You know, I don’t get this thing for super long movies. If you can’t tell your story in under 2 hrs you’re probably doing something wrong. This is my firm belief. Having said that, the new Blade Runner movie is the first stupidly long movie I’ve seen that kept itself moving. At nearly 3hrs it would want to!
Let me loose in the editing room and I could bring it down to a neat 2hrs without damaging the experience at all, but it did carry it off fairly well. It also managed to do a surprisingly good job of replicating (hem) the pace and atmosphere of the original film while being its own world.
The problems with it, to my mind, were mostly confined to some unclear motivations/characterisation, a scene which served no purpose, a distracting, intrusive sound design and a disturbing gender imbalance in the nudity.
Why do we need to see a fully clothed man stab a naked woman in the belly while talking about reproduction? I’m not sure. That scene seems to have only been there so we could learn how sick and twisted the bad guy is (Jared Leto is fantastic, but if your bad guy only appears for 3 minutes out of nearly 3 hrs and never meets your protag, then why is he there at all?). Even ignoring a semiotic-deconstructionist style analysis of such things, a clothed man stabbing naked woman in the belly is a kind of violence that needs a strong narrative purpose in a movie I think and this didn’t have it.
Then again the naked lady in that scene was just one of many naked ladies whose bodies the camera lingered on, which was interesting when you considered the number of naked men. Of which there were…none I can remember. Maybe we saw Ryan Gosling in the shower? It obviously wasn’t a good, long, lingering look though because I’d remember.
Of course all this one-sided nudity had a narrative or world appropriate purpose… No, not really. It was just naked chicks. Replicant ones, holographic ones and oversized statue ones in provocative poses.
More gratuitous than the jarring maaawp noises in the sound design, which frequently seemed to have nothing to do with the action on screen. I know the original had a strangely juxtaposed score, but Vangelis this ain’t.
Overall though I did like this film, in a probably-won’t-watch-it-again-but-I-am-glad-I-saw-it way. Great performances. Really great. The story was fascinating and I liked the journey they sent the main character on a lot. In fact, I think it’s a more interesting story than the original, which is saying something considering that’s a film on my favourites list!
Just watch though, they’ll release a directors cut and it’ll be 4 hrs long.