Kalbear

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

395 posts in this topic

I'd say it was a pretty grim future. Most shots of the outside world were barren. They were either deserts of vast areas of land turned into solar farming projects of those meal worm things. There seemed to be rising sea levels at least on the west coast of America. I was heavily under the impression that people only existed in the cities besides farmers. Even if K was "well off" he still lived in a shitty tower block - although I imagine the underlying issue there was probably him not being allowed to live in places he could afford which is why he could afford the gadgets. Although other than some sense of him being more effective if "comfortable" I'm not sure why they'd necessarily pay him considering he's a slave? I guess bounty hunting is still an effective carrot.

"Bubble woman" was a hint at someone on a decent salary although again she was more in that position because of Leto's character's wealth. Basically I think the only people living in basic comfort were employees of the corporations. Everyone else was probably on some kind of poverty line.

I wonder if there had been a population crisis for humanity? While replicants are pretty useful for all the space-faring stuff - a lot of menial tasks could still be done by good old fashioned humans. You don't need a superhuman to clean your house and I figure the rich have a similar level of contempt for the poor to that of replicants (there's probably just a few more laws remaining for humans).

Who knows what the wider world is like? For all we know, replicants could be banned on the East coast or other countries?

One aspect of the Blade Runner world for me was the hint that a lot of people may have flown the coop to other worlds and that the only ones left were the ones that couldn't afford it. It doesn't really gel with the Tyrells and the new corporation but maybe they are just there because it's a gap in the market and it's better to be kings on a shitty planet than relative paupers on a nice new one?

 

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17 minutes ago, red snow said:

I wonder if there had been a population crisis for humanity? While replicants are pretty useful for all the space-faring stuff - a lot of menial tasks could still be done by good old fashioned humans. You don't need a superhuman to clean your house and I figure the rich have a similar level of contempt for the poor to that of replicants (there's probably just a few more laws remaining for humans).

One of the main alt-history things about the Blade Runner universe is that AI and computing are way, way worse than they are now, much less 30 years from now. When K scans millions of DNA records by eye, that's because the systems just aren't working that well and haven't - but Replicants do. 

So it's not just about unskilled labor, it's about living computers who can process information at massive speeds, take tons of abuse and are obedient to the point of suicide.

17 minutes ago, red snow said:

One aspect of the Blade Runner world for me was the hint that a lot of people may have flown the coop to other worlds and that the only ones left were the ones that couldn't afford it. It doesn't really gel with the Tyrells and the new corporation but maybe they are just there because it's a gap in the market and it's better to be kings on a shitty planet than relative paupers on a nice new one?

 

I think that in general there has been a population crash in the Blade Runner world. Massive die-off, food shortages, wiping out of data, nuclear weapons use - all indicate a world that has significantly fewer people in it. 

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59 minutes ago, red snow said:

While replicants are pretty useful for all the space-faring stuff - a lot of menial tasks could still be done by good old fashioned humans. You don't need a superhuman to clean your house and I figure the rich have a similar level of contempt for the poor to that of replicants

But you do want someone as unquestioningly obedient as replicants are supposed to be. Once the rich have been sold on replicant "servants" that are more efficient, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing than working class humans, none of them are going to willingly settle for hiring someone who might gossip, steal stuff, do a shoddy job, or call in sick.

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2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

One of the main alt-history things about the Blade Runner universe is that AI and computing are way, way worse than they are now, much less 30 years from now. When K scans millions of DNA records by eye, that's because the systems just aren't working that well and haven't - but Replicants do. 

So it's not just about unskilled labor, it's about living computers who can process information at massive speeds, take tons of abuse and are obedient to the point of suicide.

I think that in general there has been a population crash in the Blade Runner world. Massive die-off, food shortages, wiping out of data, nuclear weapons use - all indicate a world that has significantly fewer people in it. 

Replicants as stand ins for the low level AI (beyond the "wife") makes a certain level of sense. A population crash would also create more demand for replicants if humans were less numerous.

1 hour ago, felice said:

But you do want someone as unquestioningly obedient as replicants are supposed to be. Once the rich have been sold on replicant "servants" that are more efficient, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing than working class humans, none of them are going to willingly settle for hiring someone who might gossip, steal stuff, do a shoddy job, or call in sick.

Good point it's a bit like having the choice of this new thing called a dog that's rare and expensive or one of the many wolves out in the wild.

This may have been discussed somewhere in the previous 15 pages but was there a sexual vibe between the police captain and K? The scene at his apartment gave me the impression there had been occasions where they'd had sex but in a "you're a replicant, I can use you" kind of way. Most of the interactions between those two characters was fascinating in the sense the captain clearly was attached to K but had no doubt in her mind he was a "thing". The comment about him doing fine without a soul was great.

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@red snow

I referred to that earlier when discussing whether the film is sexist. I don't believe Joshi has ever slept with K, but in the apartment the dialog definitely made it seem to me that she was toying with the idea of ordering him to sleep with her.

Edited by Ran

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2 hours ago, red snow said:

One aspect of the Blade Runner world for me was the hint that a lot of people may have flown the coop to other worlds and that the only ones left were the ones that couldn't afford it. It doesn't really gel with the Tyrells and the new corporation but maybe they are just there because it's a gap in the market and it's better to be kings on a shitty planet than relative paupers on a nice new one?

We never really find out much about what life in the 'Offworld Colonies' is like. The implication is that it's better in at least some ways and people aspire to go there but being better than living in San Angeles isn't a particularly high bar to clear. The replicants being used as soldiers seems to imply that there's been quite a lot of conflict out there.

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3 hours ago, red snow said:

 

  Basically I think the only people living in basic comfort were employees of the corporations. Everyone else was probably on some kind of poverty line.

 

 

It is interesting that this kind of science fiction environment appears in two novels of Fred Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth , The Space Merchants , 1953 , and Gladiator at Law 1955.

Both Blade Runner movies have that cyber-punk-before-there-was-cyberpunk future on a chipped plate motif that was common currency in the H.L. Gold edited magazine Galaxy , especially the 1950s. Phil Dick appeared there many times in those days.

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

The orphange's use of child slave labor, 

Boy that orphanage looked like a rough place really Dickensian. It does not seem Dr. Ana Stelline could have been sent there as an infant.Seems that Freysa and Sapper Morton , took care of her till she was old enough. Deckard even sent a wooden horse from Las Vegas.What a story it must be as to how Ana went from that orphanage to get a doctorate to getting a rather large laboratory  (she must have some kind of staff there). Maybe all this is facilitated by the replicant underground.

Running in the background here is a gut wrenching story about Freysa, Sapper, Ana and Deckard and unnamed replicants and probably human sympathizers.  Sapper's fate is particularly cruel since he seems to be Ana's foster father and was minding his own business.

 

Edited by boojam

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There's tons of stories running in the background, one of the things I like about the film. You feel like there's actually things going on outside of the narrative of the film.

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1 hour ago, williamjm said:

We never really find out much about what life in the 'Offworld Colonies' is like. The implication is that it's better in at least some ways and people aspire to go there but being better than living in San Angeles isn't a particularly high bar to clear. The replicants being used as soldiers seems to imply that there's been quite a lot of conflict out there.

.From conversation with Sapper and Fresya and an old photo ...what a back story ... Fresya and Sapper saw off world combat on Calantha , I guess they met there? Under combat conditions? They get back to Earth , join the underground? start the underground?, meet Deckard and Rachael , the baby,...then thirty years later .... a lot happens in thirty years....

Sapper Morton is a nexus 8 and I guess that's true of Fresya too? We don't know if there were other nexus 7s like Rachael. Anyway Sapper and Fresya have been alive for 30 years.

Edited by boojam

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

@red snow

I referred to that earlier when discussing whether the film is sexist. I don't believe Joshi has ever slept with K, but in the apartment the dialog definitely made it seem to me that she was toying with the idea of ordering him to sleep with her.

It did appear to be heading that way as if she was plucking up the nerve to do it.

17 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

There's tons of stories running in the background, one of the things I like about the film. You feel like there's actually things going on outside of the narrative of the film.

It's what made the world in the film seem so real. These weren't characters that just existed when on screen - it felt like they had their own stories playing out iff screen as well

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Anyone find it interesting that the animal deckard chose to give to his child and the animal that plays a significant role in memories so closely resembles the unicorn (and possible implanted memory of his own) 

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There was talk a bit before about all the signs of BR being a dystopian future - for me one of the biggest signs of it was the police, not just that Luv was able to seemingly brazenly and trespass and murder inside the police station no less should show that rule of law isn't exactly strong and the large amount of blood that was getting hosed down in the Station halls when K returned didn't paint a great picture of it even when it is working.

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1 hour ago, Theda Baratheon said:

Anyone find it interesting that the animal deckard chose to give to his child and the animal that plays a significant role in memories so closely resembles the unicorn (and possible implanted memory of his own) 

They sure leave that ambiguous. The place where the horn could have been is either a notch for the horn or just a 'chip' out of the head. 

By the by the residual radiation in the horse must be trace, because when K arrives in Las Vegas his sensors say 'radiation levels normal'.

Say, watching a third time, the conversation of Deckard and K about the past does not make it clear that Deckard was not there at the time of birth. ... could have been there maybe even a year or two after wards. Ann could have been 4, 5 or 6 when put in the 'orphanage' ... K's spoken words to Mr. Cotton at the orphanage about dates don't seem to square with other dates... 

Then the whole orphanage thing seems odd, there was really a girl , he was looking for a boy and the records show there were twins and the girl died and the boy disappears ... gad!... all kinds of messing with records.

Edited by boojam

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I'd just like to restate that the article linked to in the OP still makes me want to bash my head against a brick wall.

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14 hours ago, boojam said:

Deckard relates no information like that in his conversation with K. In fact about all he says is "it was part of the plan". Plan with who and for what purpose? To hid the secret of Rachael's daughter , man they went to a lot of trouble to do that. Even if Deckard was involved it took a number of individuals, the replicant underground?, to pull off the 'black-out' and destruction of records.

I need to watch it again, but there was that whole bit of the conversation that finished with "and then the blackout occurred and I couldn't find them even if I wanted to".  I'm pretty sure in that section he says something along the lines of he taught them the system and how to hide. 

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I saw the film yesterday for the first time, finally! And i have some questions.
Like, why did Sapper and freysa give the child away to that awful orphanage? 
And what was the deal with the identical DNA? Who is that boy? Does he even exist?
And i think Wallace has not thought it through very well. If replicants start procreate, he might be out of a job.

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8 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

Anyone find it interesting that the animal deckard chose to give to his child and the animal that plays a significant role in memories so closely resembles the unicorn (and possible implanted memory of his own) 

I felt that was certainly intentional, to the point where I even double checked the horse the second time it appeared in the film for a horn.

7 hours ago, boojam said:

Then the whole orphanage thing seems odd, there was really a girl , he was looking for a boy and the records show there were twins and the girl died and the boy disappears ... gad!... all kinds of messing with records.

I guess it's good in showing us just how well Deckard did at hiding his daughter with all the misinformation. I came out of the film thinking "maybe there were twins and K was one of them" but now I'm more resigned (to the actually awesome) concept K was just a means to an end. It actually salves the whole "Jesus Christ, Deckard - you could have killed your son a dozen times now". Would Deckard have been that violent towards K if there was any possibility he had a son?

I'm also with others thinking that there were a multitude of replicants with fragments of memories in them and it was a matter of statistics that one would work out. Although I'm still not sure why anyone other than the manufacturers would want to find the chosen one/child? So the memory woman accidentally doing it is actually a fuck up in terms of her personal safety as by the film's end she has revealed who she is to herself and assumedly the corporation she works for. Although CCTV seems to have been another victim in the blackout - otherwise it's going to be pretty damn easy to figure out where Deckard is.

Regarding her childhood and her dodgy immune system. Does that gel? Her story was that she could have gone off-world but had to stay here because of her weak immune system with her parents. Did the film say when this illness took effect? Because I'd imagine the living conditions in Oliver Twist 2049 would have you dropping dead pretty quickly with a compromised immune system. I vaguely recall her being adopted. Anyway there's a lot going on with that character and whether she has any idea what is/isn't real.

Definitely need to rewatch this a few times on blu-ray!

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7 hours ago, Talleyrand said:

There was talk a bit before about all the signs of BR being a dystopian future - for me one of the biggest signs of it was the police, not just that Luv was able to seemingly brazenly and trespass and murder inside the police station no less should show that rule of law isn't exactly strong and the large amount of blood that was getting hosed down in the Station halls when K returned didn't paint a great picture of it even when it is working.

The biggest one for me is still the talk of the off world colonies that are premusably only for the rich and completely healthy. Whilst everyone lives on the half dead poisoned earth. 

Sometimes I think about what those off world colonies must look like in comparison...

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