Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Human being: ‘Blade Runner 2049’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | October 11th, 2017

As thrilling and thought-provoking a sequel as one might hope, “Blade Runner 2049” leverages potent nostalgia for one of the most influential science-fiction films in the canon.

It’s a tall order to measure up to Ridley Scott’s stunning 1982 accomplishment, and filmmaker Denis Villeneuve -- working for the third time with cinematographer Roger Deakins -- pays homage without succumbing to pure slavishness.

While the new model contains enough echoes, parallels, and callbacks to infuriate some members of the same crowd who carped about structural similarities between “The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars,” the pleasures and charms of metanarrative and intertext can enhance, rather than diminish, one’s enjoyment of the “original,” whatever that is today. There are, after all, some seven versions of the cyberpunk landmark.

Ryan Gosling, in taciturn “Drive” mode, is Blade Runner KD6.3-7 -- K for short -- a dutiful civil servant reporting to Robin Wright’s Lt. Joshi in the L.A.P.D.

Sent to dispatch a replicant named Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) in a scene that pays tribute to the tense interrogation of Brion James’ Leon Kowalski by Morgan Paull’s Dave Holden, K discovers an ossuary that sets into motion a plot that draws on one of the first film’s core questions: how do we define personhood? That mystery, pondered from multiple angles and through the carefully engineered eyes of several supporting characters, is just as loaded in 2017 as it was thirty-five years ago.

While the “more human than human” replicants continue to be produced as specimens of uncanny beauty and unfettered physical strength and stamina, their new “father” is Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace, a Croesus-rich shadow replacing Joe Turkel’s Eldon Tyrell.

Leto, whose optical impairment and careful diction veer awfully close to an attempted imitation of the inimitable Turkel, is abetted by deadly femme fatale Luv (Sylvia Hoeks). Hoeks is cool, but she’ll never be as cool as the richly drawn and beautifully written likes of Rutger Hauer’s unforgettable Roy Batty. Who could?

The half-angels/half-devils that filled out Batty’s crew of kick-murderers, basic pleasure models, and cargo loaders gave “Blade Runner” urgency and pulse. They wanted more life, f*cker.

But accelerated decrepitude and Methuselah Syndrome are absent from “2049.” A different existential theme resides in Joi (Ana de Armas), the artificially intelligent companion of K. The novelty of the relationship between Joi and K, complicated by the presence of Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), calls to mind some aspects of the complex operating system in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner” is roughly 45-minutes longer than the first, and the extended running time of the sequel is not necessarily an asset. The much anticipated return of Harrison Ford to one of his signature roles is, along with another jaw-dropping surprise, deliberately postponed until later in the film.

Curiously but not unexpectedly, the expository retrofitting that backfills Deckard’s biography doesn’t quite match the man we thought we knew. Even so, Deckard’s monkish existence in a space-age bachelor pad, complete with virtual Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe, sees Villeneuve confidently staking out a different vibe from the overpopulated street-level chaos of Scott’s Los Angeles.  

Recently in:

MANDAN – Hundreds of trials for activists who stood against the Dakota Access Pipeline have seen the judge’s gavel, but only two, so far, received jail time.Mary Redway, 64, a retired environmental biologist from Rhode Island,…

When asked what sparked her interest in tattoo culture, Danielle Colby, star of the hit reality TV show ‘American Pickers,’ replied, “I think that came from my grandfather. He was in the Navy, so he was heavily tattooed. I…

Thursday, October 26, 4pmCopper Ridge Event Center, 21 18th St S, FargoWhile working on his beloved pickup truck, Fred Lassonde sustained a traumatic brain injury, ending his 8-year career as a Fargo Police Officer. Benefit to…

Editorial

You too? Me too.

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: We’ve all been there, been followed, stalked, or worse...On Sunday night, Alyssa Milano tweeted: "Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we…

God didn’t save six million Jews from the Holocaust eitherWe have become so used to mass killings by firearms in the “United” States that they are generally ignored, except for the really unusual or big ones like Texas Tower,…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Friday night we were burning the midnight oil, carousing, drinking, and rambling about. The downtown dogfight has been stirring for a while, biting at my heels and barking in my brain. It was time for this idea to come to fruition.…

“Experiences like these are a reminder why I have chosen the right career path; it is my hope that the things I do on stage as a speaker or a singer are able to lift someone’s spirits, help them through a tough time, or serve…

In 1948, George Orwell predicted a dystopian future in his pinnacle work ‘1984.’ Orwell died before he could see if the future was plagued by unending war, a totalitarian government and rigorous loyalty rituals as he’d…

Arts

​Beau Thiege, Guitar Man

by Sabrina Hornung

The High Plains Reader ran into Beau, master craftsman, who works with what the Minot Daily news called “junk repurposed into musical masterpieces.”High Plains Reader: How did you get into luthiery?Beau Theige: I came across a…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Dipping into your cellar to pull out a special bottle is something that used to be fairly exclusive, wine connoisseurs only. These days, cellaring is gaining more and more traction among hardcore craft beer consumers, who continue…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to…