For as much I’ve loved the original Blade Runner, I’ve also always found it a complete bore to watch. It drags, the pacing is off, and it spends so much time preaching through overacted monologues you forget how much depth it has despite itself. Blade Runner will always be a favorite of mine, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Blade Runner 2049, a movie my dad thought was a remake, is much better at being a movie with direction, with a slow, meditative pace that bleeds the world slowly into your brain. The plot, again, is second fiddle. In fact, I’m not sure I could even recap the plot here if I wanted to. But like the first movie, it draws me in despite itself, and I want to sit inside that world for as long as I can, even if I don’t necessarily enjoy my time doing it.
It joins other movies of this nature, like Solaris, Stalker, or 2001. These movies I fundamentally love, that sit deeply within my wheelhouse from a creative and stylistic standpoint, but which I’ve long had a hard time actually watching. It’s interesting to me to try to pull these feelings apart. Where on one end I seek enjoyment and entertainment, and on another I seek intellectual challenge. Of course, challenge is hard. I put these movies–Solaris, Blade Runner, 2001, etc–on the opposite side of movies like Interstellar, Inception, or Prometheus–which are movies I hate-watch–but are also the enjoyable, entertainment-driven version of what something like Blade Runner 2049 is trying to do. What place does each of these have? How does it fit into my own narrative? If I’ve seen Interstellar five times, but have only mustered up the time and strength to watch Stalker twice, what does that mean, if anything?