This isn’t a review but more of a wandering essay about the new Blade Runner movie. I’m going to include spoilers, so stop reading if you hate spoilers.
They wanted to elicit sympathy for the replicants by showing the rampant discrimination and hatred against them. The movie certainly accomplishes this. It does not show much the alternate side of why replicants are so disliked. Do replicant hookers tear marriages apart, as humans can’t compete against them? Do replicant slaves take people’s jobs, forcing them onto the dole? Nothing is said about the other side of the argument, and the movie is rather one dimensional.
Throughout, I had the opinion humanity would be far better off to not create anything like replicants. Our penchant for slavery is too deep, something we constantly fight against. Creating an entire slave race is a bad idea. (Yes, I saw the TNG episode “The Measure of a Man.”)
The relationship between K and his holographic girlfriend Joi occupies a major part of the storyline. Indeed, I enjoyed the movie more when I focused my attention on the relationship and stopped waiting for Harrison Ford to show up. Ana de Armas is luminous in the role and brings necessary charm and enchantment. The movie lures us into believing this is a great part of K’s life. Joi offers frienship and understanding. She gives K the name Joe. I grieved when Joi was destroyed.
But the whole relationship is false. K can’t touch Joi. She employs a prostitute to provide the necessary physical sensations for K to make love to her. At the end of the encounter, the prostitute says, “I’ve been inside you, and you’re empty.” After K returns from Las Vegas, he encounters a huge billboard advertising the Joi holographic girlfriend. The generic software talks to him, calling him a good Joe, the same name his Joi gave him. He realizes the whole relationship was a trick to keep him subdued and disconnected from his fellow replicants. It was this final encounter that causes him to go rescue Deckard, and provide Deckard with a real relationship with his daughter.
As a final thought, how does the industrialist Niander Wallace actually command people’s loyalties when he’s so frickin creepy? You’d think he’d get pushed out into a research position after the first board meeting. Why would people keep working for this guy? By all accounts, Steven Jobs was a dick to work for, but didn’t he have some force of personality at least? And was Wallace human with implants or did a replicant replace him at some point? I couldn’t be sure. He came across as a stereotypical creepy villain, rather like Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman.
The music was very loud. The pacing is slow. Seeing it a theater forced me to watch the movie all in one sitting, and I stayed awake (the loud music helped with that). Home viewing would have led to splitting up the movie over two or more sessions, with rewinds due to napping.
If only to see what it’s about and form your own opinion, I recommend the movie. It’s preferable to see it on the big screen for the whole visual and audio experience. Since it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, a matinee or bargain theater viewing is recommended.