Blade Runner 2049: Making America Dismal Again 

If you thought the 1982 version was depressing...

click to enlarge Dystopia isn't what it used to be.
  • Dystopia isn't what it used to be.

In George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the inquisitor O'Brien says: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." Blade Runner 2049, the brilliantly depressing sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 Blade Runner, sees the future slightly differently. Same boot stamping, but the face may not necessarily be human, and compared to the landscapes inhabited by 2049's characters, O'Brien's Room 101 is, well, like sitting on an adjustable lounger in a downtown multiplex for two and a half hours, then shuffling out for a cup of tropical juice.

Blade Runner 2049 plays games — dangerous games — with our notions of the unendurable. As directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) from a screenplay by Hampton Fancher (who co-wrote the original) and Michael Green — adapted as before from the science-fiction writing of Philip K. Dick — its first goal is to sweep us off our feet with electronic splendor, and then to get us to pause and consider our own present situation. The first goal is triumphantly achieved on screen; the second may take some courage.

LAPD "Officer K" (Ryan Gosling) zips around the awe-inspiring, soggy wasteland in his airmobile, hunting renegade replicants and getting absolutely no respect. He has no friends, several bosses, an unending supply of brutish android "clients," and, at home, a changeling e-playmate (Ana de Armas) to entertain him. In that regard, nothing much has changed from the original. But Villeneuve's version goes out of its way to announce that it's a stand-alone monolith of dispiriting sci-fi visions. And with that comes a full package of extras. The production design (Dennis Gassner), cinematography (Roger Deakins), and music (Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch) are overpoweringly evocative.

With his deadpan demeanor, Gosling is ideally suited to the role of a police-state cop haunted by elusive dreams of a spurious "past" and no longer satisfied with shtupping holograms. When he finally meets up with Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard at the latter's man-cave casino, we're happy there's a straight line from Scott's earlier pic to this one — that includes Sean Young and Edward James Olmos, along for the ride 35 years later. They, and virtually every other character, are some variety of slave.

2049 is rich in showcase roles for actresses. Armas, Robin Wright (as K's boss), and particularly Sylvia Hoeks (K's nemesis) make us want to forget all about the male protagonists — a firm reminder that no one in the remake comes close to the charisma of Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty. The 163-minute show drags a bit in the last act, but aside from that — and the danger that techies may view it as a documentary — Villeneuve's remake is the slickest fantasy in many moons. Dystopia isn't what it used to be. It's far worse, and in this case that's a good thing.


Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve. With Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Now playing.

Blade Runner 2049
Rated R · 164 minutes · 2017
Official Site: bladerunnermovie.com
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Producer: Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, Ridley Scott, Bill Carraro, Tim Gamble, Frank Giustra, Yale Badik and Val Hill
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Hiam Abbass, Barkhad Abdi, David Dastmalchian, Wood Harris and Edward Olmos

Trailer


Now Playing

Afternoon

2:30 PM Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
2:35 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
2:45 PM AMC Bay Street 16
5614 Shellmound St., Ste. 220, (in the Bay Street Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
2:55 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
3:05 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
3:20 PM Alamo Drafthouse New Mission
2550 Mission St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
3:30 PM Century 16 Hilltop
3200 Klose Way, (at Hilltop Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
3:30 PM Landmark California Theatre
2113 Kittredge St., (at Shattuck Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049
3:30 PM Regal Jack London Stadium 9
100 Washington St., (at Embarcadero West)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
4:05 PM Rheem All-Stadium 4
350 Park St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
4:20 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
4:30 PM Landmark California Theatre
2113 Kittredge St., (at Shattuck Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049
4:40 PM Alameda Theatre & Cineplex
2317 Central Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
4:45 PM Century 25 Union City
31200 Alvarado Niles Rd., (at Dyer St.)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
4:45 PM Century 16 Hilltop
3200 Klose Way, (at Hilltop Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
4:45 PM Sundance Kabuki
1881 Post St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
5:00 PM Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Ave., (at Lake Park Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
5:30 PM AMC Bay Street 16
5614 Shellmound St., Ste. 220, (in the Bay Street Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
5:30 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
6:10 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
6:15 PM Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
6:40 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
6:45 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Century 16 Hilltop
3200 Klose Way, (at Hilltop Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Landmark California Theatre
2113 Kittredge St., (at Shattuck Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049
7:00 PM Regal Jack London Stadium 9
100 Washington St., (at Embarcadero West)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Alamo Drafthouse New Mission
2550 Mission St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
7:20 PM Rheem All-Stadium 4
350 Park St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
7:30 PM Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Ave., (at Lake Park Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
7:45 PM AMC Loews Metreon 16 with IMAX
101 Fourth St., (101 Fourth St.)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
8:00 PM Landmark California Theatre
2113 Kittredge St., (at Shattuck Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049
8:10 PM Alameda Theatre & Cineplex
2317 Central Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
8:10 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
8:15 PM Century 16 Hilltop
3200 Klose Way, (at Hilltop Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
8:25 PM Sundance Kabuki
1881 Post St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
8:30 PM Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Ave., (at Lake Park Ave.)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
8:30 PM AMC Loews Metreon 16 with IMAX
101 Fourth St., (101 Fourth St.)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
9:15 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
9:15 PM Alameda Theatre & Cineplex
2317 Central Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
9:15 PM AMC Bay Street 16
5614 Shellmound St., Ste. 220, (in the Bay Street Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
9:25 PM AMC Van Ness 14
1000 Van Ness Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
9:45 PM Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Ave.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
9:50 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
9:50 PM West Wind Solano 2 Drive-In
1611 Solano Way, (at Arnold Industrial Pl.)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
10:00 PM Regal Jack London Stadium 9
100 Washington St., (at Embarcadero West)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
10:00 PM AMC Loews Metreon 16 with IMAX
101 Fourth St., (101 Fourth St.)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
10:15 PM Alamo Drafthouse New Mission
2550 Mission St.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
10:20 PM Regal Hacienda Crossing Stadium 20 & IMAX
5000 Dublin Blvd.
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
10:30 PM Century 14 Downtown Walnut Creek
1201 Locust St., (between Olympic Blvd. and Mt. Diablo Blvd.)
Blade Runner 2049 3D Buy tickets...
10:30 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...
10:30 PM Century 16 Hilltop
3200 Klose Way, (at Hilltop Mall)
Blade Runner 2049 Buy tickets...

Film Details

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Movie Review

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2017

Fall Arts 2017

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation