BLADE RUNNER 2049
I’m not often lost for words, but I really don’t know what to say about this belated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner. The original was visually stunning and densely plotted. This new version is even more dazzling to look at, but if there’s a plot to be found, I’m afraid I lost it. Ryan Gosling plays ‘K’, a new generation hunter of rogue androids for the LAPD. In other words he’s the new Deckard (Harrison Ford) who was hunting rogue androids in 2019 Los Angeles (the 1982 movie was set in 2019: try to keep up). But he ends up tracking Deckard who has himself (I think) gone rogue. There are humans who may be androids and androids who may be humans, but this confusion was a major element in the first movie and there’s a lot more of it now.
At two and three-quarter hours the film is way too long. There’s a protracted sequence towards the end in (I think) Las Vegas, in an arena peopled by flickering holograms of bygone stars (Sinatra, Monroe, Elvis, Liberace), which for me encapsulated the whole movie: a feast for the eyes but overkill for the brain. High concept - low impact. Don Siegel's 1955 Invasion of the Body-Snatchers is still my favourite sci-fi.
Doubtless the fault is with me but I came away from Blade Runner 2049, as I did from Inception and Shutter Island, with the feeling that I’d been looking at the Emperor’s New Clothes. I wouldn’t say Don’t go to see this picture, but be prepared to be very (very) bewildered.