Movie Reviews # 54…

Blade Runner 2049. Denis Villenueve, dir. There’s a new and improved Blade Runner, and unlike Deckard, Joe K. is most assuredly a replicant, but just as lethal. This sequel isn’t as groundbreaking as the original, arguably the best sci-fi movie ever made, but it’s a great story. Ryan Gosling does a fantastic job as K, AKA Joe K., one of the many 2.0 version replicants whose programming is supposed to guarantee subservience to their human masters. There are a lot of old ones around still, which is why K is still in business, but they and the newer models still have a disobedient orneriness.

Ana de Armas plays Joi, K’s AI lover; Robin Wright plays Lt. Joshi, K’s conflicted boss; and Jared Leto has basically a cameo as Niander Wallace, the villain with a god complex who supposedly made Tyrell’s replicants more subservient. Oh, and Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard, but only at the end in the film’s climax, so don’t be disappointed.

And hard sci-fi lovers everywhere shouldn’t be disappointed. I won’t mention the plot only to say it’s simple and powerful. It’s also intense, without a moment’s rest from the intensity (choose your bathroom breaks carefully, because this movie is long), as we follow K on his road to inner discovery and finding his humanity. Subtleties abound. Fans of the first movie will revel in the references to it, but this cinematic tale can stand on its own, like all good sequels, whether in books or movies, so people born after the first movie can enjoy this one (and maybe then see the original?).

And the best movies are based on books, as Hollywood has discovered with sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. In this movie, the images are fantastic, the soundtrack pounding but appropriate (and romantic enough at times), the dialogue sometimes hard to understand but like that of a hard-boiled detective story, and the action often ugly and lethal but fitting comfortably into the plot (and perhaps creating the R rating as much as the visuals?). The final product is superb.

I love this movie. It makes Star Wars and Star Trek movies seem like fantasy and baby food for the mind. This is serious sci-fi that bears well the current banner of dystopian and post-apocalyptic neo-noir films and books. Old Philip must be smiling in whatever sci-fi metaverse he now inhabits.


Sci-fi book sale: More than Human: The Mensa Contagion and Rogue Planet are now on sale at Smashwords from October 1 through October 31. Their prices are reduced to $1.99—that’s one-third off. In the first novel, an ET virus changes the world, but in a good way, and leads to the colonization of Mars. In the second, there’s a wee bit of “Game of Thrones” fantasy mixed into the hard sci-fi as Prince Kaushal leads his Second Tribe in their fight against the First Tribe’s brutal theocracy. Both books are stand-alone, not part of a series. Use the Smashwords coupon numbers when you check out. Note that the second book is also available in paper format at Amazon. Lots of exciting fall entertainment for a reasonable price!

In libris libertas!


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