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Review: Blade Runner 2049

By Andy Duncan

So what to say without spoiling the movie?

It is very, very good. However, it is also very, very long.

These things need to be long, however. So I’ll give it a pass on that front. When you’re dealing on the deepest Misesian levels of what it is to act, to dream, to remember, to love, to live, to die, to actually be human, and to act as a human, it’s impossible to knock it all out in eighty-seven minutes.

So I understand director Denis Villeneuve’s dilemma there.

It also underlines the original message of the original movie, that we are moving into a new age where everything will be different but where everything will be the same.

Instead of ‘real’ life, we are now living a virtual life, with vibrant personal relationships spanning thousands of miles on a daily basis, but ‘real’ relationships in ‘real’ space and ‘real’ time suffering, because we’re spending too long each day symbiotically wired in to our WiFi devices and emotionally disconnected from physical reality.

Are we becoming genetic robots as a result? Are we becoming androids dreaming of electric sheep?

With the name of ‘Andrew’ myself, derived from the same etymological root which gives us ‘android’, I wonder.

All in all, the movie was well worth seeing, especially for a strong fan of the original movie, such as myself. I think if you do go to see it, however, it’s essential that you’ve both watched the original movie and loved it. I think it would be a stretch, a very long stretch, for anyone else.

I loved the Rutger Hauer homage, the whisky-drinking canine moment, and the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant moment, appropriate of course, for a movie with Harrison Ford embedded deeply within it. And speaking of Mr Harrison, I thought it was cheeky, after all these years, that we still never got to find out whether he really was a replicant. Perhaps some things are just too good to know?

Perhaps this may finally get revealed if Blade Runner III comes out.

Also watch out for the two main female leads, one named ‘Love’ and one named ‘Joi’. The writers had lots of fun playing with both these names and the situations our protagonist found himself locked into with these two artificially intelligent ladies.

Alas, I think the movie fails to break into my current Top-25 movies. But maybe on rewatching, it might. I think it will take me a few months or maybe even a few years to summon up the mental energy to watch it again. But I think I will, in the fullness of time.

A few quibbles. but nothing too Earth-shattering, and all much too difficult to relate without spoiling the movie, except perhaps one point. In all of the huge pauses throughout the movie, I would have loved to have been given more of a clue as to the nature of the society in which this film is enmeshed.

Is it a global police state? Is it a corporate kleptocracy? What happened in all those years between Deckard’s escape and his subsequent re-emergence within this technologically-advanced but still apparently bleak dystopia, albeit a dystopia still bearing all the signs of having lived through some form of ‘Singularity‘?

I’d say four out of five, if you’re going to force me to give it a rating. It failed to rapturously excite me, but perhaps it did deeply affect me?

As Zhou Enlai might have once said about the French Revolution, I’ll have to wait a while to discover the full long-term consequences.

Andy Duncan is an Honorary Vice-President of Mises UK and also the Chief Technology Officer of FinLingo.Com

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