Thanks for visiting my blog again! Today’s post is a film review for Blade Runner 2049. This was a highly anticipated movie by sci-fi fans and the cinematic world in general. 2049 is a direct sequel to the first Blade Runner film that was released in 1982. That’s a really long gap! Was the new film worth the wait? Keep reading and decide for yourself.
Let’s start with a brief synopsis. Naturally, the film takes place in 2049, quite a few years after the first Blade Runner installment. It’s a dystopian and post-apocalyptic future where regular humans use replicants or artificially engineered humans for different types of work. Ryan Gosling plays a blade runner and replicant named “K” who hunts down rogue replicants. The environment has a troubled past. Many years ago, there was a replicant uprising that was put down. There was also a global blackout that lasted for several days and wiped out the world’s technological data. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) figured out a way to create food sources during the blackout, preventing a global famine. He also created a newer and more obedient version of replicants, including K. Along the way, there’s a mysterious phenomenon that will ultimately pit humans and replicants against each other.
I want to give a thorough list of the film’s positive elements. The new Blade Runner movie has quite a few components that are worthy of praise. First, it fits thematically with the first Blade Runner film. The new timeline feels organic, makes sense, and doesn’t feel out of place. It builds off themes, plot points, and characters from the first movie. I’m glad 2049 felt like a real Blade Runner film.
Second, I thought Ryan Gosling was an excellent lead character. He seems to fit in both worlds. You can tell that he’s a replicant. Something about him is simply different than regular people. He’s naturally less emotional than a regular human, but this situation becomes challenged later in the film. Over time, he becomes more humanized. Ryan Gosling is also a great action star. It’s completely believable that he can be an awesome blade runner. For those of you who are big fans of Ryan Gosling, go see this movie! He’s easy on the eyes and a convincing performer. I also thought Sylvia Hoeks was interesting as Luv. She’s another replicant and Wallace’s henchman. Luv is a combination of the classic noir femme fatale and the modern action diva. I thought the concept of her character was a bit fascinating.
The cinematography and visual effects are stunning. I can’t say enough good things about it. Even though the environment has a dark, dystopian element, it’s also very beautiful and haunting. In some ways, it’s very futuristic. But the world building also has a retro element because it takes influences from the original Blade Runner film. The audience gets a fabulous idea of the environment because the cinematography and visual effects are so impressive.
I suppose 2049 is a combination of sci-fi noir and cyberpunk. It tends to lean more toward the noir component. I appreciate Denis Villeneuve’s effort to make a very stylized film. It’s dark and depressing with the intrigue of noir. This movie also explores some of the technological elements from the cyberpunk genre. I enjoy both of these elements, so it was a win for me.
Overall, 2049 is a truly interesting movie. The story is a mystery with a lot of subtleties, but it’s not confusing. You’ll see a lot of questions and ambiguity through the story. However, it works in the film’s basic context. This movie is not boring at all, despite running for two hours and forty-four minutes. Something always turns up and the story reveals new plot points in surprisingly logical ways. It’s much less confusing than the original Blade Runner film. Most of the elements actually make sense, even if it seems odd sometimes. Villeneuve keeps the plot simple instead of convoluting it with bizarre and confusing surprises. Blade Runner 2049 rides the cusp of two worlds. It’s a blockbuster science fiction movie and an art house film at the same time. Simply amazing.
Blade Runner 2049 is very thought provoking. You’ll see humans, replicants, and artificial intelligence interacting with each other. The film pulls many contemporary issues from real society and applies it to the story. What’s the difference between humans and replicants? Are replicants humans too? Can replicants have a soul? You might build quite a few questions during the film. I guess you could say 2049 is a healthy dose of brain candy. K has an artificial girlfriend named Joi and she’s basically a hologram or computer program. The movie plays with the concept of “fake people” and how they affect us. I thought it was a nice touch because people need to be more aware of this problem in real life.
That doesn’t mean the film is perfect. I definitely have a bone to pick with certain elements. What about Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard? He’s not a particularly big character. If you’re a huge fan of Harrison Ford, this film will seem disappointing. I also thought Jared Leto’s character was underutilized. He’s the main antagonist, but his role was very sparse. I thought it was an odd choice. Some of the other characters seem bland and insignificant. Aside from K, this film isn’t a great case study for characterization.
I didn’t feel bored, but the movie was definitely too long. It’s nearly three hours long. The length just wasn’t necessary for the plot. Everything could fit in two hours and fifteen minutes pretty easily. 2049 also needed more action scenes. I thought this film was going to be an exciting sci-fi epic. Unfortunately, the action scenes are few and far between. More action could also break up some of the stagnant portions. I think it would improve the overall flow.
Here's another issue I had with the film. Basically, I didn’t like the way a particular character was treated from the original film. We waited a long time for a Blade Runner sequel. One of the characters from the first movie should have been very significant in 2049. But the character was little more than a sound bite. It was disappointing and anticlimactic. If you see the new film, this part will become clear. I just don't want to give any spoilers, so it's going to be vague in my review.
This movie is trying to set up a trilogy. In fact, we might see multiple Blade Runner sequels. I have mixed feelings about that situation. It’s fine to make more installments if the quality is good. 2049 was fantastic in many ways, but the franchise’s integrity might go downhill if producers, directors, and screenwriters want to make bigger money. There needs to be an overarching plot between all of the Blade Runner films. I’m not sure if we’ll see that type of connection if they make a lot of sequels. Time will tell.
That’s the end of my review. Do I recommend you to see the new Blade Runner film in theaters? It depends. I think diehard fans of the original movie should definitely see it. 2049 should also appeal to big fans of science fiction in general. Some people might not want to sit through a three hour movie. I think the action movie crowd will feel disappointed. Please don’t bring children to this film. It has graphic violence and sexual content. If you’re going to see this movie, I suggest visiting a theater with a huge screen, crystal clear resolution, and Dolby Atmos surround sound. An IMAX theater would be perfect. It’s a breathtaking experience. Have you seen Blade Runner 2049 yet? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought. Thanks for reading my review and I promise to give you another cool post next week.
Good evening! I'm sure you keep hearing about labels with the word punk. Steampunk, cyberpunk, dieselpunk, biopunk, and the list goes on. Back when I tried to find the right sci-fi genre for my book series, there was a huge list of potential candidates. I ran across some of the well known genres like space operas, post-apocalyptic, superheroes, dystopian, and more. But I also noticed a huge list of punk genres. After many months of extensive research, I decided that steampunk and post-apocalyptic were the right genres for me. That doesn't mean the other punk genres aren't interesting or valuable. However, some punk genres appear to be more reputable than others. Believe it or not, I ran across a genre called Capepunk. Doesn't that sound preposterous? Basically, it's a punk version of superheroes. Let's see if Capepunk has any merit.
Naturally, there is less research on Capepunk. I read some definitions that say Capepunk is supposed to be more realistic than regular superhero fiction. Do you think realistic and punk belong in the same sentence? Regarding most genres, I would say no. However, I see the point. You could say Capepunk is making a statement against the idealistic, flamboyant, and kid friendly version of superhero fiction. In many comic books and films, superheroes are righteous individuals who place the needs of others above their own desires. For better or worse, they have tremendous powers and it's important to use them for the greater good. A supervillain wants to destroy the world and our hero ultimately saves the day. Everybody gets a happy ending! Modern superhero fiction includes protagonists with flaws and struggles, but the formula is still true. Capepunk stories are usually darker with protagonists who struggle to accept the idea of being a superhero. The road is long and difficult with a lot of mistakes. Superheroes in Capepunk fiction are often antiheroes and they can't save everyone. In fact, some of them resent the idea of saving anyone at all. It's not unusual for Capepunk heroes to lack a moral compass or perform extreme deeds to get a job done. Also, this genre doesn't guarantee a happy ending. Sounds a bit depressing, right? Some Capepunk tales include superheroes who are more relatable to regular people. They have regular jobs, character flaws, ups and downs with personal relationships, bills to pay, hobbies, goals and dreams, etc. Overall, these superheroes need to overcome obstacles that are similar to everything we see in real life, except they also need to save the world from supervillains! That must be a stressful lifestyle.
Here's the tricky part. What kind of work counts as Capepunk? I don't think many authors or film makers purposely try to make Capepunk works. Most of the fiction people label as Capepunk is probably chosen retroactively. That's okay because it's how most fiction and media is labeled at the beginning. When a genre becomes really popular, authors and film makers decide the label is acceptable and use it with pride. You guys should check out Goodreads! I found two lists of alleged Capepunk books.
Let's take a look at some possible examples. This is a very sketchy genre, but some films and books could probably fit within the limits. I would say Unbreakable, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is a good example. A security guard named David Dunn realizes that he possesses much greater strength and invulnerability than regular people. He also appears to have psychic or precognitive abilities. David is just a normal guy who tries to figure out what's going on. Along the way, he meets a strange guy named Elijah Price. Ironically, Elijah has the opposite situation. He's abnormally frail and sickly compared to most people. Their fates are strongly intertwined through the film.
I believe the Watchmen comics and film also fit within the Capepunk standards. Watchmen is basically a deconstruction of traditional superhero fiction. It's dark and gritty with some thought provoking elements. Violent scenes are bloody and disturbing. It covers a lot of political issues from certain time periods in American history. Watchmen shows a big conflict between morality and serving the greater good. I don't want to give away spoilers, but the choices at the end aren't great. Our heroes have to choose the lesser of the evils. What seems right to one person might be immoral to someone else.
There's a book series called The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson. The superheroes in Sanderson's franchise are known as Epics. Unfortunately, the Epics don't use their powers to help people. Instead, they want to control humanity. It's a world of supervillains rather than heroes. The Reckoners are a small group of regular humans who try to overthrow the powerful Epics. Good luck with that! Is this a realistic premise? I think it makes sense. Many people would not use their powers for the greater good in real life. Yes, I believe the basic concept is realistic.
A film called Chronicle might fit the mold too. It's one of those found footage movies. A group of teenagers find a mysterious item in the woods and it gives them the power of telekinesis. At first, everything is fun and games while the boys experiment with their cool abilities. The story takes a darker turn when one of the boys decides to use his powers against regular people. He believes it's acceptable for power beings to bully and terrorize the weak. Again, I could picture this situation if a bunch of rowdy teenagers were imbued with amazing powers.
I don't think the bigger Marvel and DC comics are part of the Capepunk genre, but there might be a few exceptions. The Dark Knight trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, seems quite realistic and rebellious at the same time. It's an entirely different take on Batman. Bruce Wayne has to conquer a lot of obstacles as a human being, entrepreneur, and superhero. He has plenty of flaws, but ultimately overcomes them. The villains in the Dark Knight saga are very much like modern terrorists. Think of it this way. If Batman villains ran amok in the real world, it would look a lot like the Dark Knight trilogy.
Some of the Netflix series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones also seem like Capepunk. The characters are very human and believable. They actually take a serious beating throughout the series. The characters struggle with some inner demons and personal history. Many of their villains seem to be rooted in reality, including mobsters, drug cartels, and such. Both of those television series are pretty realistic in my opinion.
Will Capepunk get a lot of recognition in the future? I doubt it. Capepunk is pretty vague and not particularly easy to define. With the exception of very specific works, I don't see much difference between Capepunk and regular superhero fiction. It needs to become more distinct from major franchises like the X-Men, Avengers, and Justice League. Other punk genres like steampunk and cyberpunk are very stylized. I don't see that type of clarity in Capepunk. Furthermore, superhero fiction is changing anyway. Modern superhero films and comics are becoming somewhat more relatable and realistic. There's a bigger issue as well. How could something like Capepunk compete with juggernauts like Marvel and DC? It's almost impossible! The genre might develop more over time, but it will probably remain virtually invisible because the attention will always go to Marvel and DC. But I guess we can maintain hope.
That concludes my post. Can you think of any notable Capepunk works? Leave a comment and let us know. I'm going to leave some links, so you can learn more about Capepunk and potential examples. Hopefully, you guys learned something new from today's post. Even if you think Capepunk is a bunch of nonsense. Speaking of punk genres, my next post will probably be a film review for Blade Runner 2049. I'm really excited about that movie! Enjoy your week and we'll see each other again soon.
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