Blade Runner 2049 and The Search for Existential Life – TWB79

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Blade Runner continues the conversation it began thirty-five years ago with an even deeper questioning of the morality to creating life and when life finds a way. Since Jeff Goldblum stuttered those words in the first Jurassic Park, the question of life coming into being outside the control of its creator is not just a popular quote but a think well consideration. If we[humans] are to be the next creators of life then we must take the responsibility of allowing life to live, breath, and think without interference.

EPISODE MENU

Human soul 46:01
Camouflage robots 44:41
Wired In 39:26
Sex Robots is how Skynet takes over 34:50
Bots Be Talking on Facebook 31:11
Dystopian Movies and youth 30:31
Does art have a place in box office 27:52
2049 Bombs 23:15
Farmhouse and Cinematography 19:29
K and Joi 17:46
Blade Runner Review 14:08
Blackout 2022 10:00
Essential Burrito 8:27
life finds a way 7:23
4k DVD Magic! 0:24

 

FOR STARTERS

Free will.Given to us by God, within the Garden the of Eden and guess what happened? Two horny teenangers ate that damn apple and cursed men and women for years to come with hard work and labor for both genders.

Bible stuff! But before you nod off, let’s just consider that this is all wrapped up in one big ol’ existential burrito.

In the first movie, The Blade Runner, the Tyrell Company created androids known as replicants. The replicants began to think and act for themselves, showing thought with led to decisive actions beyond programmed instruction. When Batty, a replicant, and his crew conscientiously to escape enslavement from an Off-World colony, the Tyrell company sent trackers known as Blade Runners to eradicate these defections; they’re creation; it’s children; it’s sinners.

All throughout the first Blade Runner movie, scenarios popped up which gave life to replicants who were believed to not possess natural emotion. In many scenes of this movie, the replicants showcased more sympathy and humanity than their superior species.

Skin jobs, as they were known, were never accepted as people; they were pets, slaves produced to serve. And this only capitulated the fear of the product after the Blackout of 2022.

Blade Runner Short Tales: Blackout 2022

If you have not watch it, Blackout 2022 is an anime produced, ala The Matrix, as a visual representation of the events preceding Blade Runner 2049.

A band of renegade replicants in conjunction with human sympathizers; in particular a young man who is involved with a replicant, detonate an electronic pulse that cuts off power to the Off Colonies and Earth.

This event, in theory, erases the names and locations of every replicant within the database used to by the Tyrell Corporation to monitor said creation and track them down for retirement. However, there are still hard copies of records under the ownership of Neander Wallace, who following the fallout of 2019 and 2022 absolve the Tyrell Corporation and pursued his own interest in creating sentient life. This beholden knowledge plays a crucial role in 2049 and K’s investigation into the Tyrell corps past transgressions.

Shinichiro Watanabe, creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo produced this short film [Blade Runner 2022] blending his style of art with the futuristic psychology of Akira and Ghost in The Shell. Such a subplot within the movie would have derailed the storyline and slowed things down more than this nearly three-hour movie needed; that’s why it works as simple exposition in the film.

As a short story, this really works well because they didn’t have to operate inside the realm of the two movies artistically. Pretty sure many people overlooked this thirteen minutes video, but if you have the time now then pause this podcast and go watch. Or if you are reading the blog then just press play below.

I love his use of music (jazz with Cowboy Bebop and rap with hip-hop with Samurai Champloo), the music heavily influences the art and Shinichiro mends them together perfectly into a story episode or movie is impeccably audacious.

Also, the action scenes are always great. I don’t know how they animate martial arts so well but they do and it is a wonderful compliment to the painstaking work involved in creating a single scene.

Blade Runner 2049 is a definite burrito.

One great aspect of this film is the seamless transition from the first movie. Thirty-five years after Deckard and Rachael escaped into hiding Earth looks horribly dystopic, way worse than depicted in the first film. After the Blackout, this world of 2049 is bleaker and even less hopeful of salvation.

Replicants are feared rather than discussed. The population knows of their presence; living, breathing, consorting with the likes as humans. The problem is the who and not the where amongst them do they live. Replicants live in fear of discovery just as human fear their resurfacing.

I can only assume it stems from the first replicant escape in 2019, the original Blade Runner, and the Replicant Revolt in 2022. Thirty-five years and so much has happened between the first movie and now that 2049 almost doesn’t work storywise.

The Blackout actually made it worse for human life to thrive as the replicants of Off Worlds were used to help cultivate food for the dying breed. Any way you splice it, people lived in fear of replicants and the Blade Runner is as much a needed but less desired mediator to the chaos.

Both films show us a different side of the replicant: they weren’t all bad individuals. Much of the violence they inflict upon humans was out of fear of being captured and/or retired. The newer models of the Nexus Dawn variety are “beings” built to serve and obey longer than their preceding models.

Neander Wallace believed so much in his creations that he sought what any other creator might do; look for more ways to make his creations better. K, in search of replicant rebels, will ultimately do this for him by proxy.

K is a skin job, who works as a tracker for the LAPD; serve and obey, protect when only instructed. His mission is to track down the McGuffin that would bring down this premise that Earth is safe from replicants. Not only is K great at his job, K represents what it’s like for a replicant to live life as a human in virtual solitude. With no physical being as a companion, K finds comfort in a holographic program akin to our Siri or Alexa… Joi a virtual assistant programmed to make life more effortless and in this instance less lonely.

In these scenes with K and Joi, we feel his loneliness which is hard to consider because [K} is not human and therefore has no feeling of longing; they’re all part of a program, unreal. There is this beautiful scene in the movie where all of this is conveyed and it’s utterly sad. That is if you believe K and his emotions are real. Goslings somber melancholic gaze illustrates so perfectly the feelings of a replicant… nothing.

Like Deckard, K discovers there is more to fear than the preservation of replicants, and it’s a secret his superior, Lieutenant Joshi played by Robin Wright, intends to quell and Neander Wallace, the creator of the Nexus breeds wants to cultivate.

Art Direction and Sound of Blade Runner

The transition from 2019 to 2049 was almost seamless due to the ability of Villeneuve and team to use sound and art similar to that used in the Blade Runner’s dystopian society. Villeneuve used Ridley Scott’s film as a template and sampled from it the color palette and fantastic spews of light to achieve this feeling of emptiness in a world so full of colorless despair.

The first scene in the farmhouse with Bautista used the dark as Ridley Scott had in Deckard’s apartment; it was a great throwback to the original film and a perfect setup for what was to be admired in the sequel.

Cinematographer

Villeneuve may have had the vision but cinematographer Roger Deakins had the lens to capture the picture. This guy has been in the business for a long time. Accredited to his pedigree are movies The Shawshank Redemption,” “Fargo,” “A Beautiful Mind,” and “Skyfall,” Deakins truly continues to amaze us with spectacular imagery.

For me one of the best shots of the movie was the opening sequence when K arrives at the farmland outside the city, and also the soaring image of K inside his cruiser as moves over the desolate cityscape of Los Angeles; the many tenements which through peaks of narrow openings give the viewer a look into a city remembered from 2019.

We see the change. Earth is dead. Plagued by extreme cold and the threat of rising water; this is truly a world afflicted by more despair than the world displayed in 2019.

The Technology

Thirty-five years after the first movie, the tech has evolved beyond the need of its people. Loneliness and survival seem to be the impetus for technological advance; survival for people with money.

In a multicultural metropolitan like Los Angeles, it’s not surprising that the keep to yourself mentality wouldn’t’ surpass the need for everyone to work together for the common good of each other.

Commerce is only substantial to the individual.

We see this in many third world countries today, the significance of the marketplace. A place where you buy and trade goods for money or product. Ghost in the Shell has a similar statehood in its interpretation of a futuristic Japan overwhelmed by immigration and suppressed economy growth at the behest of the more powerful and rich technology centers.

What Critics and Other Headlines say about Blade Runner 2049

The first Blade Runner was neither a critical success or a box office hit. Most of its praise come from film junkie and theorists like myself, people who saw the film as not only great but also found the premise worth keeping alive in conversation. 2019, like, 2049 are visionary masterpieces, hands down. Both films will be appreciated by those who can muster the attention level to sit, watch, enjoy, and think later.

Was it going to make oodles of cash? Eh, maybe not.

SCOOP DU JOUR: Are movie-going audiences lazy?

A movie like Blade Runner 2049 will go underappreciated by the masses, but does that mean we as the audiences are lazy? Yes… yes, it does. Lazy and unpredictable.

Judging the audience these days is similar to attending to the needs of a child who will not stop crying. Try one thing and it might work for the moment but repeat that thing over and over, and the kid will catch on.

Today’s audience doesn’t want to think as we watch. We’re in the age of instant gratification, and a film like Blade Runner, 2049 will never appeal to most moviegoers.

The film is a slow-burning two hour and thirty-minute exercise in patience, but it pays off at the end. I felt the same of Mother! A film that gives you all the images you need to make the decision yourself as to what type of film you want it to be. Open-ended themes are the precipice upon which good conversation is built and that’s what makes a movie like Blade Runner or Mother great works of art.

Does art have a place in movies?

Every film made is a work of art, no matter how well made the film. The problem we have these days is that people don’t see them that way. And truthfully neither do I. Filmmaking in Hollywood is more concentrated on making a successful movie than making an interesting film.

Nature of the business. This goes back to the instant gratification: Open the movie with a question or problem and solve it for me please because my head hurts.

The difficulty filmmakers have today is balancing art with entertainment. Disney recently released a few directors from Marvel projects and it’s not because they were bad directors, but creative differences. To be told how to perform your art is difficult for many people but seeing that this is the nature of the business; roll a chicken. Until you get some “industry cred” like a Whedon, Abrams, Spielberg, or Villeneuve filmmakers are pretty much stuck doing the status quo (at least for major studios).

Blade Runner bombed at the box office. The climate of Hollywood and audience interest isn’t ripe for something this good. Consider the importance of this film today thirty-five years after the first movie debuted, flopped, and surged.

Is Deckard a Replicant? Hell, I still don’t know and that’s the beauty of the film. I can ponder that scenario till the day I die. In fact, I may add this to the list of films I want to be played on my death bed.

Sure, cinephiles and kids who dabble into the film history love the original movie and came out to watch 2049 in earnest, however, it’s not about them. 2049 needed to attract a new audience; more mass appeal from the curious rather than the expectant.

Question: Are we tired of dystopian movies or tired of remakes and sequels past their due dates? Tell me in the comments to this episode.

Dystopian movies:

Hunger Games, Maze Runner, World War Z, The Walking Dead, The 5th Wave, Divergent, The Giver… You know, you would think young people would be more interested in Blade Runner since most of the films catering to the likes of their reading habits centered around some sort of dystopian society.

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THIS, THAT, AND OTHER NEWS: How I know we are headed for a Blade Runner-like dystopia:

  1. The Great Szechuan Fiasco.
  2. In August, Facebook, had to shut down an AI experiment because the bots formed their own language and began communicating with one another.
    -The robots had been instructed to work out how to negotiate between themselves and improve their bartering as they went along. But they were not told to use comprehensible English, allowing them to create their own “shorthand”, according to researchers.
  3. Scientist have created a skin to help camouflage robots. I shouldn’t have to speak on this much and only reference you to the movie T2 and the T5000.
  4. Headline Sex robot frenzy: Horney fans so excited they grope interactive love doll until it breaks.
  5. Wired In: Andriod Feels (Jay’s Dish)

Inventor Hiroshi Ishi­guro builds robots.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW

 

 

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If God did not exist, everything would be permitted – Dostoevsky

Episode Length 50:58:00

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