Blade Runner 2049 (Review)

Blade Runner 2049 (Review)

So I noticed that the wikipedia page for this movie doesn’t mention Ana de Armas’ character in the plot summary at all.  Someone should fix that.

If someone asks you what cyberpunk is, you point them to Blade Runner.  It was the film that defined what cyberpunk was, and always made one think about what exactly it means to be human.  And like any true fan, I was wary of any supposed sequel to the classic film.

Well, fear not.  This film is better than the original.  Seriously.  It takes what was so great about the original and expands on it.  The world of Blade Runner feels more real and more fleshed out.  Denis Villeneuve has such an eye for visuals that every shot is beautiful to look at.  Ryan Gosling shines in his subdued acting that he excels at.  The slow pacing is a style of movie that I enjoy greatly.

Which is why it pains me to say it but there are parts of the film that don’t work for me.  For one thing, the film is overtly sexist.  Women pretty much only serve as passengers for the men, to be used or ignored and aren’t really allowed to have their own story.  Ana de Armas’ character Joi is quite literally a hologram that Ryan Gosling’s character has that becomes whoever he wants her to be.

I’m still struggling with this aspect because the sexism blends so neatly into the dystopian world of Blade Runner that its hard to separate the two.  Of course this world is sexist.  The replicants are only considered products to be bought and used as the humans wish.  Property and slaves.

The major problem I have with the film concerns the third act and it’s complete lack of focus.  There are stories that have a neat beginning, middle and end for this movie but for one storyline, they are definitely leaving it up in the air for a potential sequel and it made the ending extremely jarring for me.  Build up with no pay off.  Plus, Jared Leto, for all his part in the film, doesn’t really amount to anything.

Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie immensely.  It is by far one of the greatest films ever made, even with it’s flaws.  It’s beautiful and thought provoking with many hours in the future going to be spent thinking about what exactly was watched.

Arrival (Review)

Arrival (Review)

Twelve alien spacecrafts appear all across the world.  With no way to communicate with them, the military hires top linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to find a way to communicate with them and to discover the answer to the big question: why are they here?

Right from the beginning, you know the movie isn’t going to be about the aliens.  It’s going to be about Amy Adams’ relationship with her daughter, who died at a young age due to cancer.  This event seems to permeate throughout Adams’ world, making everything a subdued gray.  This is no doubt thanks to the awesome cinematography of Denis Villeneuve, who directs every shot with such intensity that I found myself awed by the framing of every shot.

Amy Adams subdued performance steals the show where she proves once and for all that yes, she is a better actress than Batman v. Superman made her out to be.  There’s a subtlety that runs throughout the whole movie that just makes sure that the audience is invested, even when all she’s doing is looking up at the towering ships in awe.  From frame one, we are with Adams.  Everything that happens and everything that we see only happens because Adams is there to see it.  This is truly a movie with only one point of view and that is our heroine.

A movie that springs to mind is Interstellar except it is by far not as flashy.  Not only are the stakes just as big but the emotional impact is gut wrenching.  There is a spirituality that permeates throughout the film that I can’t really go into detail about for fear of spoiling the movie.

I almost don’t want to say anything more for fear of ruining the movie for people who want to see it.  It’s one of those movies where the less you know about it the better.  What I can say is that I guarantee that we will be seeing this film at the Oscars or on people’s Top 10 lists of the year.  If you love science fiction, go see this movie.  If you love movies that stick with you well past when you’ve driven out of the parking lot, go see this movie.  For me, this was probably the most important film of the year.