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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:06 pm 
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One critic, Matt Singer, wrote an article somewhere where he knocked the original for failing to make a strong emotional connection. The same article then goes on to call Blade Runner 2049 a superior film because it managed to do just that. I can see why Singer would write that, but I had the opposite reaction to both films - I think the former can really get under one's skin whereas the latter left me cold.

Singer knocks the mysterious and abstract nature of the former, but I think it works in that film's favor. The central characters of both films generally go on a journey to find their own humanity, and I think that kind (or level) of introspection for anyone in real life will seem fairly abstract or even enigmatic to anyone on the outside - it's just the nature of anything that personal. With Blade Runner 2049, that element of the story is laid out in clearer and more direct terms. I can follow it very easily, but the trade off is that it feels too tidy and simple.

I also found the violence to be a bit distasteful - specifically when one particular replicant did their killings. When I think of it now, there was a lot about the way that violence was used in the film that really put me off. The motivations for those killings, the way they lingered on what happened to the victims afterwards...again, I have to consider why a filmmaker would choose to depict something like that in that manner. Simply using graphic violence alone isn't a problem - I can think of other graphic displays of violence that didn't put me off in the same manner.

Beyond that, the film was impressive to look at, and Roger Deakins is incredible. It's interesting to see this and the original film - if one really wanted to, you could probably do a paper on the cinematography from an auteurist perspective. Like the original film, there are quite a few shots in Blade Runner 2049 that feel as if they were wholly the cinematographer's own inventions. (There are certainly visual motifs that pop up in Deakins' other work.)

(I don't want to be too hard on Singer, but when he doesn't get the original Blade Runner, it can feel like it's his own failing more than anything else. For example, he makes a flip dismissal of the interrogations by singling out a question: "Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?" It doesn't sound like he's really putting much thought into why that would be an effective question within the world created in Blade Runner. Think about the violence pervading that world and what's happened to animals in general - maybe seeing the skin of a once living mammal in that manner might provoke a very different reaction.)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:03 pm 
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I feel compelled to weight in as well. While I will not argue that this film is perfect, and probably would not cite it as this generation's essential sci-fi film--my money's still on Her for that one--I think 2049 is very good, with moments of sheer excellence. The visuals are astonishing, and I can't recall a recent film that I've enjoyed watching as much as this one. Kudos to Villeneuve, Fancher, and Green for threading the needle in terms respecting the previous film and carving out a distinct space in which their new story can exist. I also agree that the decision to unfold the film at such a deliberate pace is remarkable, given the way the film is being marketed.

With general impressions out of the way, I don't think 2049coasts on nostalgia as some have suggested, and instead argue that it uses nostalgia as a motif that contributes to the thematic sweep and overall meaning of the film. Furthermore, the film's nostalgia is not empty; it is consistent with and expands upon facets of the original film. While it sits well with me, I will concede that its effectiveness is debatable depending on an individual's reading of the first Blade Runner, especially with regard to what a particular viewer identifies as the prior film's most essential elements.

Anyway, I've lived with Blade Runner for years; I saw 2049 yesterday. I'm still digesting the film, and agree that it has a certain...I don't know, directness?...that I didn't quite cotton to. As mentioned above--and without getting too specific--I also noticed 2049's foregrounded sense of tidiness. I wouldn't go so far as to call it incorrect or unacceptable, but it does clash with the original film's abstract and incomplete nature, which I also count as one of its greatest virtues. I have some interpretive ideas regarding 2049's neatness budding in my head as I think about the film now, but definitely need some more time and at least another viewing to begin to parse those thoughts.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:09 pm 
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Kermode's review is particularly encouraging. And though I haven't seen the film yet I have heard the score in isolation and can say it is very good overall so that's a relief. It actually comes across to me as a more purely ambient score than the original, which is somewhat surprising. But it's less distinctive than the original too (other than at the very end, nothing like Memories of Green or Blade Runner Blues appears here). There are grand, rapturous, even transcendent passages as well though (such as the movement starting around 52:00). This is one that seems like it will be much more enriched and enhanced by seeing the images that go along with it and having those associations to draw upon. Still, an admirable achievement against monumental odds. I love Ford's description of BR2049 as "a cathedral of a movie". This music is often majestic and fits that.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:03 pm 
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So what did I make of Blade Runner 2049? I found it frustrating. Frustrating because I wanted to love the film and did love it, utterly love it until the last 25 minutes. It is a beautiful looking film and for a long time I thought this has even more to chew on than the original film. Several scenes and images in 2049 are absolutely exquisite. And then it nosedives after the Vegas casino sequence. As we walked home, my husband and I realised that the movie lost us in the exact same scene for choices the filmmakers make with the narrative though we were bothered by different choices. From there on in, we were effectively disconnected from the movie and that was a shame. My own disappointment comes from the feeling that what the filmmakers choose the turn of the story and the resolution to be about is very pat and rote, especially when everything prior to the last third is really quite wonderful. I think 2049 is a very fascinating and haunting film and for the longest time, it feels like a home run. For me, it botched the landing and that kind of breaks my heart. A mere 8 when it should have been a 10.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:22 am 
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Rapturous, arid minimalism. A waterfall of emotion. Tarkovsky on muscle relaxers.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:05 pm 

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To me this film failed on a very basic level. It was not able to tell a compelling story. All the cliches they threw in did not help either. The plot feels like a lazy writing job. My hopes were up during the first third of the film, but from there it was all downhill. Saying that, the cinematography was absolutely breathtaking. Can't say the same about the sound design though - I could not believe how bad it was, considering all the talent involved.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:06 pm 
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I found this aesthetically wonderful (although the over-abundance of teal and orange was grating) but substantively hollow. Part of my coolness on the film is its grandiose plotting, dealing with rebellion and a messiah child. I much preferred the grounded story of the original, which I've heard described as feeling like a subplot within a larger epic. It seems like every sci-fi/fantasy film now is concerned with telling this great world-changing story, which I find tiring and overdone. But I also struggled to connect with Deckard's reintroduction and it's from that point that the film takes an unfortunate turn, altering what came before in the film with a poorly conceived twist and ending that's deeply unsatisfying. It is a visual feast, but I am in no hurry to sit through this again.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:25 pm 
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Clarence wrote:
swo17 wrote:

Probably why they ended up going with Leto.

Does Tilda Swinton no longer walk the Earth?

I seem to be in the minority here as I thought this was rather excellent. I have some plot questions as I think on it, so we'll see how it all sits, but I liked the story being told -- I'm sure there was a temptation to do a soft remake/reboot, but this movie dives head-first into audience expectations and uses them as a foundation rather than a destination. The look is of course beautiful as can be, and I enjoyed the pacing. I find Zimmer hit-and-miss but he's a pretty good mimic, so I thought the score worked, even with all the BRAAAAHHHHHMMMMM. There were a number of subtle callbacks to the first film, and certain resonances that didn't strike me as heavy-handed.

The plot issues might end up bothering me over time; those that exist don't bother me in the first picture because it's a dreamier, moodier experience, whereas here there is more emphasis on the story, so any failings in that regard stick out more. But I was with it completely while watching it, and I think this film actually does a better job of constructing a sensible world, and in some regards might be a better example of science fiction.

I'll spoiler-tag some more specific but random thoughts, just some initial reactions fewer than twelve hours after the movie ended:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
- The irony of Rachel dying in childbirth struck me as both thematically and emotionally effective (and also a rather practical solution to the problem of working with/around Sean Young). The birth motif was persistent, first with the birth of the next-model replicant out of a bag, and then the death of Luv in an amniotic space.

- Callbacks: Mackenzie Davis' eye makeup. A bee landing on K's hand, which he doesn't swat away (perhaps a sign he's not truly Rachel's child, as he didn't kill it, as she would a wasp?). The flying sparks after the capture of Deckard, shot like the stars receding as Batty looks up in the elevator after killing Tyrell and Sebastian. Wooden toy vs. origami.

- It has a rep for it, but the first film doesn't really grapple with its moral questions; it makes you feel them, and that's powerful, and it's a great film and I don't think this is, so it obviously works. But if you're going to do a sequel, you probably do have to grapple, and this does, showing the world, showing how people behave with replicants, and showing how replicants are capable of connecting with their own artificial companions. K running into the large projection of the generic Joi drives home questions of programming and predestination in a rather poignant manner.

- Story questions: so when exactly and why exactly were the real child's memories implanted in K? And what are the replicant revolutionaries really waiting for before revealing the child?

- Perhaps above all, I appreciate bigly how the Deckard is-he-or-isn't-he question (which is far down my list of things I care about, anyway) is left unanswered. What power the question has rests in the uncertainty.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:53 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:01 pm
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner you could rewatch once a year, Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is a one time experience. More like a platform for a video game, than a film with any reason to see daylight. The story is mediocre, the music sounds more like these empty tones in shopping centers. There’s very little real creativity in the film. Everything is safe enough, so that no one can be blamed for destroying the concept.

Yes, The Production design and images of Roger Deaking are breathtaking, but so what. It’s not enough, when the story is hollow, with no emotions at all. The film laks of courage to create something new. The music from Jóhann Jóhannsson could have provided something new to the film.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:44 pm 
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Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Rapturous, arid minimalism. A waterfall of emotion. Tarkovsky on muscle relaxers.


Is there any objective way this could be seen as a minimilist movie?

It's a $200million dollar blockbuster with an abundance of busy special effects, huge sets, elaborate costumes, multiple characters in a messy and over complicated plot, an army of extras, a BOOMING soundtrack...


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:08 pm 
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“Still chewing on it” update: Really enjoying thinking about it, especially with regard to the broader thematic/philosophical aspects of it. There’s a richness, and a lot of angles to explore that, as I wrote above, vary based which elements of the first film seize a particular viewer.

I absolutely need to see it again. Upon reflection, I realized that I spent a lot of the first time through thinking about how the new film fits together with the first—pure plot connection stuff that I think caused me to short-shrift some of the 2049-specific elements. Based on the story it tells, the film arguably courts that reading, but I feel I owe it a fresh, less pedantic approach.

Overall, I’m not thrilled with some of the online takes I’m reading that tsk-tsk the new film for departing, narratively and stylistically, from the original while still trying to hew closely to its essential elements. I think it was the only practical approach to making the film. Also, I’m dreading the “It didn’t make any money so it must not be good” conversations I’m going to need to endure with some people because of the film’s low returns.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:08 pm 
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Just beginning to process it, but I can safely say the immediate emotional impact and realization as the story unfolded was pretty direct and chilling at times. Not much of it left me cold like it did some others which is understandable, you get it or you don't. It's kind of how I feel about the original too, I feel like it's divisive with some, not something you can be in the middle of the road on.

Stunning to look at, and to listen to as well. I didn't see it IMAX so I can only imagine how much more rumbly Hans Zimmer's soundtrack could feel in those spaces.


Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:31 pm 
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I really liked it.

Perhaps it's my age or the fact that I value certain things more (or less) than others but a film about what is essentially a subservient, made for one job, synthetic slave seems oddly prescient in a world that continues to devalue the rights of not only workers but people (especially minorities) in general. The world of Blade Runner is one where a fully conscious agent is created to serve a singular purpose to another fully conscious agent (supposedly) without question. The original replicants had a capacity for deviation from this and it lead to conflict which is discussed in the film (And is a major plot point in the original film). The generation that Ryan Gosling's character belongs to don't have this issue, at least to the same extent. This full and complete subservience is questioned when a very important plot point is discovered. The economy and corporations like Jared Leto's rely solely on "a disposable work force". If that's questioned or a conflict arises society has a major conflict on the way. While so far I've only really regurgitated plot points I seriously have to ask does it not bother anyone else that with the rise of automation (Non-conscious machines) that the next step is possibly a fully conscious synthetic workforce created solely for whatever job a company has chosen for it? I again raise the notion that perhaps we all just value things differently or at different levels but the idea of beings being created solely for a singular task while being fully conscious bothers me deeply.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
It felt to me that Sylia Hoeks' character Luv was incredibly upset by some of the events she was directly involved (tears trickle down her face) in but had no ability to say no. And that I think forms the core issue for me. If you're not able to relate to these Replicants you're probably not going to find much substance in the film. And that's perfectly okay. We all don't have to feel the same way about something. But it's something I feel isn't being raised enough in discussions.


On an additional note regarding Gosling's character's name:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
"K" was the name designated to the protagonist in Franz Kafka's incomplete The Castle. "Josef K" was the name assigned to the protagonist of The Trial. Obviously this is not a coincidence and is quite on the nose (Perhaps too much for some). Anyone familiar with Kafka's work will obviously see parallels.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:35 pm 
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Someone earlier mentioned that seeing the trailer gave them the sort of buzz seeing the glimpses of the new Twin Peaks did. For me, anyway, it managed to do the same thing Lynch did as far as the notion of nostalgia, although in a more backwards way. Even though things might have been "simpler then", there is nothing in Ridley Scott's film to be as nostalgic about as the world Lynch created. Yet still, the way both Lynch's own revival, and this from a new director, tackle some of those notions is to be commended.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:57 pm 
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I actually was very impressed by the way the movie wound up dodging some of the messianic overtones-

[Reveal] Spoiler:
It is a key to K's change of heart that he feels special, that he is convinced that he is fully human, although I think it's fairly clear to the viewer that he and the other replicants have always been fully human; if that hadn't already been answered in the first movie, I think the detail of Bautista growing garlic for no reason other than artistic pleasure would have answered it for us. They're always human, but they need a miracle, a spark, something to snap them out of the routines which they believe are unbreakable, and for K, that spark is the belief that he was born and not made. So they need that.

However-they also reject it, because it's not actually vital to K having a soul; he's special because of the choices he makes, and the fact that he's capable of making choices, not because of the circumstances of his birth. And so, he is not the chosen one, he is yet another simulacrum in a movie full of them, but the story- the hope, and the empathy that hope engenders- changes the way he sees the world.


I really was impressed; I think that in rewatching the two, I will not think of 2049 when seeing the original, which is too self contained to need a sequel, but in terms of building upon the material of a great, self contained work this one is remarkable. It's almost a parallel relationship to the one between Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I particularly liked the way the movie's aesthetic is not so much the future as seen from 2017, but the future as imagined in Blade Runner but more so- and so, we have touch screens, but on CRTs, and we have DNA files on microfiche. I think it is a small, quiet movie in its way, certainly as much as the original is- the giant nightmare city in the original was certainly as huge an effect in its time as anything here- inasmuch as the central performance is tight, close to the chest, and the movie is so intensely seen through his eyes. It's not a kinetic camera, racing around, swooping and dashing, and the color palette feels... drained, stressing the cold whites of snow and the cold yellows of a nuclear wasteland as much as the neon blues and oranges.

It's not a particularly similar movie to the original in terms of genre- I think calling this a noir would be an enormous stretch- and I think it's better for it, since just telling another self-contained story from the world of Blade Runner would feel not worth doing after all this time. I think the focus on Deckard may be a weak point, though I think Ford is marvelous in it, but if it is a weak point, it's one I'm entirely prepared to forgive.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:13 am 
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I found this incredibly disappointing work from Deakins, an actively unpleasant visual experience that seemed not whatsoever consistent with any of the aesthetics of the previous film. I think the decision to do this on digital - as he only works in that format now as far as I'm aware, so getting him meant they were stuck with that - totally undermined any hopes of this film looking anything like the first movie and due to its very "lived-in" dirty sci-fi aesthetic just makes everything look utterly empty when it's rendered in ultra high resolution with intense color grading without the limits or inherent roughness of the analog format. The move to digital for a sequel worked great for Skyfall but I just don't think the visuals of this are a good fit for it. A huge step down from what I thought was his best work yet with his last work in Hail Caesar. This may also come off as a peak contrarian opinion because it's literally the only thing I think everyone else seems to agree about for which I'm sorry.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:49 am 

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In terms of the look of the film and your disappointment with it, how would these points inform your reaction:

1) The direction of Villeneuve vs Scott. It is quite interesting to me how opposite the are in a few key areas; whilst Scott loves filling the frame with information and detail, Villeneuve by contrast can be quite abstract; you can see in the opening shot of the deer in Prisoners and the inside of the alien ship in Arrival.

2) The desire to not just repeat the original film's locations and going outside Los Angeles. This is actually one of my main positive takeaways from the film as it gives a unique and different feel from the first film whilst preserving its sacredness (in comparison, the recent Star Wars films seem intent on reusing location and tech concepts from the original trilogy, which in my opinion undercuts their pedestal in pop culture)

3) Film vs digital. I don't want to put words in your mouth but I assume you prefer the look of films shot on film stock versus those shot digitally, specifically in regards to your praise of Hail, Caesar!, Deakins' first and only use of film since True Grit in 2010.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:02 am 
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...for some reason I was recalling that Hail Caesar was also on digital, probably due to misremembering that there was something unique about it being distributed in 4K at the time (maybe it was the first Universal title to get released in theaters that was mastered in 4K, or something like that?).

But, regardless, I just generally think that central aesthetic "choice" (it's not really a choice to do digital, but rather that's the default and to shoot on film would probably be a "choice" to deviate from the norm) makes the entire think look completely wrong to me, and Deakins' pronounced compositions with lots of silhouettes placing characters on their own levels and planes relative to the camera makes it just lack the inherent busy-ness of the rather disorganized style of the first film. It's different, and that was inevitable to some degree considering that Scott for whatever reason ultimately passed on doing this himself, and that's just too much for me, personally, to try and reconcile these two films as being in the same continuity or universe when they look so utterly different.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:24 am 

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Ribs wrote:
I found this incredibly disappointing work from Deakins, an actively unpleasant visual experience that seemed not whatsoever consistent with any of the aesthetics of the previous film. I think the decision to do this on digital - as he only works in that format now as far as I'm aware, so getting him meant they were stuck with that - totally undermined any hopes of this film looking anything like the first movie and due to its very "lived-in" dirty sci-fi aesthetic just makes everything look utterly empty when it's rendered in ultra high resolution with intense color grading without the limits or inherent roughness of the analog format. The move to digital for a sequel worked great for Skyfall but I just don't think the visuals of this are a good fit for it. A huge step down from what I thought was his best work yet with his last work in Hail Caesar. This may also come off as a peak contrarian opinion because it's literally the only thing I think everyone else seems to agree about for which I'm sorry.


You're not alone. As well as being disappointed with the film overall, I actively disliked the look of most of it, especially so the orange look of the whole Vegas sequence. The digital sheen of the cinematography along with the deafeningly unsubtle Hans Zimmer score induced a kind gut level reaction which has been bugging me all week. So much so that I was thinking I need to go back and see it again in case I got the whole thing wrong in light of the overall critical acclaim the film has received.

The original is one of my favourite films and I've watched it more times than I can remember. I never cared for a sequel but was cautiously optimistic when it was announced that Villeneuve and Deakins would be making it even though I knew this meant it would be shot digitally. Although, I think I was just more relieved that Ridley Scott wasn't directing. For me Children of Men still remains the last truly great big budget sci-fi movie (Under the Skin for low budget) and that's over ten years old now.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:27 pm 
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R0lf wrote:
Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Rapturous, arid minimalism. A waterfall of emotion. Tarkovsky on muscle relaxers.

Is there any objective way this could be seen as a minimilist movie?

It's a $200million dollar blockbuster with an abundance of busy special effects, huge sets, elaborate costumes, multiple characters in a messy and over complicated plot, an army of extras, a BOOMING soundtrack...

Music in 12 Parts isn't not minimalism just because it's huge and unwieldy.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:26 pm 
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I confess I'm personally very confused as to why anyone thought this plot was complicated in any way. The film is nearly three hours sure but not once did I have a single issue understanding what was going on at any given time. Nor were the motivations of any of the characters difficult to understand once the film was over. I would, in fact argue that the first film has far more confusion in it. (The character of Gaff, the still on going debate about Deckard etc.) although that may be due in part to it's production. In fact one of the things I think most praiseworthy about 2049 is how a film of it's length wasn't a confusing mess at some point. As for minimalism I'd argue that that can mean a wide variety of things. Minimalism doesn't have to be late Bresson with all the fat cut out.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:16 am 
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Feiereisel wrote:
Also, I’m dreading the “It didn’t make any money so it must not be good” conversations I’m going to need to endure with some people because of the film’s low returns.

The low returns aren't all that surprising to me, honestly. I think the fact that either Warner Brothers and/or Alcon sought out the assistance that Sony provided in return for letting the latter have international distribution was an early sign that they weren't entirely betting on it being a huge financial winner either. They're fortunate enough in the fact it's gotten all this critical praise, so there's possibly enough of a chance it will be nominated and maybe win some major awards.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:19 pm 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Feiereisel wrote:
Also, I’m dreading the “It didn’t make any money so it must not be good” conversations I’m going to need to endure with some people because of the film’s low returns.

The low returns aren't all that surprising to me, honestly. I think the fact that either Warner Brothers and/or Alcon sought out the assistance that Sony provided in return for letting the latter have international distribution was an early sign that they weren't entirely betting on it being a huge financial winner either. They're fortunate enough in the fact it's gotten all this critical praise, so there's possibly enough of a chance it will be nominated and maybe win some major awards.


Indeed. For what it’s worth, I expected those conversations to play out in person, mostly. But the movie’s low profile means it hasn’t really come up.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:23 pm 
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I know it's not doing as well as they hoped, but it's not like flopping miserably, is it? It won its first weekend, made about 50m in its first week, and looks to be probably number two this weekend- I would think that would point to at least breaking even for a movie like this, which will presumably have a long tail.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:29 pm 
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No, it won't have a long tail. It's probably only just barely going to cross $100 million domestic on a $150 million+ budget. I think their goal was a result very similar to Mad Max, where it's not this huge change everything blockbuster but makes its money back domestically to pull into a tidy profit once you add in overseas. It won't be a money loser in the fullness of time (as very little really is) as the movie will be bundled with the original in rep houses and rental/ownership home video formats forevermore.


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