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November 13, 2017 10:15 PM   Subscribe

 
This was a hell of a movie which I can thoroughly recommend going to see if you're thinking "should I go see this". It will play directly to you and fuck with you.
posted by billjings at 10:26 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


Those miniatures are gorgeous. I said in the FanFare thread for the movie that I bought it as the same world from the very start, and I suspect the shared use of miniatures between the two movies is much the reason why.

I also somehow missed that Denis Villeneuve directed both this movie and Arrival. That seems rather appropriate, Arrival had such a lovely sedate pacing to it without ever seeming slow. He seems pretty good at letting the movie just unfold, which is perfect for Blade Runner.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:54 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


More concept art.
posted by Artw at 12:01 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


I was surprised when I learned they had used proper old skool miniatures on this as I'm so used to everything being CG now. Hopefully it'll pick up some technical Oscar noms... and that Roger Deakins will finally get his gong.

The film's got its faults but overall I really liked it. It's a pity that it's poor box office performance means we probably won't be seeing any more of that world. Villeneuve is one of the few directors I'd trust not to screw up showing us Tannhauser Gate etc.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:11 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I’m stunned that the garbage desert was miniature. It looked incredibly real, to the point where I knew it couldn’t be CG but couldn’t imagine they’d dressed a such a huge set. Amazing.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:06 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


I couldn't help but notice that Wallace had the little floating lasers or cameras (or whatever they were) to act as his eyes. Yet aside from the drones and vehicles, I don't remember anyone else in the film having anything that floated. So that seemed like another example of the issue described in the last article--the wealthier characters having the most fabulous technology.

We were shown several other types of technology in the film that were very impressive, yet being used in limited ways--for example, K's brain-phone, the ground X-ray, and all the holograms. I can imagine plenty of other purposes for those things, and wondered why they weren't being deployed for other uses.

I too am pleased to learn about the use of miniatures in this film. Blade Runner 2049 looks great. I was rewatching the newest Planet of the Apes movie this weekend--a very good movie with very good effects--and noticing how even the best CGI still falls victim to people's artistic bias; even if something unreal is well-modeled, it is often lit much more dramatically than it should be, and so it stands out and looks fake. I always hope there will be more miniatures and animatronics to do film effects.

Fanfare.
posted by heatvision at 4:29 AM on November 14


I couldn't help but notice that Wallace had the little floating lasers or cameras (or whatever they were) to act as his eyes.

I know it wasn't your point here but with the subtle clicking they produced I assumed they were some sort of sonar, not imaging.
posted by sixfootaxolotl at 5:12 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


It verges on the tragic that so much craft, care and love went into such a vile movie.

Scott's Alien prequels made me sad, but Blade Runner 2049 is a truly nasty piece of work. The only feelings it succeeded in arousing in me were anger and, perhaps, boredom.

My hope for these talented craftspeople is that they someday find a project fully worthy of their talents.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:13 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Scott's Alien prequels made me sad, but Blade Runner 2049 is a truly nasty piece of work. The only feelings it succeeded in arousing in me were anger and, perhaps, boredom.

Care to share?
posted by sixfootaxolotl at 5:20 AM on November 14


Care to share?

What's to share? The overwhelming, indeed central affect of this film is an entirely gratuitous, murderous misogyny. Women are there to be gutted or shot point-blank in the face, are gutted or shot point-blank in the face to make the shallowest of points, without even moving the plot along. No amount of loving craft redeems that, or can, or could.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:52 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Interesting - I had the completely opposite reaction. For me, the central aspect of the film is women's ability to rise above the misogyny inherent in society -- Joi is a fully-realized character despite her origins, replicants prove they are more than their creators think they are, women lead the resistance, etc. I thought the message was ultimately uplifting.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:38 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]


I guess I fall somewhere in the middle of this debate. Right up until the Big Twist, it feels like every female character is there to serve men (either literal servitude or ego-stroking) and then die a "beautiful death". Also I'm kind of done with Asian-flavored futurism that's completely lacking in Asian characters.

But on the other hand, it nicely subverts the trope of "a story about a Very Special Man and how he is More Special than anyone else on earth". The scene with the Joi advertisement near the end (again! mixed feelings! gross unnecessary objectification and ego stroking but with a bit of depth to it!) is all about the line "You look like a good Joe". Because Joi didn't come up with a name for K out of love or breaking out of her programming, she did it literally because that's how she was programmed. K isn't special, he didn't teach a robot to love, he isn't *wanted*. If anything, I have the opposite view from Ben Trismegistus; for K, Joi, Luv, etc, the story is about "what if this is all I am".
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:11 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


This probably isn't the place to debate this, but

Joi is a fully-realized character despite her origins,

is, forgive me, an inexplicable reading of a character who at no point does anything outside her programming, which is to be a compliant, infinitely validating source of attention and emotional succor for her owner/operator.

But as I say, this is a discussion best held somewhere else.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:14 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


is, forgive me, an inexplicable reading of a character who at no point does anything outside her programming, which is to be a compliant, infinitely validating source of attention and emotional succor for her owner/operator.

It's not "inexplicable", the nature of Joi and whether she is acting on her own or just following her programming is one of the core questions of the movie. That's literally the entire point of the character.

This probably isn't the place to debate this

Then you probably shouldn't have opened the debate with declarations of the film's terrible misogyny.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:39 AM on November 14 [7 favorites]


It feels almost de rigueur to loudly deride the misogyny on display in Blade Runner 2049, as if it proves something about your social equality chops. It's interesting to see here some nuanced interpretations of the work and how it subverts some tropes.

I think there are definitely problems in the world of Blade Runner, but that's a depiction of a specific world, and not an endorsement of that world.
posted by trif at 8:23 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


It's a weird movie. The production design, directing and worldbuilding are all amazing, on a level with its predecessor and I don't say that lightly. The soundtrack, when it's allowed to be it's own thing*, is flat out amazing, adding to the foreboding visuals. And then there's the actual story, and it's dumb as rocks. Not just slight, which I think you could accuse Blade Runners story of being, but distractingly dumb. And yes I think it's both a commentary on misogyny and falls into a lot of traps of misogyny, and would be far better without almost all the Wallace scenes. I think it gets closest to saying something interesting with Joi but veers away from making that the focus.

* there's a couple of spots where it apes the original too much and like everything else in the movie those are the weakest bits. The tears in the rain bit is just fucking dumb.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on November 14


It feels almost de rigueur to loudly deride the misogyny on display in Blade Runner 2049, as if it proves something about your social equality chops.

This kind of comment, implying that someone's expression of dislike for a movie is fake and mere virtue signalling, is very uncharitable and inappropriate for MetaFilter.
posted by straight at 8:55 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


straight said it before I could, and more politely than I was about to. Thank you.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:56 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


It feels almost de rigueur to loudly deride the misogyny on display in Blade Runner 2049, as if it proves something about your social equality chops.

"Loudly deride"? How about accepting at face value that some here genuinely see the film as misogynist and aren't just posturing for the sake of imaginary internet street cred? If you have an actual argument against his position, there's no need for shade. And "I'm just describing it, not endorsing it" is problematic when it veers close to voyeurism, see e.g. Game of Thrones. Doing X ironically is still doing x, there's no getting around that.

Personally I think, while not any more so than the typical Hollywood flick, the film certainly did have issues when it comes to misogyny. Gratutious, leering violence against a character who is a woman is maybe not 100% necessarily misogynistic, but placed in context of male screenwriters and director, it takes a bit of hubris for them to think they can find the fine line, or that they don't need to worry about the line because "art."
posted by xigxag at 8:57 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


(Oops, I see someone else addressed my first point, didn't mean to pile on.)
posted by xigxag at 8:58 AM on November 14


Yeah, I have a hard time getting to a "nuanced interpretation" of scenes involving the butchery of women in a film written, directed and produced exclusively by men. It seems to me that even asking someone to look for that nuance is a bit of a provocation, given the context.

And I certainly don't think that pointing this out is necessarily to do so "loudly." It certainly isn't any louder than the film was in spilling women's blood. I don't know what I can do for you if you find the mere fact of my opinion offensive, but I might suggest you spend some time thinking about why that opinion abrades you so.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:06 AM on November 14


I watched this on Saturday and I'm still thinking about certain scenes and visuals that are stuck in my brain. The film was far from perfect but it was beautiful and engaging. Even with all of its bloat and self-indulgent Leto, I found myself smiling on the way out the door. I'm going to watch it again this week before it leaves the theatre. This is one of those films that deserves to be seen on the big screen.
posted by Fizz at 9:17 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


This is a movie that I've had some interest in for a while so have consumed an awful lot of dialogue on it, both prior to it's release and after. There are a range of interpretations of the movie, as we are seeing here.

It has seemed to me that some people (and i'm not meaning specifically in this thread) have been more vicious in their take down than is perhaps necessary? That's not to say that I think people are expressing opinions that are not their own, or that they are wrong for having those opinions. I think I had felt that the strength of their argument was overtly stated?

I have perhaps been overly cynical and yes, uncharitable in my reading of these comments. As is always the case, what we take from an online interaction is rarely the full story.
posted by trif at 9:30 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Actually, that's not good enough:

I'm sorry.
posted by trif at 9:32 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


As much as the style of 2049 and its predecessor is to be admired, I can't help but to yearn for a straight-up, A Scanner Darkly-level faithful adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? set in San Francisco, with a married Deckard, Mercer, the goat, ads for lead-lined codpieces, the Penfield Mood Organ, and its own different set of visionary aesthetics. Maybe make it a miniseries and toss in some nods to the game like Ray McCoy, and the K.W. Jeter sequel books like the dehydrated deities and Sarah Tyrell.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:40 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]




Artw, I don't think you were at all wrong to post this — as I say, I hugely admire the craft and talent involved, and am always curious about matters of technique.

But you have to know that folks are going to question the work of expression that craft has been placed at the service of realizing, most of all here. I can love the look of this film, enjoy its soundtrack, and even appreciate one or two performances in it while still feeling that it's on the whole a repellent document, not deserving of my repeat custom.

Thank you for having the decency to say that, trif.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:27 AM on November 14


I actually don't blame anyone for disliking the movie or seeing it as misogynous. I think one of the brilliant aspects of the movie is that it is ambiguous enough to generate wildly different reactions.

For me, the misogyny is intentional - not in a voyeuristic, Game of Thrones way (thank you, xigxag) - but as a means of setting up the conflict. The brutally violent scene that people are referring to (if I'm inferring correctly) is in there to demonstrate that Wallace is a monster more lacking in empathy than his creations (allegedly).

specialagentwebb and adamgreenfield, good point about Joi -- I should have said that the question of whether or not she was a fully fledged character or merely parroting her programming was fascinating to me, and was a microcosm of the overall themes of both movies.

And I thought the ending was just wonderful. YMMV, of course.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:19 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Interesting - I had the completely opposite reaction. For me, the central aspect of the film is women's ability to rise above the misogyny inherent in society -- Joi is a fully-realized character despite her origins, replicants prove they are more than their creators think they are, women lead the resistance, etc. I thought the message was ultimately uplifting.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:38 AM on November 14


Agreed. It's rising above oppression all the way down.

Film goers are not ready for the underclass to be represented as anything other than pretty white people like Mackenzie Davis and Ryan Gosling. That this underclass is not only creating - both literally and figuratively, but also consuming, and also has their own problematic shit to work through - well, we can't even see, and therefore don't discuss, that part. Even they create, and even they exploit.

And we're going after Villeneuve? Really? Look at what Robin Wright is doing in this movie vs. something like Forrest Gump. Or Amy Adams in Arrival vs. the Superman movies. Or Emily Blunt in Sicario vs. her role in The Adjustment Bureau. It's kind of amazing that Villeneuve gets to make big budget studio movies at all.

Still - when trying to meet multiplex film goers' expectations around violence, misogyny, and whitewashing - this movie still basically made no money. That's a bad thing, both for this movie, and the next movie that tries to be better with regard to all this stuff.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 11:24 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Also, the killing of the newly birthed replicant is well-covered in the fanfare thread by oneirodynia, and probably should be in that thread vs. this one. Specifically:

Naked newly born replicant had to be female because Wallace was talking about wombs and children, the discussion is literally about raising more slaves to serve "humans". It's a scene of objectification and dehumanization whilst bemoaning the fact that replicant females can't be made to have babies; a fucked-up simulacrum of fundamentalist views of women today (no birth control for us!). I thought it was incredibly effective use of imagery in a scene that unfortunately went on too long. The naked replicant is vulnerable, confused, and ultimately murdered because she is barren. I think it's a vital, timely message about the female as a second class citizen, even/especially if she chooses/has no choice to not have the children men want her to have.

Now, is there a way to get that across without the sexualization and violence of that scene? Probably. But it's still worth thinking about why some of you saw the exact opposite of what that scene (or the movie, in general) was trying very hard to get across.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 11:44 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I think, to get back to the OP, regardless of what you think of the movie's plot or subject (and not even from a moral perspective- what you think of the quality or coherence or how well it holds up compared to the original), the art direction and style is absolutely top-notch. There have been fairly middling-to-mediocre sci-fi movies with great imagery. Remember that year when both Oblivion and Elysium came out? As well as After Earth, which I did not see. And there are problematic films with good art direction as well.

As an Asian American person, I thought that for all of the issues with the Scarlett Johansson racebent rendition of Ghost in the Shell, it still had great visual effects and style and at the very least those visuals can be taken and reused and remixed in YouTube AMVs and high school student videos and other amateur project until the end of the internet. You can ignore the plot and dialogue and all that it stands for, and you still get imaginative visuals. Perhaps the same can be said of Blade Runner 2049.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:46 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


[one deleted; if you want to talk about the art direction, go ahead and do that rather than opening continued meta discussion about other people's opinions about the movie.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:57 AM on November 14


I watched the movie again a couple of days ago and kept thinking "I can't believe how good this CGI looks", not imagining it was models. The trash pile scenes in particular I couldn't figure out.

All the computer interface models were amazing and the article made me want a behind the scenes documentary about that.

I'll be watching this many times.
posted by bongo_x at 12:12 PM on November 14






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