Blade Runner 2049

Writing MovieWRONGS

By Jim West

Blade Runner 2049

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Written by Hampton Francher, Michael Green

Sometimes the curse of memory is too much to bear.  Sometimes that curse of memory can make and break a film.  This is sadly the case for an otherwise near perfect science fiction film that does raise a question of the lines between humans and those who strive to be more like humans.  Yet does this desire foster hope?  If hope can exist in replicants then perhaps this film’s point is that humans over time become so robotic and droned out in the noise of what is considered life that our replicate slaves are actually more human than human?  My apologies, Rob Zombie, I just had to say it.

Here comes the spoilers.

In 2049, bioengineered humans called replicants have been integrated into society as servants and slaves. K, a newer replicant model created to obey, works as a blade runner for the LAPD, and hunts down and retires rogue replicants. My first issue with K is why would the LAPD let him have a home?  Why not keep him in a room in the HQ? To allow him to live a more human life?  Okay let’s keep it moving.  At his home he has a holographic girlfriend Joi (Alexa and Siri look great in 2049…lol), an artificial intelligence projection that sometimes appears all too real and there are moments where you ponder if she actually can ‘feel’.  The scene in the rain is just such a moment that blurs the lines of what is human and not. Even K who cares for Joi has clearly developed emotional attachment to her. 

During a mission to retire a replicant, he discovers a grave with remains that are determined to be of a replicant who had given birth.  This proves shocking to K and his boss played by Robin Wright.  Wright orders K to investigate the whereabouts of this child and to retire it as the knowledge of a replicant birth would cause a war between replicants and humans.  K is somewhat conflicted as this would be murdering a being that was born.  Yet in his investigation he uncovers a date which he is connected to by a memory he has.  Upon speaking to the person who creates memories for replicants it is further revealed to him that the memory is real and not created.  Ahh the curse of memory.  K now shows some emotions of anger which again blur that line of human or more than human. 

Wallace Corporation is then brought into the mix as their founder played by a creepy eyed Jared Leto wants to obtain the secrets to how a replicant can give birth to further his already astronomical profit margins.  So a few issues here.  If this man is clearly the richest man in the universe, then why would he just be in it for the money?  I felt they teased a bit with his God complex, but why would a man with all this technology and money not just fix his eyes?  Again questions left unanswered that upon really thinking about it starts to loosen at the plotlines holding the film’s antagonists together.

With Wallace Corp, the LAPD, and another shadowy group on the trail, K believes he is the child and his feelings connected to the memory seem to urge him on to find the truth of what happened.  He goes on to seek Deckard, a former blade runner, who is in hiding in a radioactive wasteland of Las Vegas (Seems like something bad happened in Vegas and definitely stayed there..bah dah dum).  It isn’t long before Deckard is taken by Wallace Corp and some unsettling truths are given to K.  He is NOT the child he thought he was.  No are NOT a real boy!

The shadowy group comes to K’s rescue and reveals themselves as a replicant resistance cause.  Their leader reveals the child is a girl not a boy as K discovered and K puts it together to who that is.  On the resistance’s insistence that Deckard be rescued or killed in order to protect the child, K takes up the call to do the right thing.  Which is a choice that is essentially makes a being ‘human’…and now the lines are so blurred I must insist the answer to Philip K. Dicks ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ is NO.  They dream of real sheep and being real.  This film essentially has replicants being more human than their masters and perhaps that is the goal here.  So how to improve this film?  For starters the fact that K only has a few memories is the first problem.  If he was to be believed to be a real boy he should have had more memories.  Now those can still be from the same source, but you just need some more there to really connect the audience to the point of him being more real.  It was just too much a leap to go from K the replicant to K I am a real boy!  Also the LAPD would have his records from his creation onward ad would he not have checked those records FIRST?  Poor background character writing right there and all the film’s protagonist plotline hinges on that one memory.  Watching Ryan Gosling get all emotional is not enough fact to prove he is human when the innate desire is to be more human.  Hopes and dreams is what K and the screenplay writers hang unto for this to work.  For K to have been close to real he would have needed more memories.  Even repressed ones that maybe unlock as he grows more emotional as perhaps a safety mechanism built in to help replicants cope with emotions.  Isn’t that what the memories are for anyways to give a buffer for emotions? The entire film fails in the lack of memories and therefore the curse of memory holds up but in this case the lack thereof. Fix this by adding in more memories becoming unlocked as he goes deeper into the investigation, and you fix this issue and perhaps leave the audience with a film they will remember.

Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.   

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