Saturday, October 7, 2017

A quick warning: BLADE RUNNER 2049 is the emptiest, most over-rated movie of the year

As long and slow as a funeral procession (and not even half as much fun), the new and much-awaited BLADE RUNNER 2049 is almost shockingly tiresome, repetitive and empty of any original idea. TrustMovies is a huge fan of the first Blade Runner, so neither love nor money could have kept me from its would-be sequel. Yet this rehash of that classic does not measure up in any respect. Does director Denis Villeneuve equate slow with serious, I wonder? I don't find any other reason for the style in which this slough has been filmed. It has maybe enough content to fill 45 minutes, yet the finished product goes on for 163. As you watch, you can actually edit in your mind scene after scene after scene by perhaps three-quarters of each one's running time.

In fact, post-edit, you would still know everything you need to follow the plot. Perhaps the director felt his slow and stately style would induce a kind of hypnotic trance. It does indeed, before moving into something closer to somnambulant.

Is there any movie fan out there, short of a five-year-old, who has not by now considered the idea that robots/replicants/whatever-name-they-go-by could become every bit as human (not to mention intelligent and caring) than actual humans? Come on, we have Donald Trump, his administration, and just about the entire Republican Party to bear out that fact. Rutger Hauer made this idea clear in the original film, and nothing in this sequel comes anywhere close to his final moments.

Also, the game of "Who's really the robot and who isn't?" is hardly novel at this point in sci-fi history. BR2049 seems, as well, to have some trouble deciding exactly how strong and powerful its replicants actually are. This changes so arbitrarily, particularly during the final and far-too-typical action scenes, that you may be tempted to shrug and fall back to sleep.

The desiccated look of this new installment is grimy, gloomy, gray and grim in the extreme. The original's future was certainly dystopian, but it was a hell of a lot more interesting looking that what we see here. (There is nothing, for instance, to remotely equal Joanna Cassidy's amazing scene in the original.)

Everything in this sequel, including the performing holograms of Presley, Monroe and Sinatra, seems second-hand and oddly second-rate. When the most energetic character proves to be some kind of typical female James Bond villain (played by Sylvia Hoeks, above), who outdoes the would-be heroes in intelligence, focus, skill and all else, you know your movie's in trouble.

Ah well: this one is garnering mostly -- but not all -- great reviews, and is said to be on track toward a nice box-office take, too. So go figure. It's just another over-hyped, over-drawn "blockbuster." Certainly, lower those expectations before you take your seat and get inundated with fifteen minutes of trailers. Blade Runner 2049 -- they ought have called this one Blade Crawler -- opened yesterday, all over the place. Click here for more info and/or tickets, and then enter your zip code.

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