Blade Runner: 2049 tackles existential questions

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Blade Runner: 2049 tackles existential questions

Caitlyn Neal, staff writer

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Imagine a world where people are divided not by race, or ethnicity, but by their creation. Humans are the dominant species; replicants are androids and slaves.

“Blade Runner” was released in 1982, starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a blade runner. Deckard’s job was to hunt down the remaining replicants from the revolution and “retire” them, another way of saying “kill.”

Thirty-five years later, “Blade Runner 2049” is the long-awaited sequel. The sequel stars Ryan Gosling as Officer K, and Ford reprises his role as Deckard. K is from a new line of submissive replicants,  working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a blade runner and hunting down those few replicants that remain from decades before.

While the movie itself is pleasing to watch, the plot is more complex than the original “Blade Runner” offers. It is a movie about identity, not a story about a man chasing replicants around. K struggles throughout the movie trying to find an identity for himself beyond his life as a replicant police officer.

There is also a secret that could destroy society if it were leaked. A replicant woman gives birth to a child, something society believed impossible. The movie focuses on the child as opposing forces rush to learn the identity of this hidden biological miracle.

Lacking from the new movie is also the chaotic culture of the first. The language, a mixture of English, Spanish, Mandarin and many more, is absent. The city, where before it had been colorful and disorganized, is now dull with strict separation.

The movie did not bring in the expected crowds, however, accumulating only $37.6 million over the four-day Columbus Day holiday weekend, according to Deadline. A contributing factor is that the series means nothing to those under 40. According to Deadline, only 24% of moviegoers were under 25.

Overall, “Blade Runner 2049” is a suitable sequel, with the similarities and differences necessary for a good movie to be separate from the original. Unfortunately, it can be recommended only to those loyal fans of the first “Blade Runner” because, without that background knowledge,  it is incredibly hard to follow.

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