Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Blade Runner (Second Review + Blade Runner 2049)

(USA, Hong Kong, 1982)

When we managed to pick ourselves up off the floor after viewing the bloated, dim, incomprehensible, ponderous catastrophe that is Blade Runner 2049 I just had to pop this one into the DVD player to reassure myself that it actually was a damn good movie. Something to take the bitter taste of disaster out of my mouth. I’m happy to report that it is just as good as I remembered it. The special effects still look great. The dark vision of Los Angeles in the far-off future year of … wait a minute … you can’t be serious … oh, fuck! 2019! As I write this that year is seven months away. They’re going to have to really get to work to build that towering pyramid arcology, invent those police flying cars, and import all those Chinese organ sellers with their shops on Broadway across from the Bradbury (our favorite building in L.A.).

(This is actually the biggest bone I had to pick with this movie. Why, oh, why do filmmakers set their dystopias sometime around next Wednesday? Yeah, in 1982 2019 must have seemed a long ways in the future, but you do the math. It’s less than 40 years. Did Ridley Scott or anyone else really think that in 2019 we would have huge colonies on the outer planets? Really? I could have told them it wasn’t gonna happen. But they all do it, even Clarke and Kubrick. Did you buy a ticket to a huge moonbase in 2001? And if we started building the gigantic structures on display in Blade Runner 2049 right now, we might have one thousandth of them built by then. Why not set it in 2149? By then anything is plausible.)

I didn’t buy the science of replicants, either, but here’s the thing. If the story is good enough, I can glide over stuff like that and just sit back and enjoy it. In this movie, it was easy to do. (Except for the obviously studio-mandated “happy ending,” which was corrected in the Director’s Cut I have on DVD.) The vision was fascinating, awesome. The design has seldom been equaled. Some complained about the pace, but it never bothered me, and even those who carped at first have mostly come around to understanding it, much like they did with 2001: A Space Odyssey. So why, oh why, did they have to bugger it up with the awful, tedious, murky, incomprehensible horror that is …

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) There is not one goddam thing to praise in this film. Even the frickin’ music, by the vastly overrated Hans Zimmer, is horrible. And I hardly know what to say about it, because it is one of those films where, to my horror and disbelief, the critics loved it. At Metacritic there are 47 raves, 7 mixed, and zero negative reviews. And the film is garbage. Even the producer, Ridley Scott, said that it could easily have been shortened by twenty minutes. No shit? Try forty minutes. Try sixty. Better yet, try 163 minutes! It is interminably long, stultifying, blurry, impenetrable, badly written and badly acted. Two days after watching it I could not recall one goddam thing about it! I would be tempted to question my sanity, but I know I’m right and they are wrong. I wonder if it is a matter of everyone having grown so used to learning to praise offal like the Transformers franchise, or the rubbish of the Marvel or DC “Universes.” Is there no trace of discernment left in the modern science fiction audience? Because this movie is a horrible piece of crap. That’s all I can bear to write about it. I’m too depressed to go on.