Long, funny list of the many flaws in Blade Runner 2049

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/30/you-own-an-eyeball-factory.html


Gripes about the list of gripes:

why is Leto’s character blind?

I don’t think he’s blind. I did not get that impression at all, but I did wonder about the shiny eyes as a signifier that his eyes were artificial (sort of like the shiny eyes in the original film). As he can see through those drone things, it’s clear he’s got some sort of augmented vision.

The relationship between the replicant and his chatbot was interesting, though they certainly didn’t explore any of the implications. He’s someone’s property, she’s his property, shit rolls down hill.

I thought it was interesting as well, but my thoughts on viewing it was one of irony: In a future, if you find it difficult to find a fulfillment in a relationship, you can just order a tailor-made partner. The irony comes from the fact that he himself is exactly this in the form of a Detective. The movie, “Her”, did provide a much more thought provoking take on artificial intelligence. But this commonality might really have been a cornerstone of their relationship, giving them a way of identifying with each other through their artificiality. (Presuming the viewer believes their feelings to be real, even if they are not “real” in a legal sense)

How is this anything but the writer saying, “I’d like to see a nameless, naked crying woman get a knife to the uterus, that would be rad!”

Or perhaps it was the filmmaker trying to express how much Leto’s character saw himself as God. “God giveth life, and he taketh away”.

It is all explained to you.

I do agree. This movie was good, but not great, for all the reasons mentioned. I think Hollywood is on a trend of explaining everything right now, but I feel that pendulum will swing back. I don’t think this is the New Normal any more than the original Film Noir was.


Jump to the 1:50 mark.

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Not explaining why he is blind is not a plot hole. That’s like thinking they need to explain why a holograms hair is blue. If anything, they over explained at least two points. One, being the risk with the emitter and no backup and the other when K(Joe) finally realizes the identity of the child with flashbacks to scenes we saw already. The movie could have been 30 minutes longer with longer establishing shots and less talking down to the audience (at least twice which isn’t too bad but it stood out)


I enjoyed “BR2049”. I really did. It’s gorgeous to look at. And Ryan Gosling – who’s also gorgeous to look at, if you like that kind of thing – actually did a good job with K’s emotional arc from robotic slave to feeling entity. And like the original, it leaves you with both images to treasure and things to think about.

But the review here nails it when it calls it "jarringly white". I swear, I didn’t go to the movie looking for diversity (I’m a white guy; we don’t even think about this stuff until we have our noses forcefully rubbed in it). But it was so very very white that it felt more retro than futuristic. The sheer whiteness of it all actually pulled me out of the movie. There are a handful of African-American characters (or maybe African-African, because I think Doc Badger is actually Somali), and a token cranky Asian neighbor, but somehow the movie still manages to feel whiter than its predecessor, a film that – even if the main characters were all white – at least gave the impression of taking place in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic city.

Most poignant of all is Edward James Olmos’s role as the Last Hispanic in Los Angeles. Someone once asked what unimaginable apocalypse wiped out all the Asian people in the “Firefly” universe, leaving nothing of them behind except their signage and some curse words. There’s clearly a similar story here, and you can read the weight of the tragedy in poor Ganz’s slumped shoulders. We still don’t know what exactly happened in the Blackout, but whatever it was, it was clearly fatal to the vast majority of Latinx people.


Actually we do. Watch the anime short Blade Runner 2022 Blackout:


I feel like more than a sequel, it was an extended fan tribute, made by people who, as a committee, didn’t really understand the first movie.

which version of the first movie?

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Indeed, they clearly established in the first Blade Runner that their replicant-growing tech didn’t equate a cure for all human ailments. Sebastian had a genetic aging disorder and Gaff walked with a cane.


In a series of films where the “eyes” are a huge motif and a part of the story…why wouldn’t this character have something wrong with his eyes? Also mirrors back to the first one: Tyrell with his coke bottle lenses (and that Batty killed him by gouging his eyes out)


We don’t know because they don’t know. Not a hole, a plot device. The audience has the same level of ignorance as the character in this case. We can assume it is big corporate muckety-muck but it’s just supposition. Corporations gonna do what Corporations gonna do. Probably covering up something but “Oh well, nothing we can do about it.”

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I agree that Wallace’s eye’s aren’t a plot hole, since they have nothing to do with the plot. In fact, Wallace himself doesn’t seem to have much to do with the plot; he’s less a character than part of the scenery. As such, he can be using spooky drone eyes for whatever reason the richest man on Earth (and probably the Colonies) might decide to forgo mere replicant eyes for remote-controlled, multi-spectral, multi-viewpoint drones.

Also, what’s with the smug pride of “getting” the first movie?

First movie was a future noir film with lots of smoky, dark rooms.

Second movie went for a tone shift and a genre shift.

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Point of order: Though there are many similarities with our world the Blade Runner films are clearly not set in our timeline (for example, no one had cell phones in 2019 and Pan Am was still a thriving company in 2049). Perhaps in that universe the giant naked statues were built in the 1970s.


I loved creepy Jared in that. Here’s the third short:

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I think that’s a very strong, reasonable criticism. That scene’s misogyny serves no purpose except as misogyny.

I also think the filmmakers could have given some of the meatier roles to actors of color. It’s just ridiculous that they didn’t.

Many of Zawinski’s other criticisms, however, are only reasonable if you expect Blade Runner 2049 to make sense. I don’t believe that’s a reasonable expectation. The film is just eye-candy; intellectually, it’s a joke (not the funny kind, the sad kind). They’re fine criticisms, but I think it’s silly to expect so much from the movie.


One thing that struck me about 2049 was that nearly every single casting decision was the most boring one available. If they had changed the gender of any single character, I think that would have been the more interesting choice in every case - if they could have kept the script and acting otherwise similar (e.g. making K’s boss a man would have been more interesting only if they’d also kept the sexual tension between them).


Where was this depth of criticism for MMFR? Some of the same arguments apply, but MMFR seemed to generate endless defense of critical analysis.


I thought it was continuing the references to eyes and vision that the first Blade Runner movie had made. Dr. Tyrell had those coke-bottle glasses indicating poor eyesight. Roy Batty made a comment about “if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes” to Hannibal Chew, the Tyrell eye designer. The Tears in Rain speech was all about what Roy had seen. The Voight-Kampff test measures fluctuation of the pupil and involuntary dilation of the iris. In 2049, the replicants have a serial number under their right eye. I’m sure there are more I’m not thinking of at the moment.

ETA: Oh duh - how Roy kills Dr. Tyrell…


I’ll have to watch it again, but I don’t remember any sexual tension between K and his boss.