Just watched: "Blade Runner 2049"


A friend of mine has a lovely 4K television with surround sound set up in his basement. Of course, we got together and watched "Blade Runner." The one from 1982, director's cut. It had been a while since I'd seen the movie and I'd never seen this version. The core idea about life, how it's defined, and who deserves it is an entertaining one. I still enjoyed it quite a bit, but... Something nagged.

There's a scene where Rachel is back in Deckard's apartment, after saving his ass from Leon. Something is drawing the advanced replicant and the recommissioned Blade Runner together, for sure. After a heated conversation, Deckard forces her to stay. Forces her to kiss him. Forces her to ask for him to kiss her. And the whole scene is kind of cringeworthy. Then I realized that there are no "real" women in the movie. Not one human woman. The women who are there have been created to serve men, in one way or another. Tyrell created Rachel as some sort of advanced replicant experiment.


All the advertising in the movie exploits women, in one way or another. Projected on buildings, in neon, wherever. There are women in the background, apparently living what passes for normal lives in Los Angeles, circa 2019. All of the women featured in the movie are literally objects. Women have very nearly been erased. And once you see that, it's creepy AF and hard to unsee.

Fast forward thirty years to 2049 and the second "Blade Runner" film. A new series of replicants have been engineered by another dude with a God complex. This new series is obedient. And generally homogenous. The entire cast is white, in appearance, at least. Which, for science fiction about the future, is getting beyond exhausting. Somehow, thirty years in the future, from the last future, there are even fewer non-white people in America. Oh, wait, there's that creepy black dude running an off-the-grid orphanage that sells kids. Or something. 

At the point in history being depicted, America has not only erased women, it's erased brown folks too, while also creating a slave class of white replicants. WTF is going on here? The replicant Blade Runner has an AI girlfriend, a customized, build that advertises as a 100-foot tall, nude woman. She's literally more object than replicant women. Who appear to be either bloodthirsty killers or street-walking prostitutes. Of the two human women featured in the movie, one is a politically motivated, awful person who tries to sexually harass her Blade Runner. And the other is Deckard's genetically damaged, but otherwise brilliant daughter who's literally kept in a bubble. Literally kept safe and productive. Classic. And it's one of those odd never-mind-the-man-behind-the-curtain moments because if the tech exists to manufacture human beings, why can't they fix this woman? Then again, why would they bother? Since the goal is to do away with women entirely, it seems. I wonder how much of this erasure was intentional?

Gorgeous movie, well-acted, great soundtrack, neat ideas, continuity, and execution, but once I saw it...