October 15, 2017


Blade Runner 2049 isn't a sci-fi masterpiece, but it's trying really hard to replicate one (Alissa Wilkinson, Oct 8, 2017, Vox)

Blade Runner, though complex, had a relatively lean concept at its core: Its villain (or is he?), the replicant Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer), is a pretty clear cipher for the Miltonian conception of Lucifer: created to be an angel in God's service, then banished from his creator to serve humans in an off-world colony, only to rebel, "fall" back to earth, and wreak his rebellious vengeance against his creator -- who also, in this formulation, happens to be man. (For what it's worth, in this year's Alien: Covenant, which has a story co-written by Green, Michael Fassbender plays a character who is explicitly modeled on the Miltonian Lucifer.)

Blade Runner 2049 returns to those themes, with talk of angels now explicit. But the movie also stuffs in a lot of other Biblical references along with philosophical questions. What is the soul, and who has one? How necessary are bodies? Do we have free will, and if not, can we still call our feelings desires? Does it matter whether our memories are real? And what does it mean to be "free"?

That last one is the most important for this film. If Blade Runner was interested in who can be truly considered human, and how that's linked to our ability as a species to feel empathy for others, Blade Runner 2049 is more interested in the question of freedom, in a manner that recalls much recent blockbuster entertainment from Twin Peaks: The Return and Westworld to Alien: Covenant and even The Good Place. Are we free if we are governed by the laws of the universe? Does it matter who set those laws? Is it really possible to break our creators' decrees, or are we programmed to fulfill functions, conforming to our destinies no matter what we think we're doing?

The entirety of the conflict between faith and Reason boils down to just this question : do you choose to believe that humans were endowed with Free Will or not?

Posted by at October 15, 2017 7:46 AM