[Disclaimer: spoilers, in the second part of this post only. I’ll warn you later on up to where it is safe to read if you haven’t seen the movie yet.]
The most awaited movie of the year has been out for less than one week, and the controversy is already raging. Is it an amazing masterpiece or the flop of the century? To me, the most interesting thing is the fact views are so divided. Before saying what I do personally think (I went to watch the movie on Friday, 6), I’ll quote some of the reviews I read today, starting with the positive ones:
Blade Runner 2049 review – a future classic – The Guardian‘s column Movie of the Week, which opens with “the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic manages to be both visually stunning and philosophically profound.” (I have already mentioned the previous Guardian’s glowing review in my previous post. So I won’t repeat it, but you can read it here).
Blade Runner 2049 review: the most spectacular, profound blockbuster of our time – this is how The Telegraph starts its (equally glowing) article. “It’s worth noting, and savouring, that Blade Runner 2049 isn’t set in a newly forged dystopia, but the world of Blade Runner three decades on – almost, but not quite, real-time progress. The walls of elite citadels still glimmer with that strange and trembling water-light, while Pan Am, Atari and the Soviet Union are all still in rude health.”
Meanwhile, Rotten Tomatoes awards a stunning 89% to the movie, and says: “Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049deepens and expands its predecessor’s story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right.”
So far for the good ones. What about the rest? Forbes begins with noticing that the box office in the US was not that impressive. Blade Runner 2049′ Is A Box Office Disaster With Poor $13M Friday.“And this is what I’ve feared the whole time. Despite rave reviews and white-hot buzz in the film twitter bubble, Blade Runner 2049 is turning into (at least) a domestic whiff because general audiences didn’t care. The very expensive ($155 million, after rebates) sci-fi sequel to a film that was itself a (somewhat) acclaimed bomb is essentially playing like Ridley Scott’s “for the fans” Alien: Covenant.”
But there’s worse than that. The Economist is not tender, either. “Blade Runner 2049” is a flawed replicant. Don’t believe the hype, says the title. The article gets worse, defining it as “bombastic.”
However, nobody, so far, gets as bad as The Spectator. In her review, Chances are you will wish you were dead, Deborah Ross goes down hard on Denis Villeneuve’s movie, also noticing the sexism in Blade Runner 2049. “We get from Gosling that bland masculine cool. Sylvia Hoeks, as Wallace’s number two, is the icy kick-ass woman in figure-hugging get-ups that you have to have these days. There’s also a prostitute (Mackenzie Davis) because, I guess, you have to have a prostitute. As for K’s true love, she’s Joi (Ana de Armas), a kind of software-generated hologram, who can become anything he wants at any given moment: a 1950s housewife; a sex kitten; a bookish companion. Every man’s dream, one must conclude, and also she devises a way for them to have sex. K seemed to like it, but I just went: ‘urggh’. So when Ford finally makes it to the screen, it’s such a blessed relief you want to kiss his feet. At least he can do action hero with humour, vulnerability, presence. As for any profundities, if there were any, they passed me by. I’m not saying you’ll also wish yourself dead, but the chances? Quite high.”
[*Spoiler starts here. I tried to keep that to the minimum possible.]
What do I think? I’m somehow in the middle. No, Blade Runner 2049 is not better than the original as somebody claimed, or even a masterpiece. In a way, it couldn’t be, and expectations were far too high. But it is a good movie in terms of settings, music, details (the issues with climate changes are fascinating, and creating the perfect dystopian scenario) and actors (Gosling and Ford are good, and so is Ana de Armas).
What I was unhappy about are a few (pretty obvious) issues in the plot, together with some serious inconsistencies that make the suspension of disbelief waver and almost fade. And let’s keep our fingers crossed that nobody gets strange ideas and writes a sequel to the sequel (which could happen considering the way the movie ends).
If any, I do have a hope: that, as in the original case, a Director’s Cut does exist and will address and fix all the unresolved points. I am counting days to the Home Theatre release.