Are Audiences Too Lazy to Appreciate ‘Blade Runner 2049’?

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Blade Runner 2049 is something of a miracle—a sequel to a 35-year-old science fiction classic that feels urgent and necessary and which actually improves upon the original in some ways. Writer Sara Lynn Michener is thrilled with the new movie.

“It passed the piss test,” Michener says in Episode 277 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It’s 2 hours and 45 minutes. Both my partner and I had to pee halfway through, and neither of us could go to the bathroom, because we didn’t want to miss any of it.”

Science fiction author Matthew Kressel is a massive fan of the original Blade Runner, and appreciates that the sequel replicates its mood and pacing.

“A lot of today’s Hollywood films don’t have a lot of patience,” he says. “They sort of expect the audience to get bored really quickly, so they’re like, ‘We’ve got to have an explosion every 10 minutes.’”

But the slow pace of Blade Runner 2049 is proving a challenge for many viewers, and so far the movie hasn’t attracted an audience that extends much beyond fans of the original. Michener thinks it’s appropriate that the film, like its predecessor, is a box office disappointment. “They made a sequel to a cult classic,” she says. “It was not designed to work with the Fast & Furious crowd.”

Bestselling author Daniel H. Wilson thinks the movie will pick up steam over time due to its many ambiguities, which compel discussion.

“If your friend hasn’t seen it, well then they damn well better go see it, so that you can talk about it, because I’ve got things I need to talk about,” he says. “That is how this virus spreads.”

Listen to the complete interview with Sara Lynn Michener, Matthew Kressel, and Daniel H. Wilson in Episode 277 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Sara Lynn Michener on Silicon Valley:

“In 2017 the ‘radical visionary’ is a kind of villain and a kind of hero at the same time. Like, we’re not sure whether Elon Musk, for instance, is ever going to go evil. Is he going to just always be altruistic and always be humanistic, or is he at some point going to do something really scary? And so I feel like, especially living in Silicon Valley—you know, the TV show Silicon Valley, I actually can’t stand watching it, because it’s too realistic. It’s not satirical enough to be funny, so it just makes me uncomfortable. … So that’s why when I watched this, when I saw Jared Leto’s character, I was like, this is totally a believable Silicon Valley visionary who’s so caught up in his own way of thinking and his own prejudices that he is a truly terrifying, powerful individual.”

Daniel H. Wilson on AI:

“AI [will] gain the ability to communicate with us like people, to pull those levers of emotion and gesture. … And as human beings, we are completely un-innoculated for this. We have spent maybe 300,000 years—as homo sapiens—interacting via speech and gestures only with human beings. Never in the history of evolution, never in the history of humankind, has there been a moment where we spoke to an artifact in the environment and it spoke back to us. So when that happens, we are going to be completely unable, I think, to defend ourselves, at least for a little while, and that may involve people buying a lot of products because they’re in love—because they’re literally in love—and that scares the shit out of me.”

Sara Lynn Michener on feminism:

“I am not going to be one of those feminists who has a problem with this movie, because I think that the goal of Blade Runner—if it’s going to be true to Blade Runner, which it is, thank goodness—is to show the world as it is. And I think that a lot of feminists have a hard time with that. They had a hard time with it in Game of Thrones, where Game of Thrones is designed to be a very patriarchal society, because it’s reflecting on and talking about patriarchy. Blade Runner is the same. … To me what makes Blade Runner prescient is its bleakness, and I think, as a feminist, I want science fiction to show us a mirror, I don’t want it to break the fourth wall and tell us, ‘Oh by the way, this is bad.’”

Matthew Kressel on dystopias:

“One of the things about the first film that I think is part of the reason it was copied so much is that you have this visual appeal. Even though it’s a dystopia, it’s sexy. There’s something about that world that is appealing. The new film, I do not want to live in that world. … But I like that. I think they really showed that this was a dystopian world 30 years before this film, imagine what happens after that. Things got worse. There’s blizzards all the time, they have to have these giant sea walls to protect them from the water coming in, they have these massive garbage dumps. … It’s gotten so much worse, and kudos to the director and the set designers for not being afraid to take it to that conclusion.”

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Razer’s gunmetal Blade Stealth is like dressing a gaming laptop in a suit

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The chassis of this Blade Stealth isn’t dramatically different than it has been in past generations — except for its new gunmetal paint job. An all-black exterior, backlit triple snake logo and a keyboard with every color in the rainbow is often what kept corporate types and minimalists away from Razer’s laptop portfolio.

Everything screamed “gamer” or “PC enthusiast,” but the user experience has been well-revered across the internet. Now for the first time, Razer is making a laptop with a new color scheme, with a basic backlit keyboard, sans snake light show — it’s refreshing.

A Blade is only as sharp as its specs…

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves — as nice as the Blade Stealth is as a productivity machine, it’s not a gaming computer despite being the product of one of the most gaming-oriented companies on Earth. This Stealth comes with a Core i7-7500U processor (2.7GHz, 2.9GHz TurboBoost), 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive.

However, the prime feature of this configuration is the dazzling 13″ QHD + IGZO touchscreen, which is set at a 3200 x 1800 resolution. It’s glossy and crisp, and its 100 percent sRGB color distribution is among some of the best of the Windows ultrabooks, hands down.

Beyond those core specs, the gunmetal Blade Stealth is an ordinary Windows 10 ultrabook. Its only special feature is being part of the Razer hardware ecosystem, which is a powerful bullet point. It means you can purchase the Razer Core enclosure to go along with it, install the GPU of your choice and connect via the only Thunderbolt/USB-C on the system to help drive 3D PC games.

This is an excellent solution if you’re looking to own a “gaming laptop,” but don’t want the bulkiness, heat or lack of battery life. And unlike the other Blades in Razer’s portfolio, technically you can upgrade your GPU.

As a productivity machine

I hate to admit it, but I do miss the Chrome keyboard technology. Razer’s 16.8 million programmable keyboards have become just as much of a staple to the brand’s image as the triple-head snake, the color green and all-black-everything aesthetic. But aesthetics aside, the Blade Stealth works as a strong mobile warrior, weighing just 2.93 pounds.

Between writing up my experiences with the machine, editing photos in Lightroom, listening to much on Spotify and generally just having too many tabs/windows open in Chrome, the Stealth lasted about eight hours. Close enough to the nine hours or so that Razer advertises, and I’m sure I can close the gap — if I lowered the max screen and keyboard brightness.

Port selection is minimal, but not disappointing (still no SD card slot, sorry). Your single USB-C/Thunderbolt port is also the charging port, and there is an aux port, along with flanking USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI-out.

Now for the speaker, keyboard, trackpad trifecta. While the keyboard could use more travel, it’s evenly distributed, with practically no flex while being easy to get started on.

The trackpad is as tall as the size of the palm rest will allow, smooth to the touch and accurate, now arguably one of my favorites.

As for the stereo speakers: While they aren’t THX certified like the big brother Blade Pro’s, they offer enough bass and clarity to entertain, surprisingly so, considering their small size.

Bottom line

One of the best ultrabooks out there just got a lot more presentable.

For a $100 premium over a 13-inch, non-TouchBar MacBook Pro you can have the ability to invest more dollars to play games. Regardless, even without the Core you’d have the advantage of more RAM, storage space and ports than the base MacBook — with the added benefit of a touchscreen.

If you’ve had any reservations about getting a Blade Stealth because it was too flashy, you’re in luck. One of the best ultrabooks out there just got a lot more presentable.

Price as Reviewed: $1,399 at Razer USA

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‘Mother!,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049’ And More

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IMPA

This week in This Week In Posters, we begin with this poster for Blade Runner 2049, which seems to have a hot side and a cold side. It’s the McDLT of posters! Remember that? It stood for “McDonald’s Lettuce and Tomato,” and it had two compartments, for keeping the cold lettuce and tomato from touching the hot meat and cheese. Because in the ’80s, fresh vegetables were a rare delicacy. I’ve digressed, but the point is, they put the faces and names on the corresponding sides here which pleases me.

IMPA

Blade Runner? More like Rain Runner, am I right? (I apologize for this). Anyway I really like that they silhouetted the rain drops inside the font. It really emphasizes the rain.

IMPA

Why isn’t Harrison Ford’s hair wet? In fact he looks completely dry. I’m starting to think this whole rain thing is a sham. Blade Rainer. I hate you all.

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Don’t Watch This New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Trailer

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See that thing up there? The box that says “Blade Runner 2049 – International TV Spot #1”? The one with the tempting “play” button on it? That’s the latest trailer for the sequel-reboot thing to Ridley Scott’s classic 1982 movie. Looks sexy, right? Who can resist Ryan Gosling’s puppy-dog eyes, Harrison Ford’s glowering face, and a whole lot of whatever the hell it is Jared Leto is doing. Oh man, it’s hot.

But you know what? Don’t watch it. This trailer is like that Sesame Street tome The Monster at the End of This Book, and like Grover we’re begging you not to turn that page. It’s not that there’s not a ton of cool stuff to see here—quite the contrary. Unlike most international trailers, which tack on about four seconds of extra footage and make such a big deal out if it, this one features glimpses of Denis Villeneuve’s movie you haven’t seen. It all looks … beautiful.

But again, don’t watch it. As my colleague Brian Raftery noted when the first Blade Runner 2049 trailer hit, the magic of this reboot will live or die depending on how ready-for-anything you are going into the theater. Poring over this trailer and its lush flourishes will only make the film that much more predictable and expected when you finally walk into that multiplex. The original Blade Runner blew minds because no one saw it coming. If you walk into this one already having theories about who the replicants are and whether Gosling is one of them (no human is that perfect, amirite?), you’ll regret it. We saw some great stuff from this film at Comic-Con International and we’re pretty sure it’ll be awesome. You don’t need to know more than that.

So, take it from us—don’t watch this trailer. Wake up; it’s time to dodge.

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ trailer reveals more action and stars

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The latest trailer for “Blade Runner 2049” was released on Monday and it wasn’t shy about ramping up the action. Additionally, fans were treated to a closer look at the new cast of characters that will go up against Ryan Gosling’s character in the follow up to the 1982 classic.

The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, dropped a new trailer on “Good Morning America.” Gosling introduced the clip joking that the “Blade Runner 2049” trailer was dropping, despite the year actually being 2017. The trailer is a dark thriller that’s loaded with more action than its two predecessors.

In addition to the action, fans were given a better look at some of the stars that will round out the cast including Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Lennie James and a gritty fight scene with an age-enhanced Dave Bautista.

Plot details about the upcoming movie are still being kept secret by the people behind the film, but Deadline reports that what is known is that the story will focus on Gosling’s character, Officer K. He unearths some kind of long-buried secret that, if revealed, could have big consequences for the society of the time. His adventure sends him on the hunt for the star of the original film, Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role after all these years. When the film begins, Deckard will have been missing from his role as a blade runner with the LAPD for roughly 30 years.

The new trailer harkens back to the original and promises that the characters will discover the next step in the future of humanity. For a movie that toys around with the concept of androids becoming just as good as human beings, it’s hard to tell what that future really looks like. It seems those curious will just have to wait until the film drops in October 2017 to find out.

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