BLADE RUNNER 2049
BLADE RUNNER 2049. Denis Villeneuve, dir. Michael Green, script, Hampton Fancher, script and story. "Based on characters from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Dennis Gassner, production design. USA/UK/Canada: Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. et al. (production) / Warner Bros. (US distribution), 2017. See IMDb for complex details of production and distribution.
Sequel to BLADE RUNNER (1982) significant here primarily for four repeated images. (1) Ryan Gosling's replicant character "K" is tested after action in a small, white metal room, with no visible interrogator but with a testing/surveillance portal that looks like a primitive Industrial, post-modern ancestor to the eye of Hal 9000 in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. (2) K's ambiguously holographic female friend and mistress Joi can travel outside K's room "in" what looks like a large thumb drive. (3) Dr. Ana Stelline — PLOT ELEMENT REVEAL FOLLOWS — Deckard's daughter may or may not have an auto-immune conditition that keeps her inside a relatively large, protective environment that can act like a holo-deck, projecting in one scene impressive, because very rare, images of lush plant growth. (4) Jared Leto's Niander Wallace is a blind rich antagonist with artificial eyes and subtle associated hardware and software that make move him a step or two toward a seriously creepy cyborg.
Look then, for threatening containment and protective containment, and hints of a natural world very different from the post-disaster world of 2049, where not only are non-human animals rare, but so are plants.
Note that the human in this movie most closely associated with the manufacture of replicants is slightly cybernetic, for a hint of a cyborg. Note also that multiple videos of holograms include singers such as a young Elvis and a b/w image of Frank Sinatra — for a low level of "reality," set off elsewhere against a scene in which K's holographic mistress visually merges with a fully-flesh hooker who resembles Pris in the original BLADE RUNNER and who turns out to be a replicant: resulting in an ontologically challenging consideration of a sexual ménage à trois among (1) a human-looking K, (2) what we see as a human sex worker, and (3) what is clearly a hologram who (sic) comes across as a sweet and caring human being.
CAUTION: The film suffers seriously from what has been called "Pinocchio Complex" or "Pinocchio Syndrome": the arrogant assumption that androids and humanoid robots — such as Mr. Data of ST:NG or Asimov's Bicentennial Man — like Pinocchio want to become "real" by becoming human, paying insufficient attention to the ambiguity in the slogan of the Tyrell Corporation repeated in BR 2049, "More Human than Human." Also, absent sequels clarifying the politics of the film, BR 2049 can be read as a variation on the theme of pronatalism that privileges heterosexuality, and as a work in which people of color are pushed into background roles in ways especially inimical to understanding the historical relationships among slavery, class, and race.
RDE, Initial Compiler, 6,13,14 October 2017