Kalbear

Blade Runner 2049 - more human than human [Spoilers!]

194 posts in this topic

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS SO MUCH. 

Also, really - if you haven't seen the movie and want to, don't come in here. Just don't. I normally don't care about being spoiled but this movie is absolutely better if you're 'clean'. So don't do it. Shoo. Watch it and wait. We'll still be here talking about it, and we understand that you'll be excited, so...yeah. Don't. 

Are you still here?

Did you see it?

 

Okay. Let's talk.

 

So just to establish things - because the Guardian as far as I can tell has a TOTALLY DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION than mine - I want to establish what the hell is going on.

  • Deckard had a daughter. No other children.
  • That child grew up in that shitty orphanage, and had the memory of the wooden horse - the only thing Deckard gave her.
  • Presumably because of the weird genetics she grew up with major immunocompromised
  • She became a memory author and inserted her memory of the horse into many of the Nexus 9 series, including K (but not all)
  • All (or at least a good chunk) of the Nexus 9 who were rebelling had this memory, including the prostitute that K sleeps with (who sees the horse and says 'the dream' at his apartment).
  • K is not a clone of the daughter. K was not meant to throw off the scent. K was not meant to even know anything about anything. 

Is that all correct so far? Everyone with me?

Also, one of the biggest, oddest spoilers is that Sean Young got a credit for acting in the movie, but this wasn't revealed until the end. My theory (answering what @Werthead rightly called the single most incredible special effect ever) is that they actually mocapped the real Sean Young and then artificially de-aged her directly via CGI. You'll be happy to know that the uncanny valley that you didn't see was totally right on - my son, who hasn't watched the original, had no idea that she was anything other than a normal human actress. He could tell in Rogue one right away, but he was legitimately shocked when I told him. 

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Also, in talking it over with my wife, we felt like the weakest part was the ending.

I couldn't get over how K would just take Deckard to Stelline afterwards in his cop car. How is this not being tracked? How are the LAPD or Wallace not all over this? I don't care if they think Deckard's dead (why would they?) but K still kind of totally matters. But that was the suspension of disbelief part.

The real thing is that I felt it betrayed the noir ending. They had the perfect chance to have the Replicant chase down and kill the Blade Runner, being an echo of the original - but they also had the chance to not make Luv lose to K (why would she?) and instead simply have K playing for time while Deckard drowns. That's all K is trying to do - delay Luv enough to allow Deckard to die. So she does her "I'm still the best" bit and K responds "I was never trying to beat you, just delay you", and she turns, sees Deckard dead, and completely loses her shit Replicant style and dies. 

The resistance is saved, Stelline is saved, K can even survive for a time if you want, Luv doesn't lose a physical fight in a silly way, and Deckard goes down but K doesn't end up killing him directly. 

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Can we please talk about Luv and Joi.

I love Luv. I LOVE LUV. She's fantastic. The little moments with her crying silently and her shirt explosive anger with Madam. 

I honestly was floored by the fight scene between her and K. With the water overlapping around them; her dominant kiss when she thinks she's the victor - her almost naive "I'm the best one" (the best Angel).

That fight scene felt almost biblical.  I was floored by how much it really genuinely encapsulated this idea of replicants being the next generation of human - much like the hosts in Westworld seem to be. When they were fighting it didn't feel like a man fighting a woman - it felt like two angels battling it out in some great mythic epic battle. 

And Joi was the most human character in the whole film and she wasn't even a REPLICANT human. 

She's a huge factor in 2049 being an excellent and worthy sequel to Blade Runner and not a retread. We're given new technology in abundance 30 years on that's a logical next step from what came before.

The fact that the most human, vulnarale and romantic moments happen between a replicant and an APP is hugely telling. And really does justice to the "what makes us human?" Questions of the book and first movie. 

When the tears in rain music started playing I SOBBED MY EYED OUT.

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I'm glad Deckard didn't die !! I didn't mind the ending at all actually. I'd watch a sequel.  ANOTHER ONE. 

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I really liked Luv, though again - I would have rather she had beaten K straight out, and not been choked to death by him. My favorite bit was her getting a manicure while reigning fire down on the random scavengers. I loved that.

I really didn't like Joi that much. I thought the sex scene was exploitative, I thought her reaction to the prostitute after was really odd - why would she be jealous? Why do we have to have one of the only interactions between women in the whole movie be about jealousy? (the other being, well, Joshi and Luv). I thought she was otherwise okay, except one bit - the last bit, where K is seeing the giant display of Joi in all her exploited glory. Up until then I felt they did a good job of using nakedness and exploitation as an example of the depravity and badness, but in this I felt like they just did it to show her tits and ass. It didn't really give me much more for K and felt like a weak epitaph for Joi. 

The show also needed more male prostitute replicants.

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As a woman I have a totally different view of those things than you.  I'm not saying mine is the correct view but I thought Joi was one of the most important characters in the film and the sex scene was handled really well. How was it exploitative? I didn't get that feeling at all...and also - I don't think every film needs to have two women having a heart to heart. The Bechdel test can be useful but it's also incredibly simple. This movie doesn't have mu h warmth at all. It would have been bizarre to have a genuinely warm scene between two women or anyone in this.  It's not a warm film. I don't really agree or understand those particularly criticisms of yours at all. Seems almost nitpicky. 

I know I'm a huge Blade Runner nerd but am also a feminist and I thought it was a good critique on Internet pornification catering to straight men. The huge hologram of her totally sexualised being whatever any individual man would want. K didn't want that version of her. It served a purpose to me. 

Why wouldn't she be jelous? That's an odd complaint - the whole point of her character is she's technically the least human character in the film but really she's absolutely the most human in terms of her emotions and motives.  

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1 minute ago, Theda Baratheon said:

As a woman I have a totally different view of those things than you.  I'm not saying mine is the correct view but I thought Joi was one of the most important characters in the film and the sex scene was handled really well. How was it exploitative? I didn't get that feeling at all...and also - I don't think every film needs to have two women having a heart to heart. The Bechdel test can be useful but it's also incredibly simple. This movie doesn't have mu h warmth at all. It would have been bizarre to have a genuinely warm scene between two women or anyone in this.  It's not a warm film. I don't really agree or understand those particularly criticisms of yours at all. Seems almost nitpicky. 

The sex scene just went on way too long to show a point and focused heavily on her as seen by K. It was cool technologically, but it didn't give me much insight into Joi itself. 

I didn't think it needed two women having a heart to heart either - but I also don't know why Joi needed to be jealous, especially if her stated goal was to make K happy and have some kind of physical bond with him. There are a whole lot of things that she could have done - she could have been thankful, she could have been playful, she could have been inquisitive and longing - but instead she went straight to being possessive. 

As to the movie having warmth, that's true - but I also think it's a missed opportunity. Part of the movie is finding humanity where you can; in small memories, in quick conversations, in bonds with apps and talks with people you're about to kill. That said, my complaint about Joi wasn't that she needed to be warm - only that being catty is so very dull. 

1 minute ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I know I'm a huge Blade Runner nerd but am also a feminist and I thought it was a good critique on Internet pornification catering to straight men. The huge hologram of her totally sexualised being whatever any individual man would want. K didn't want that version of her. It served a purpose to me. 

I guess I didn't get that he didn't want her at all. He hung out until she stopped, I thought. 

1 minute ago, Theda Baratheon said:

Why wouldn't she be jelous? That's an odd complaint - the whole point of her character is she's technically the least human character in the film but really she's absolutely the most human in terms of her emotions and motives.  

Because jealousy is so boring and done. She could be jealous - but she could also be a whole lot of other things. It's like the replicants themselves - some of the most awesome parts is seeing what they do and do not react to in human and inhuman ways. Luv shedding precisely one tear for that lab tech, or a few for Joshi, or even one for K. K going almost murderous upon finding out that his memory is real - not being happy, but being enraged. But Joi...she just gets very boring, basic emotions. 

And it does kind of make sense that she'd be programmed with jealousy, because as you say - she's programmed to be what men say they want, and men say they want a woman that wants to be possessive, I suppose. But in that it kind of reveals that Joi isn't special in any way; she's just an app, she doesn't overcome her programming. She isn't inquisitive about physical touch or how someone else experienced K in a way she can't. Even her calling him Joe came from the advertising and wasn't anything special. She isn't the most human at all; she's the way that humanity projects human things onto virtually anything, from their pets to their roomba. 

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Saw it last night, thought it was epic (although not for all movie goers). Only real complaint is that I thought they left Luv a little undeveloped at the end. More discussion between her and Joe would have been great, although I honestly don't know how to put it in. But these two replicants knew of the miracle and took different sides. They were both desperat.  I would love it to have been explored more.

 

And II loved how they kept it open ended on if Deckard was a replicant. The acting, feel and directing were superb. Gosling is amazing. 

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Also, since I didn't say it - I loved the very well-earned twist of K discovering he wasn't the child after all, and discovering who it actually was. Him being the child would have been really weird from a plot point (he went from going to an orphanage to being a registered Replicant?) but he didn't examine this at all because he wanted it to be so true. He wanted to be real and have a soul, and that longing destroyed him so very much.

Which I suppose given the rebels and their knowledge of the dream and the one-eyed one talking to him was the point - they're all supposed to want to be that child so badly, and that desire turns them to rebellion. 

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I mean...I guess jealousy is over done but also...it sort of happens a lot in real life anyway so? 

I dunno. I'm just not having the same kind of reading of Joi at all. 

I think she's extremely tragic for exactly some of the reasons you mentioned.  

She's obviously very much trapped in her pre-prescribed code and basic emotions as you put it but she's earnest with it. She's so earnest. It doesn't matter that it isn't "real" because what is??

Also - strangely enough the sex scene told me WAY more about Joi than K. We know K is touch starved and lonely - the idea of Joi wanting to remedy that for him speaks way more for her than him. 

I liked her a lot. 

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I was really sad for K finding out he wasn't the child especially because he so looks like he could be the son of Deckard but I also really liked that twist too because it was so very fucking heartbreaking. 

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I thought it was great, easily my favourite film of the year.

I spent most of the film wishing they weren't going to make K be the child but his cresfallen look when the Replicant leader breaks it to him almost had me wishing it was.

3 hours ago, Kalbear said:

 

  • Presumably because of the weird genetics she grew up with major immunocompromised

My personal take on it was that the immunity bubble was a cover to keep her away from any prying eyes and any Blade Runners who might end up exposing her if she had been a more public memory author until she's ready to come out and lead the rebellion.

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Just now, Theda Baratheon said:

I mean...I guess jealousy is over done but also...it sort of happens a lot in real life anyway so? 

I dunno. I'm just not having the same kind of reading of Joi at all. 

I think she's extremely tragic for exactly some of the reasons you mentioned.  

She's obviously very much trapped in her pre-prescribed code and basic emotions as you put it but she's earnest with it. She's so earnest. It doesn't matter that it isn't "real" because what is??

Also - strangely enough the sex scene told me WAY more about Joi than K. We know K is touch starved and lonely - the idea of Joi wanting to remedy that for him speaks way more for her than him. 

I liked her a lot. 

And that's cool. She just didn't work for me because she was entirely her programming and never seemed to go beyond it. Like, I figured that Joi would be programmed to hire prostitutes and get him laid and be cool with it, or be worried about her owner, or all of these things. But to me there was no 'there' there; everything was simulated, nothing was real or transformative. Joi telling K that he was special and a real boy was just an advanced Eliza program. 

In some ways I felt like she was the literal example of how no one could overcome their programming. K wants to feel like a real boy because he has one of the dreams/memories that Stelline implanted, and those either cause him to seek this stuff out or are real, and therefore somehow more human-causing. We never know if K is making these choices because he has a choice or not, he doesn't know, and he's just as trapped as Joi - maybe. Joi is good in that she shows the illusion of humanity - but I never thought that she was tragic, because she's just a sim. I'm not sure she's even an AI. Is she any different than the projection of Elvis? 

And let me be clear here: the movie was really really good. I probably am picking a few nits here. It is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, it has great, subtle acting, the outfits were awesome (Joshi's faux leather shawl was fucking awesome), the world was incredibly realized with great show, don't tell bits and it was gripping. 

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3 hours ago, Kalbear said:

but they also had the chance to not make Luv lose to K (why would she?)

I thought it was pretty well established by that point that K was a bit of a trooper even by Replicant standards. He just ate everything Bautista threw at him at the beginning, recovered pretty well from a crash and the missile later on - not missing a beat when getting back into the fight. And in what was one of my favourite bits just straight up ploughed through a marble wall. 

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4 minutes ago, Talleyrand said:

I thought it was pretty well established by that point that K was a bit of a trooper even by Replicant standards. He just ate everything Bautista threw at him at the beginning, recovered pretty well from a crash and the missile later on - not missing a beat when getting back into the fight. And in what was one of my favourite bits just straight up ploughed through a marble wall. 

That's true - but K got his ass kicked by Luv in two kicks just a few moments after busting through that wall, and then she proceeded to whoop his ass hard later in that fight too. I agree that he was really, really tough - but it seemed like Luv was better.

Another thing I really liked was them having a replicant as the main character. This added a massive amount of depth to both this story and the original, having the perspective of the Leon and Pris as the main article, of the contrast between him and Sapper. It was a really excellent narrative choice. 

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31 minutes ago, Talleyrand said:

I thought it was great, easily my favourite film of the year.

I spent most of the film wishing they weren't going to make K be the child but his cresfallen look when the Replicant leader breaks it to him almost had me wishing it was.

My personal take on it was that the immunity bubble was a cover to keep her away from any prying eyes and any Blade Runners who might end up exposing her if she had been a more public memory author until she's ready to come out and lead the rebellion.

Yeah. Its all a cover. She was never sick (I don't think) she's very...uhh..fragile I guess but I suppose being locked up in a cage will do that to you but I don't think she's genuinely ill. Plans fell through - she could no longer be rescued and cared for so wa's put into that cage to keep her safe. 

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33 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

And that's cool. She just didn't work for me because she was entirely her programming and never seemed to go beyond it. Like, I figured that Joi would be programmed to hire prostitutes and get him laid and be cool with it, or be worried about her owner, or all of these things. But to me there was no 'there' there; everything was simulated, nothing was real or transformative. Joi telling K that he was special and a real boy was just an advanced Eliza program. 

In some ways I felt like she was the literal example of how no one could overcome their programming. K wants to feel like a real boy because he has one of the dreams/memories that Stelline implanted, and those either cause him to seek this stuff out or are real, and therefore somehow more human-causing. We never know if K is making these choices because he has a choice or not, he doesn't know, and he's just as trapped as Joi - maybe. Joi is good in that she shows the illusion of humanity - but I never thought that she was tragic, because she's just a sim. I'm not sure she's even an AI. Is she any different than the projection of Elvis? 

And let me be clear here: the movie was really really good. I probably am picking a few nits here. It is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, it has great, subtle acting, the outfits were awesome (Joshi's faux leather shawl was fucking awesome), the world was incredibly realized with great show, don't tell bits and it was gripping. 

Well it's not just Joi herself.  But who she is to K and his reactions to her. I think it's pretty clear she herself isn't very human like at all. But the most vulnerable moments we get in the film are between K and her. I don't know if she's an AI or just a smart App either but her just stopping mid passionate kiss so K could take a phone call was so sad. Maybe I should have phrased it differently?? She's not tragic in herself for herself but her as a concept is a tragic. K's earnest love for her is tragic. He's totally touch starved and lonely hated by everyone. So he comes home and plays house with a glorified phone app. That's what's so interesting about the very human vulnerable moments. Maybe I was wrong when I said she herself is the most human. She isn't.  But she brings about some of the most human, romantic and vulnerable moments in the film. And she's not even a copy of a human. In fact what exactly is she? She's important and effective because people want to talk about her and figure her out. 

I loved all the weird little bits of technology and products in 2049. Reminded me of the Mood machines and stuff in the book. 

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21 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

That's true - but K got his ass kicked by Luv in two kicks just a few moments after busting through that wall, and then she proceeded to whoop his ass hard later in that fight too. I agree that he was really, really tough - but it seemed like Luv was better.

Another thing I really liked was them having a replicant as the main character. This added a massive amount of depth to both this story and the original, having the perspective of the Leon and Pris as the main article, of the contrast between him and Sapper. It was a really excellent narrative choice. 

Didn't he also get shot a few times as well by then? I can't remember. But he was a bit battered when she kicked him down. 

I think the were pretty equally skilled in fighting. But someone has to win a fight. It can't go on forever. Although I believe between these two it could just have easily been so. Two angels locked in battle forever. The prodigal children. 

Fiery the angels fell...deep thunder rolled around their shores...burning with the fires of Orc...

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I just think K had a little bit more burning inside him. He had more "human" motives behind winning - I think. Though I loved Luv's breaks of control and moments of quiet vulnerability. 

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Also Edward James Olmos was great. Loved his cameo. This genuinely felt like a totally authentic sequel. It made itself feel needed and a worthy extension of the story that had come before. 

I was v sad to hear what became of Rachel, especially as Sean Young seemed to be cast total aside by Hollywood decades ago and it would have been great for her to have more of a part in this (I don't know the extent of her genuine participation in this film) and how old man Ford can come back but Rachel can't after 30 years was an interesting little gender politics area to explore. 

 

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