This week we finally have a new cyberpunk, neo-noir film to talk about! Blade Runner 2049! Is Denis Villeneuve able to piece together the convincing Blade Runner universe that Ridley Scott portrayed so well in the first Blade Runner or should this franchise be, “retired?” Listener Confession this week from Austin of Reaper Interactive (via WordPress).

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Show Notes:

Nerd News

  1. A Bob’s Burgers movie will hopefully be coming in 2020! No specifics on the film yet, but it will be animated and 20th Century Fox stated that they know it’s an important film and they will make sure it’s in good hands. http://deadline.com/2017/10/bobs-burgers-movie-release-date-fox-1202181837/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
  2. The Pixel 2 phone by Google and manufactured by LG has officially dropped the headphone jack and only has USB-C. Again seemingly becoming the norm for phones. https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/4/16423456/its-official-pixel-drops-the-headphone-jack
  3. West world Creators had hinted to medieval and Roman worlds to come in season 2 of the HBO series. http://deadline.com/2017/10/westworld-creators-tease-medieval-and-roman-worlds-in-season-2-of-hbo-series-1202181900/

  4. Jackie Chan in a radio interview stated that after turning down Rush Hour 4 scripts constantly he finally agreed to one and Rush Hour 4 might soon be in the works. No word on if Chris Tucker is willing to do the sequel though. http://deadline.com/2017/10/jackie-chan-teases-rush-hour-4-radio-interview-chris-tucker-1202183308/

  5. Halloween is coming back with theming in Overwatch. Lots of new themed costumes and loot. https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/7/16441036/overwatch-halloween-terror-2017-skins-leak-blizzard

Blade Runner 2049

What is Blade Runner 2049 and how is it doing in theaters?

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Blade Runner which released in 1982. The first Blade Runner was loosely based off the 1968 novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” The author of that book, Philip K Dick was not a fan of movies, but when he saw the opening scene he exclaimed that this is his universe. The book, the 1982 movie and the sequel we are talking about today are all about a cyberpunk or neo-noir future where replicants of humans are made and used as slave labor. This leads to the question what is it to be human, have a soul or be worthy of life?

1982 Blade Runner was directed with Ridley Scott who was fresh off of directing Alien (1972) and Harrison Ford was in leading role fresh off of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and of course previously doing Star Wars. Blade Runner 2049 uses a talented director as well, Denis Villeneuve who directed Arrival last year. Arrival had a very good reception (94% on Rotten Tomatoes). Ryan Gosling was cast in the leading role in Blade Runner 2049 to seemingly get that same lady appeal the original had.

Blade Runner 2049 was aiming for an opening weekend of $50 million, however they barely broke $30 million. Still at the #1 spot, but was not able to win mainstream appeal like other science fiction films such as Gravity (55 million opening) or The Martian (54 million opening).

Current Rotten Tomato rating for the film is 89%, was 94% before official release. Really shows how the film is held in high regard by critics, but didn’t win that mainstream appeal. Also rated at 81 on Metacritic and 8.6 on IMDB. Some are calling it one of the best sequels ever made, praising it for it’s smarts and visuals. While others complain about the length of the movie (3 hours) and it’s pacing. 1982 Blade Runner shared a lot of these same criticisms. You can describe both films as, “Science fiction Pornography.”

Blade Runner 2049 development

First development of a sequel was spoken about in 1999. Blade Runner Down was going to be what it was called and it was going to be based off the novel, the Edge of Human, but there was concerns about the rights to the novel so it never happened.

Ridley Scott in 2007 at San Diego Comic Con stated he wanted to make a sequel called Metropolis based around the Tyrell Corporation and off world colonies.

2009 it was reported that Ridley Scott and his brother were working on a Blade Runner prequel called Purefold set in 2019 and was going to be a series of 5-10 minute shorts, but production ceased due to funding In March, 2011 it was reported that a new sequel was under development and that Christopher Nolan was desired as director.

February 2012, Ridley Scott stated he would lead production of the sequel and that Harrison Ford is not likely to be involved.

November 2014 Ridley Scott stated he would not direct the film and would instead produce. Denis Villeneeuve was confirmed as director and ford was also confirmed to be returning.

November 2015 Ryan Gosling came on for his leading role.

Strangely in May 2016 Warner Bros. got distribution rights for the film domestically, but due to a partnership Columbia Pictures, Sony has international distribution rights. Alcon Entertainment who has the rights to the property had a history of always working with Warner Brothers.

Principal photography began November 2016 in Budapest Hungary.

Soundtrack: Rapper-producer EI-P asked to compose music for the first Blade Runner 2049 trailer, but was “rejected or ignored.” Jóhann Jóhannsson who recently did, “Mother!” and Arrival was said to be doing the soundtrack, but soon left. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin wallfisch joined 2017 to compose the soundtrack. Benjamin Wallfisch did the majority of the work and recently did the tracks for It and Annabelle: Creation. Hans Zimmer of course is known for tons of great soundtracks such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight and Inception.

The film premiered in Los Angeles on October 3rd, 2017. Standard Release October 6th.

 

Blade Runner Universe

The 1982 Blade Runner film takes place in 2019. At this point it’s best to think of it as an alternate universe because there is no where we are getting that universe in 2 years.

In the Blade Runner universe we’ve exhausted the Earth’s resources. All animals are dead, there are no more plants. The world is overpopulated. The only hope for humanity lies in the stars and resources from other planets. A lot of that is hard work and hazardous, which resulted in Tyrell Corporation creating replicants. Replicants are almost indistinguishable from humans, but don’t have memories and are emotionless as a result. They also have superior strength, but they still have human anatomy. Living long enough replicants would develop memories and emotions, but as a countermeasure to that they were given only a 4 year life span. Pets are also produced and a common question when someone sees an animal or plant is, “is it real?” To which a common answer would be, “Of course not! You think I could afford a real one?!”

Replicants began to revolt and run away. As an answer to this Blade Runners or cops who basically operate as detectives hunt down the rogue Replicants to, “retire,” them.

The 1982 film has Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) come out of retirement to hunt down four replicants that had escaped from mining duties on offworld colonies to Earth. He is a talented Blade Runner, but his talents seem to only extend to investigations, he’s always taking a beating.

In the middle of his investigation, Deckard meets with Tyrell who introduces him to a prototype replicant named Rachel with memory implants. He has him do a test on her to see if she’s a replicant and she nearly passes for human due to those memory implants. Because of the test she questions if she is human and ends up running away and being hunted for, “retirement,” as a result.

The escaped replicants are hunting down their makers in an effort to extend their lifespan. They end up killing Tyrell and having a final encounter with Deckard in the, ‘Bradbury apartments,” which is an actual building in downtown LA which was constructed with a future look in mind in 1893. It’s a very cool building.

In his final moments with the replicant leader, Roy, Deckard felt sympathy for them and instead of, “retiring,” Rachel he ran away with her.

Deckard a replicant? There were several hints throughout the film that suggest Deckard is a replicant. The largest hints were not in the theatrical release, but in the Director and Final Cut later released. A scene was added where Deckard has visions of a unicorn while playing the piano as. This explains the last scene of the film where the cop the both aids and arrests Deckard in the film leaves an origami unicorn on his door step when he is picking up Rachel to run away with her. This strongly suggests that the unicorn dream/memory is an implant and that he is a replicant, but it is still heavily debated. Director, Ridley Scott has confirmed that Deckard is a replicant, while Harrison Ford claims he is not.

Three short films were released explaining major events that took place between 1982 Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.

“Black Out 2022” https://youtu.be/4DEPwVo8xZ8

As the Nexus 6 replicants depleted in inventory due to their limited lifespan Tyrell Corp produced Nexus 8 replicants which were purpose built and had memory implants in an effort to better control them. Humanity became less accepting of replicants and began hunting them down and rioting against replicants. In an act of self preservation an escaped group of replicants set off a giant EMP bomb which took out nearly all electronics on Earth resulting the an event referred to as, “The Black Out.” This made it easier for the replicants to elude capture.

“2036: Nexus Dawn’ https://youtu.be/UgsS3nhRRzQ

After the Black Out replicants were banned from creation which bankrupt Tyrell Corporation. Humanity fell upon tough times. Wallace Corporation came into the picture and averted famine with protein synthesis. In this short in the year 2036 Wallace of Wallace Corp uses his resources after acquiring Tyrell corp to make his own Nexus 8. With his influence after saving humanity he is able to lift the prohibition on replicant production.

“2048: Nowhere To Run” https://youtu.be/yJYH9aGEEGg

In this short we see the replicant with a golden heart, Sapper Morton (played by Dave Bautista) exposed after performing a good deed.

 

Blade Runner 2049 Movie & Plot

1982 Blade Runner took place only in Los Angeles and Tyrell Corp, in 2049 we get about 5 other locations with vastly different color schemes and moods. If I miss one thing from the old film it’s the over populated and busy downtown Los Angeles scenes with neon signs and smoke everywhere. All the locations were great though. We have Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Wallace Corp, A country-side and the ocean.

The 1982 Blade Runner was able to pull of the futuristic neo-noir feel very well, but had tons of CRT screens (old 4:3 aspect ratio tv sets) everywhere. Believe it or not they kept that theme in this film! While a lot of the screens didn’t exactly look like CRT screens, they kept 4:3 aspect ratio and even had rounded edges. What really made us overlook that was probably the introduction of projection technology. Giant dancing ballerinas and naked women advertisements that walk around the streets. Must have auto driving cars? A lot of crashes if you drive manually.

In the 1982 Blade Runner, Ridley Scott had a glint appear in any replicant animal or humans eyes to help indicate to the audience something was different about them. Maybe as a tribute to that serial numbers are now found on Replicants eyes by asking them to look up and to the left. You still have serial numbers in the cellular structure as well like with 1982 Blade Runner as well.

The new Wallace Corp replicants seem to be regularly tested to see if they are on a baseline. What do we think about this test? I got a very THX 1138 feel from it. (Another sci-fi movie i love, college project by George Lucas that later became an actual film). Also reminded me of Equilibrium.

Wallace Corp. Should we have kept Tyrell company? What did we think about the Wallace character? (Played by Jared Leto). What’s with the hovering cockroaches?

Agent K mirrors Deckard in a lot of ways from the first movie. How do we feel Ryan Gosling did in this role?

Agent K’s superior, Madame or Lieutenant Joshi played by Robin Wright (House of Cards). What did we think of her?

Wallace had a favorite replicant he named Luv and that he uses to do his work. Luv is played by Sylvia Hoeks. What did we think about her?

What is Joi? An AI girlfriend made up of only projection technology. You can’t touch her. This introduces a different type of what is it to be human question. She is made up of programming only and does not share memories and other similarities to humans like Replicants do. Was she a benefit to the film? What was the significance of the Peter and the Wolf theme? It would play when she was summoned and when she was listening. If Joi is Peter what are the other characters? (Grandfather, Duck, Bird, Wolf). How do we feel Ana de Armas did?

Naming of main characters. Luv (Wallace’s hand), Joi (Agent K’s companion) and Madame. These names have meaning in the film. Did you think about it? Did you appreciate the meaning?

Too much love triangle? How did we feel about the love interests for Agent K?

Harrison Ford? Not in the movie enough? Was he convincing?

Overall thoughts? What do we rate it?

 

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