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@mariomguy: Blade Runner: Final Cut / Blade Runner 2049
Posted: Posted June 15th, 2019
Edited June 15th, 2019 by Cruinn-Annuin
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I recently watched both Blade Runner films (re-watch for the original, which I watched last year some time; two recent watches for 2049). I really like both of them and I'd like to revisit an old conversation that we had about them that didn't really go anywhere at the time.

Here's the original thread: http://gtx0.com/read/blade-runner-question

Don't watch Blade Runner. Just watch the Youtube clip of the tears in rain speech and listen to Vangelis' love theme: the two greatest things from that movie are all there. You'll bore yourself to death watching the whole thing.

Saying "do not watch" something is essentially saying that it is objectively bad. Blade Runner isn't. It's well-written, well-acted and well-shot. There's a decent amount of intense character moments. The movie is not overly long (less than two hours) and the main reason that the Vangelis love theme and the "tears in rain" speech have so much impact is because of the context built up over the entire film. It is not an objectively boring film, especially for someone that has a pre-existing interest in sci-fi or tech noir. There are details, striking visuals and tense moments throughout.

The story could've been told in an hour and still feel long. Instead, it's a 2.5-hour bore fest with occasionally interesting visuals and quidbits (the Tyrell building, the fluorescent umbrellas, the unicorn/dream/android concept). But ultimately, it felt like a good premise and atmosphere stretched too thin.

Did you find some hidden 16th version of the film? Because not even the Final Cut is even two hours long. The Final Cut (the definitive, complete version) is 117 minutes.

It seems like all you find interesting from the film is stuff that you looked at a said "that looks cool", plus the foregone conclusion that the "tears in rain" speech was good. If you blatantly don't care about the character building, the plot building, the atmosphere building, etc., then you are more suited to watching the latest 80-minute animated crapola and not a serious film.

The idea that the movie is "too thin" is, if anything, the opposite. There is a absolutely huge amounts of implied worldbuilding - stuff that goes far beyond "oh, that building looks cool". You saying this does make sense in the sense that you have missed a lot of content because you do no look at things even remotely close to how people like I look at things.

Upon finishing Blade Runner 2049 for the second time, I love it. It's a great movie with very solid end-to-end structure. I like how they let scenes marinate in their atmosphere, build tension and resolve naturally. I would not prefer to have the 163 minutes cut in any way.

I also love how dark, violent and gritty the film is. It's tragic and deadly. K's suffering, especially with regard to the racial undertones and the Joi problem, is powerful. I went into this fully prepared to not be as effected by it as I was by Drive and to have my experience shadowed by it, but it absolutely was not.

I also appreciate that Harrison Ford had a role in which he was allowed to act and was not simply showing up on set, arranging the crags of his face into a stern expression and reciting lines.

I love it, my friends love it. The only people I've seen say that it sucks are dumb casuals and trolls on the internet.

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I really appreciate that they did not approach the Wallace Corporation with the stereotypical "evil corporation run by evil guy that we eventually kill" story. Niander Wallace is weird and I don't like him, but he's not a dumb, mustache-twirling villain. The replicant rebels aren't plucky young clean-faced heroes, either. They represent two sides of the same coin, and this becomes clear in how they treat Deckard as a microcosm. The Wallace Corporation wants to exploit millions of replicants in the course of pushing mankind into a new era; the rebels want freedom at the cost of bloody rebellion and the sacrifice of each other. Both sides treat Deckard's life as not his own and this is why Joe doesn't kill him. I love it.

Posted June 15th, 2019 by Cruinn-Annuin
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I actually think I might like 2049 a little bit better (no rape-y scenes kinda helps). The movie is definitely long, but I found it so captivating. The idea that something needs to be short or that visual media needs to be "efficient" in its storytelling just seems so fundamentally anti-art that it kinda hurts my soul a little bit. It gives no room for artistic expression, or for differing styles of storytelling, or really anything that makes art so complex and great. It reduces it to machine-work. Obviously, length can be a problem, but it has to do with execution. And I find both Blade Runners truly do execute very well.

I've also never really understood the idea that if something moves more slowly, it is "boring." For me, Blade Runner 2049 was sort of like There Will Be Blood in that its "slowness" is a big part of why I found it so captivating. It might not have had a lot of action, but it gave a lot to watch and take in.

Posted June 16th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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I didn't find the original interesting. It wasn't for me iirc I opted to watch Silence instead and loved that movie.

Posted June 16th, 2019 by S.o.h.
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For sure, neither Blade Runner film is going to be everyone's cup of tea. But there are many reasons why the original is generally regarded as a classic piece of sci-fi film and the sequel was generally very well received among sci-fi fans, too.

Posted June 16th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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Posted June 25th, 2019 by Cruinn-Annuin
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Posted July 9th, 2019 by Cruinn-Annuin
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Yeah, so, Blade Runner has a great atmosphere, but it's boring as hell. The same story could be told in one hour without losing the atmosphere, but instead they drag out everything longer than it needs to be, and it's not fascinating. The same movie, just a little bit faster and a little more emphasis on the high notes would shine brightly through the atmosphere and stand out. Instead, very little truly stands out in that movie.

Compare that to something like Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke or Nausicaa. They're both longer than Blade Runner, the atmosphere is also thick, and there are plenty of quiet moments, too, but they're both more engaging.

I can probably appreciate Blade Runner for what it's TRYING to do and what it actually accomplishes, but it's far and away from being the shining star everyone proclaims. I think people remember their favorite parts of the movie and what it makes them feel rather than the moment-to-moment boredom that you get actually watching it.

Posted July 10th, 2019 by mariomguy
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Boring as hell... to you.

Mind if I ask what you thought of There Will Be Blood?

Posted July 10th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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Nice response, bro.

There Will Be Blood? Did not see it.

Posted July 10th, 2019 by mariomguy
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Right, but you are speaking pretty definitively and even arguing that the filmmakers could have made it "better" by making it something different. (I'm also not entirely sure you really understand what exactly they were going for when you talk about it being "boring" and "could have been told in less time and with faster pace.")

I mention There Will Be Blood because that was another movie that I suspect that you would find boring and would argue could have been told in less time (I mean, especially given that it's a 3 hour movie), but is the kind of movie in which the supposed slow-pacing is what makes it so captivating.

Personally, I think if Blade Runner had gone the way that you suggest, I'm not sure it would be much more than a generic sci-fi flick that doesn't really do anything all that differently.

Posted July 10th, 2019 by Jet Presto
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