Bladerunner 2049 Needs an Editor!

(a quickie film review; I’ll try to avoid spoilers)

I’ve been a big fan of the original “Bladerunner” since it first showed in the theaters, so was really looking forward to this sequel. I avoided seeing any trailers or reading reviews, so I could view it with fresh eyes. I’m sorry to say that it feels to me like a self-indulgent “director’s cut” that needs to be cut by at least an hour.

Clearly, the director is enamored of his creative settings and beautiful visuals, which I did enjoy, but he lingers way too long on each visual (and on actors’ faces for angsty emotions). Don’t get me wrong — as anyone who reads my novels knows, I love colorful settings. My dear, departed mother once told me that she skipped my landscapes so she could get to “the good parts.” And I forgive many a movie sin if the settings are interesting and gorgeously filmed. So when I say that much less would be way more for this film, it’s an unusual criticism.

For instance, the old, abandoned casino was really cool, but did we need to follow our bladerunner for 10 or 15 minutes while he wandered through it without anything happening? Did we need to follow him for at least 5 minutes (felt like a half hour) while he slooowly stepped through the industrial basement looking for an object we all knew he was going to find, while Loud and portentous music pounded the message home, in case we didn’t get it?

I also confess I am not a fan of Ryan Gosling, but was keeping an open mind. As my husband Thor commented after he had left for a stroll and returned to the theater, “Does he have more than one expression? At least they cast him well this time as a robot– and he didn’t have to sing.”

*****

You will now find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from a research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect.

 

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About Sara Stamey

Sara Stamey’s journeys include treasure hunting and teaching scuba in the Caribbean and Honduras; backpacking around Greece and New Zealand; operating a nuclear reactor; and owning a farm in Southern Chile. Now resettled in her native Northwest Washington, she teaches creative writing at Western Washington University. She shares her Squalicum Creek backyard with wild critters and her cats, dog, and husband Thor. Visit her BVC Ebookstore bookshelf.
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11 Responses to Bladerunner 2049 Needs an Editor!

  1. Sara Stamey says:

    P.S. — I’d love to hear from any of you who love, hate, or can’t decide about the film!

  2. Sherwood says:

    My spouse loves the first one, but I’ve never made it past the ten minute point, on three or four separate tries. I’ll have to ask him what he thinks when he sees this one. (I also have to ask if he knows the origin story behind the film, i.e. the story that sparked the film, which is horrendously creepy, not in a good way.)

    • Sara Stamey says:

      I always find it interesting when my friends have such diverging tastes! It is odd that the Philip K. Dick story, which the first Bladerunner movie supposedly was based on, has very little resemblance to either film.

  3. I’m with Sherwood, couldn’t watch the first movie. Bogged down in the first 20 pages of the book and have no intention of seeking out the second movie.

  4. Alex Temple says:

    Loved both the original book and the film, though they might as well be unrelated due to the complete rewriting of the story. I’d like to see a faithful rendition of “Do Androids dream…” which would include the bitter-sweet humour and irony of the novel.

    Ridley Scott’s film, love or loathe it, has had a massive impact on our culture since it arrived (to little fanfare or critical acclaim). I hope this sequel measures up; it can’t be worse than Scott’s feeble Alien: Covenant, which made me want to throw-up (not due to the gore, just the ineluctable stupidity of its irredeemable script)…

    • Sara Stamey says:

      Thanks, Alex– that would be interesting to see a faithful interpretation of the novel. I’d be curious to see what you think of the new film if you see it.

  5. Martin Hill says:

    I’m a huge fan of the original, it’s one of the few sf masterpieces for me, up there with 2001 Space Odyssey, Tarkowsky’s Solaris and a couple of others. The PKD’s novel is even better and much, much richer in ideas (I’m puzzled as to why some of you on here have found it bogging/inaccessible).

    On the other hand, this new thing (reinvention – revitalization – replication, however one would call it) is abomination and I couldn’t agree with you more on the subject of editing. I have never seen a movie which would need a film editor as badly as Blade Runner 2049. Add to that poor script, poor direction, actors getting lost in scenes… The fact that so many critics and cinema goers lauds it as a masterpiece is, to me, simply INCONCEIVABLE (insert Princess Bride’s Vizzini picture here).

    • Alex Temple says:

      I think you’re slightly unfair in calling it an abomination Martin, a somewhat minority view as you say… however, reviews are just opinions so we are all ‘correct’ subjectively I guess…

      I went to see this with my sister, who is extremely critical of pretty much everything yet she enjoyed it immensely; myself slightly less so – however, it did intrigue me and honestly I didn’t have high expectations, which always helps!

      No comparison to true disasters like ‘Force Awakens’ or ‘Alien: Covenant’ IMHO.

      I have to say the soundtrack can be legitimately described as ‘Stunning’, not necessarily in a good way. Personally, a simple re-hash of Vangelis’ sublime score would’ve have sufficed. I’m sure Youtube re-edits of the film and soundtrack will surface shortly, like the many Star Wars variations that have ‘improved’ (or not, as the case may be) the original material in some way 🙂

    • Sara Stamey says:

      Hi, Martin, and thanks for weighing in. I agree: “Inconceivable!”