekend and didn't bother to advertise where someone like myself would notice.

      Whatever. The original was a cult thing. Seems like this one is true to form. Maybe that's for the best.

    • God forbid a movie should just try to tell a story well instead of going after specific market demographics.

      I know what we need. Another comic book/super hero movie. We don't have enough of those, let's set the target demographic first and foremost, then try to figure out what kind of story will appeal to that demographic (I know, "story", haha). We should have a Strong Female Lead(tm) and the exact same percentage of minority characters as there are people in California. Then let's cover our shit wagon

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The only thing I expect from movie retreads, is they will look better but every other aspect of the movie will be worse and have stopped paying any attention to the release and consider them 'B' movies from the get go. You have nepotism, the all age casting couch, corruption, self serving ego, driving the creation of some real rubbish.

    • by rebill ( 87977 )

      The problem BR-2049 ran into was the terrible tuning the Dolby Atmos audio system.

      I really wanted to like that movie, but being male and over the age of 25 does NOT mean that I wanted to suffer low-level but constant pain during the first 20 minutes of the movie.

  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @02:58PM (#55337659) Journal

    Even with all of this technical brilliance on display (the costumes, sound, and special effects are brilliant), the baggage of the original film's mythology weighs down Blade Runner 2049. The most burdensome baggage for Villeneuve to carry, sadly, is the Blade Runner story itself.

    If the story's the biggest issue, couldn't you take the movie, recut the visuals, and redub it? Getting some scenes to match the dialogue would be a problem, but between narration, voiceover, and dubbing, could you insinuate a wholly different story into the filmed material?

  • by Steve Jackson ( 4687763 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @02:58PM (#55337663)
    Until the following starts. Its clearly a brilliant piece of work. Regardless of the complications of following the cannon. Many of the films of today are NOT following the established universe that made us love them to begin with. STRONG deviations, work 10-20% of the time from what I have seen. Sticking to cannon, and/or at least making an attempt to tie in, while making something totally NEW in that universe... THATS what we really want to see. If you can still be creative from within the box, and when there is no box at all, you'll have forever fans...
  • by Zelig ( 73519 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:00PM (#55337687) Homepage

    What are we supposed to be unhappy about? That it wasn't another baygasm?

    I've never been so spellbound by a 2+ hour movie ..

    • I've never been so spellbound by a 2+ hour movie

      I'll second that.

      Just everything, from the gorgeous visuals and the awe-inspiring visual design of literally everything in the movie, to the bleak attitude of life in 2049 Los Angeles, the sheer noise (visual and auditory) of the city, and the overarching theme of Man playing God.

      I loved it.

    • by Fortyseven ( 240736 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:11PM (#55337757) Homepage Journal

      Greatly dislike how this article frames opinion as fact. It keeps saying "Villeneuve does this", or "Villeneuve wanted that", but gives no source for the claims. To me, it's clear this article is just a shitty, deceptive, self-righteous way of stating one's personal observations.

      Observations I happen to generally disagree with. I loved the hell out of this flick; it touched me on an almost personal level, like no film as done in a long time.

      I'm not going to suggesting this article is just the inevitable mainstream contrarianism when something is widely beloved, but I'm having a hard time not pulling the trigger on saying it...

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        It's okay to like a movie and criticize it at the same time. Even the best movies have their flaws; indeed, a flawless movie probably wouldn't be very interesting to watch or discuss.

      • To me, it's clear this article is just a shitty, deceptive, self-righteous way of stating one's personal observations.

        That's a fairly concise way of describing the job of a movie/book/TV critic. If you want to hear someone way too full of themselves, go find a review from NPR's "critic at large".

      • by thomst ( 1640045 )

        Fortyseven opined:

        Greatly dislike how this article frames opinion as fact. It keeps saying "Villeneuve does this", or "Villeneuve wanted that", but gives no source for the claims. To me, it's clear this article is just a shitty, deceptive, self-righteous way of stating one's personal observations.

        I'm not going to suggesting this article is just the inevitable mainstream contrarianism when something is widely beloved, but I'm having a hard time not pulling the trigger on saying it...

        Disclaimer: I have not yet seen the movie.

        However, taking TFS entirely in the context of itself, I could not more completely agree with your objection to TFS. What's even worse is that TFA is uncredited . It's clearly an editorial (i.e. - "opinion") piece, but there is no attribution to an individual writer to be found.

        In journalistic terms - and I hesitate to use that appellation here - it's a staff piece. Which is to say it represents the organizational opinion of Motherboard a

        • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

          What's even worse is that TFA is uncredited. It's clearly an editorial (i.e. - "opinion") piece, but there is no attribution to an individual writer to be found.

          Really? The version I saw is attributed to Brenden Gallagher. Clicking on his name reveals he's written three movie/TV reviews [vice.com] for Motherboard.

    • by imidan ( 559239 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:46PM (#55338033)

      I agree. I went into it not knowing much about it--I avoided press and reviews beforehand. I also didn't expect much. I was quite doubtful that they'd be able to do it right. But, having seen it, I liked everything about it. It was great. It makes some of the other sequels that have come out (Star Trek comes to mind) look like something that you might accidentally step in on the street.

      Having read this review, I'm not even really sure what the guy is complaining about. It seems like he's been wanting to write an article about how bad franchises and sequels are, and Blade Runner represented an opportunity to do that. The problem is, Blade Runner is actually a good movie.

      • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @05:05PM (#55338673) Journal
        I enjoyed the movie overall - amazing visuals, atmosphere, things like that. But it was a bit light on plot. I think the themes could have been explored more enjoyably with a thicker plot. The problem reviewers seem to have with it is the same, that it's too beholden to the both the successes and shortcomings of the original. I'm of the opinion that theres a middle ground between the artsy style of Blade Runner and the more conventional stuff like The Martian, and that's where the sweet spot is.
      • by sd4f ( 1891894 )
        In many respects, it kind of makes the original, in retrospect, look a little bit misguided, like as if it was stabbing in the dark, not knowing what it was meant to be. BR2049 honed in on all the great aspects of the original, and gave a lot more of that. In a lot of scenes, it showed a great deal, without actually having to dwell a long time on it, even though the movie was long. I personally most enjoyed the scenes which, some would argue are pointless, because they're just cars flying through the air, i
    • Same.

      Literally the only thing that I can find to even remotely complain about was the lack of Vangelis_Blade_Runner_End_Titles.mp3 not being played during the credit roll.

      Holy crap that would have put a tear or two in my eye, even if it were updated much like the end titles to the Bourne sequels.

      • So funny that you say that.

        At the end of Ghost in the Shell, when they started playing "Making_of_the_cyborg.mp3" I literally did tear up. I sat there on the couch (yes, it was a Redbox rental..not in the theater) and cried the whole time the song was playing. When it finished I turned off the movie and the next time I watch Ghost in the Shell it'll be the one that starts with that song.

        BTW, Ghost in the shell has the opposite problem of that mentioned in the OP. It has great visuals, but since it co

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      You haven't seen many films then.

      Blade Runner 2049 is a good film but it's not even as good as the film to which it's a sequel. That was three minutes short of your arbitrary cut off, but there are plenty of other films longer and better.

      Spellbound? Shit, I was bored at one point. I wouldn't chop this down to 90 minutes as the article suggests, but it would likely have been improved from losing 20 minutes or so.

  • Good explanation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:01PM (#55337691)

    you must provide spectacle that can lure massive domestic and foreign audiences to the the theater

    That explains why there are so many terrible movies these days.

  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:07PM (#55337735) Journal
    No. No. No.

    It's a good sequel. Better than anyone could have asked for.
  • The Hollywood grassfuckers couldn't come up with an original idea if it crawled up their toilet and bit them in their itty-bitty balls.
  • by lordmage ( 124376 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:13PM (#55337773) Homepage

    This sequel was a slow rolling dramatic tale and I will say.. IT WORKED.

    SPOILERS ahead.

    I mean it!! Spoilers ahead!!

    Seriously.. SPOILERS.

    I have to say.. Spoilers cause spaces are removed.

    Yes.. SPOILERs..

    1. I loved that every Replicant felt that they were the "One"
    2. The death scene at the end was just.. perfect. The falling Snow.
    3. Everyone wanted a piece of the Child.. and yet... that is the real human condition... everyone wants to use you.
    4. In the end, this is a story about a Dad and a daughter. What they represent, does not matter.

    I wanted to cheer the ending as it was.. just perfect.

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:36PM (#55337949)

      2. The death scene at the end was just.. perfect. The falling Snow.

      It's good symmetry with (spoiler) Batty's death in the original film, but, you sure he's dead?

      • If he wasnt dead, that destroys the perfect ending now does it not?

        The no breathing part kinda clued it in.

        It was a story of a child and her father at the end... which is the core of all of the movies. Really cool.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "perfect ending"? What, are you some kind of replicant?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        2. The death scene at the end was just.. perfect. The falling Snow.

        It's good symmetry with (spoiler) Batty's death in the original film, but, you sure he's dead?

        There's a very strong suggestion that he's dead without it being explicitly stated. The biggest two indicators are all the talk in the film about dying for a cause and that the music parallels when Roy Batty died.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          That music though.. kind of hammered home just how superior the music in the original film was, and reminded you it was missing from this one.

    • Yeah but .... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Was there a voice over narration explaining things?

      I gotta have the voice over!

      And goddamn it! Why didn't you warn us that there were spoilers in your post!!!

      Kidding! Spoilers don't bother me. When there is a good story, spoilers make no difference. The Sixth sense still holds up even knowing how it ends.

      • Narrator? Nope. Just a bunch of words explaining what a Replicant was and some words to the affect at beginning of the movie.

        Watching the 3 mini movies beforehand didnt really help all that much with understanding. Takes a good part of the movie to start making sense.

    • 5. That Jo girlfriend app.

    • It's definitely a work of art, but the plot, such as it is, missed for me.

      When you make the Blade Runner a Replicant, you change the entire world around: why does he have an apartment? Money? Free time? Aren't these things slaves?

      It seems like there are just as many Replicants living in poverty as regular people; or worse, we can't actually TELL which people were Skin Jobs. To me, this dilutes the dichotomy of the available moral choices in the story. If the point was that Replicants are people, that's
  • by fireylord ( 1074571 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:23PM (#55337847)
    He wanted to do a remake of Frozen!
  • by Seven Spirals ( 4924941 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:29PM (#55337881)
    I've read most of Phillip K. Dicks' works including "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I have to say that the original Blade Runner was the very definition of "adaptation" when compared with the book that inspired it. The narrative is different on so many levels. They hardly resemble each other. The way the megacorporations are described in the book is much different than the way they are portrayed in the film. There are a large number of missing characters etc... All that aside, I liked both. They were both interesting to me. So is Blade Runner 2049, too. Just judge it on it's own merits. Don't worry about the problems the producers, directors, writers, and actors had. Screw them. They get enough undeserved attention already and will whine about their jobs just like anyone given the chance. I care about the story and the escapism. Don't bring me down telling me what a hard time the poor director had. Cry me a freakin' river. The guy is rich and probably getting laid right now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A Paul Sammon interview for Cinefantastique described it this way:

      According to Dick, the main source of contention was a basic difference in what the book and film were all about. “To me, the replicants are deplorable,” Dick said. “They are cruel, cold, and heartless. They have no empathy—which is how the Voight-Kampff test catches them—and don’t care about what happens to other creatures.

      “Scott, on the other hand, said he regarded them as supermen who couldn’

  • A bit off topic but I was a tad disappointed that Sean Young wasn't used (I think I would have heard if she was) to play the head of Tyrell Corporation. As the replicant in the original we know she was modeled on Tryrell's niece. His doing that is sketchy to start with, and it's not hard to imagine even more sketchiness like genetic material being used from the niece, and her having a non-conventional relationship with her uncle. Anyway, it would have been neat to see today's Sean Young, as the head of Tyr
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      a tad disappointed that Sean Young wasn't used

      She was. Also Edward James Olmos (Gaff).

      All those Googles will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.

    • A bit off topic but I was a tad disappointed that Sean Young wasn't used (I think I would have heard if she was) to play the head of Tyrell Corporation.

      The Tyrell Corporation went bankrupt, after the global blackout caused by an EMP detonation (presumably done by replicants), and the remains of the company were bought by the Wallace Corporation.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's an official short amine film on YouTube that explains the blackout.

      • The film stated that Tyrell went bankrupt because the manufacture of replicants was outlawed.

        • The film stated that Tyrell went bankrupt because the manufacture of replicants was outlawed.

          Yup, remember that, but wasn't that outlawed because of "the blackout"?

          Maybe I'll have to see the film again...

    • Sean Young is a notorious _crazy_ coked up actor. The kind that will repeatedly no show and leave an entire production company sucking air.

      It's amazing she can get any work. Must be able to suck a golfball through a garden hose. Also it's been a _hard_ few decades...not 'panty soup' gorgeous anymore.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:48PM (#55338057) Journal

    I'm a huge Blade Runner fan. One could say it's seminal to my movie-going experience: I'm 50, so from the audience that snuck into theaters to see it (I was 15-16 when it released).

    I found BR2049 merely ok. I think there was in fact a good film somewhere in there, but it takes a lot of work to sift it from the dross.

    I'm not buying the OP's point that the 'tired old story' was what dragged this down. All of the things that really hurt this film were ALL directorial choices.
    - pacing: Villaneuve is suffering George Lucas disease. He needs more people to stop telling him how brilliant he is and give him solid criticism. At 2:40 this thing could have easily been an HOUR shorter. Long, drawn out, frankly dull establishing shots were self-indulgent and just felt like you're watching someone show you the 100th slide of their family vacation. It's interesting at first, but ultimately you just DON'T CARE ANYMORE. It's not THAT cool.
    - focus: part of the above, partly its own thing. Don't get me wrong, I've long since gotten past my Ridley Scott fandom (Prometheus? Fuck you Ridley I want my $ back), but a terrific choice he made in the first film is to spend relatively little focus on the tech of the era. Sure it's there, and he can't help but notice, but he's not obsessing over the flying cars, etc like BR2049 did.
    - product placement: I don't give a shit if Peugot dumped a pile of $ at you. Stop shoving brands in my face. Better that they'd stuck with the Pan Ams and ATARI of the first film.
    - the deafening soundscape: Jesus Christ my ears were nearly bleeding after that. Fire your sound man, immediately.
    - pointless plots and characters: Why was Leto even IN this film? As a foil, he did literally nothing except kick a dog (a dog we didn't care at all about, btw, so pointless).
    - enormous plot holes - the murder in the police station went rather more smoothly than I'd imagine it would; if replicants reproducing is such a earth-shattering thing why build them with ovaries, or even functional uteruses? I have to imagine engineering OUT the 'rag once a month' would (have been) advantageous to the utility of replicants generally?
    - the flying car dogfight? Jesus. I don't know where they were going with Deckard (or why?), but if you're fleeing pursuit, here's hint: turn off the 100k-watt cabin lights that make you a lighthouse? Guns on police flying cars?

    The Economist nails it https://www.economist.com/blog... [economist.com] - I'd have used the word ponderous, but bombastic works just as well.

    • Better that they'd stuck with the Pan Ams and ATARI of the first film.

      I do not think you saw the film I saw.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      pacing: Villaneuve is suffering George Lucas disease. He needs more people to stop telling him how brilliant he is and give him solid criticism. At 2:40 this thing could have easily been an HOUR shorter.

      The pacing is okay, but the total was too much. Around the two hour mark I got into the "can we please wrap this up" mode. Some scenes that weren't so relevant to the plot could have been made much shorter, like the "only one place this radiated" scene, could have been cut 90% or even just a flashback while he's driving out there. Same with the archive, accessing an old file triggers an alert but 90% of the scene is redundant. When he passed the two hour mark he really should have started to look harder at

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      the deafening soundscape: Jesus Christ my ears were nearly bleeding after that. Fire your sound man, immediately.

      Must've been your cinema screwing the volume up, I thought Hans Zimmer's soundtrack was the best bit.

    • You have to understand the sole reason of this movie was so that they could create four more sequels. Even Ridley Scott admitted it. That is why there were pointless characters - they will be in the sequels in more prominent roles.
    • I should have listened to this review... saw it last night and I can't get that ~3 hours of my life back. I feel ripped off and deceived.
      It felt like how a teenager would make a Bladerunner movie.

    • Yeah I'm with you. Gorgeous movie, brilliantly shot (tho as you say at times it feels indulgent), and a wonderful exercise in futurism, bursting with interesting ideas.

      But ultimately, the story itself just felt... lifeless.

      Oh and btw the Economist does use the word "ponderous", just not in the title:

      If “Blade Runner 2049” seems to be more artistic than a typical sci-fi blockbuster, that’s partly because its ponderous pacing and mournful tone demand that you take it seriously

  • by Nicolas Cage ( 4893913 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:48PM (#55338059)
    So... did Mr. Villeneuve actually say this wasn't the movie he wanted to make? Am I going crazy or is the author of this rant putting words in Villeneuve's mouth to back up their own opinion about the movie? Their arguments don't even make sense.

    I actually read something before where Villeneuve specifically said that there won't be a director's cut, final cut, or any other versions of this movie. We got the exact version he intended us to see, and at nearly 3 hours, that's not hard to believe. The author of this article thinks the movie should have been much shorter (which is obviously what the movie studios and theaters would prefer) while simultaneously suggesting that Villeneuve wasn't in complete creative control here. Again, am I going out of my mind here? What the hell? This should have been titled "'Blade Runner 2049' Isn't the Movie I Wanted Denis Villeneuve to Make".

    I think the movie's great. For whatever reason, the author of this didn't agree. Fine. But they're taking what is clearly an opinion piece about them not liking the movie and disguising it as some kind of fact-based informative news article where they present some kind of insight into the director's thinking process. There are no hard facts in this story, just speculation. That is extremely misleading.

    And yeah, I think the film is excellent and way better than we had any right to expect. To be brutally honest, given the complete dearth of creativity in Hollywood today, and given the kind of movies and properties that usually find success, and keeping in mind that just a few months ago the same studio released the fucking Emoji Movie... this is a much better film than we deserved. The only thing worth regretting here is that there won't be a third movie given how few tickets were sold (a combination of many factors including long runtime/fewer showings, vague advertising, R rating, older franchise, etc.). That's what we should be mourning here. This movie was great and deserves a followup as it's fairly open-ended and there are clearly more stories to be told about the emancipation movement or Niander Wallace, who didn't get nearly enough screentime. The clueless writer of this article doesn't even mention that in passing -- understandable if it was written last week before the box office returns came in, but it looks like it was published today. Talk about missing the point.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @03:56PM (#55338127)

    Am I missing some subtle connection between the headline and the summary?

  • by katorga ( 623930 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @04:41PM (#55338485)

    To be honest compared to the usual themes of modern "mass market" films, Blade Runner 1982 or 2017 is probably too deep for a mass audience. Seriously comic books are considered deep these days.

    Most people is prime movie going age don't even know about the original movie, don't know who Harrison Ford is, or know about Philip K. Dick. The 50+ crowd for home the original was canon, probably aren't making a huge effort to see the move opening weekend, and are likely to wait for it to stream.

    • by no1nose ( 993082 )

      I'm 42 and the original it was canon for me. Can't wait to stream this as theaters are to pricey IMHO and they don't pause the movie for me while I take my needed bio breaks.

  • by NTesla ( 99917 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @05:25PM (#55338801)

    is reviewer is Millenial or something? It's like he watched a completely different movie. Even goes on to insult Harrison Ford's acting ability - "so committed to phoning it in that the Verizon "Can You Hear Me Now?" guy should fear for his job."
    If you loved the first movie, you will like this one as well. This movie may not do well because of R rating. They could have easily made PG-13 version, like what we saw in 1990s on regular tv. Regardless, it was worth the 20+ year wait (for me) and hopefully, there will be a third film to wrap things up.
    Only negative thing about the movie was how loud the "noise" was - not sure if it's my local theater or if it's designed to make your ears bleed :)

  • After seeing Villeneuve's brilliant "Arrival" and having enjoyed the original Blade Runner, I had high hopes. They were dashed. Blade Runner 2049 is just too long. Hollywood, get over yourself. Very few stories are important enough to take 2h40m to tell. If your movie is longer than. 1h40m, you need to cut. Blade Runner 2049 was tedious as hell with completely undeveloped one-dimensional characters and unrelenting darkness without even a bit of humourous relief. Very disappointed.
  • "Ryan Gosling (K) wisely opts for a muted, brooding performance..."

    Opts? Isn't that the only thing he can do?

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