First heard this on vinyl years ago and I’d never heard anything as weird and kinda obtuse but which nonetheless left an indelible impression on me.
This cover always gave me the chills, the awesome scale which is John Harris’s hallmark, the beautiful landscape of fields and waterways leading up toward what feels like it should be a sunrise but instead that grotesque orange bulb about to devour everything..
It comes from 1985 which were really gritty days to live through with the threat of Nuclear War a constant dark grumbling in the background.
There was this, and Threads and The Day After – with the US and USSR racing to building weapons so powerful we could barely comprehend the totality of the destruction they could cause – the new question – do we really want to destroy all life on this planet?
I still feel a visceral repugnance whenever I see a mushroom cloud, it’s existence a reminder of how far we’ve gone – the ingenuity of destruction – realms that betray our better humanity.
I’ve never read the book but reading the synopsis from the Wiki page is interesting – an Alien invasion of Earth is partly halted by humans using nuclear weapons on Earth
– the Aliens, “who are familiar with nuclear weapons but prefer to use cleaner ones, are shocked by what they consider the barbarity of humans’ willingness to “foul their own garden” with radioactivity.”
So, Bladerunner 2049 – saw it when it came out, I think last year and I haven’t rewatched it since – although I would like to.
First up, I mostly liked it a lot and was very surprised at how they didn’t really fuck it up. I know Denis Villeneuve made Arrival which was pretty good – I might write about that too.
I felt that Gosling as ‘K’ was a bit safe a choice, as it turned out he was very good but I wouldn’t have minded an unknown – he didn’t really have a whole lot to do.
The art direction was mostly top notch – the way they upped the scale of Los Angeles was great and the long shots really did it for me – it was a convincingly-updated Blade Runner world that I wanted to explore – even if it was just with my eyes.
The vibe of the movie was great – the score, minimal and rumbling and those blasts like ‘Akira’ crotch-rockets ripping up the background noise, the fact that they kept it on Earth, his updated ‘spinner’ was just sweet.
I think my favourite part of all was his regular debriefing sessions at the Police department – basically a set of questions designed to trigger an emotional response which I’m guessing he had to pass by failing to be triggered – was he still a completely cold and detached killing machine?
Then he’s got some kind of a relationship going on with Joi, a hologram/AI and later he buys an emanator – a projector/computer gadget that allows her to travel with him, which develops that relationship into something more “real”
The story is pretty much that Rachel and Deckard had a child (some kind of bio-replicant miracle) and the K’s ruthless police chief boss and Neander Wallace the ruthless, maniacal head of the corporation that took over the Tyrell corporation both want the child, the former to keep he peace between humans and replicants and the latter because he’s got a God complex.
That’s the basic story and then, of course Harrison returns as the older Deckard and there’s a whole bunch of fighting, action and surreal, abandoned locales of the dystopian future and in the latter part of the movie the question of whether K is Deckard’s son arises as a strong driving factor.
So I mentioned the stuff I liked now I’ll get to the other stuff..
The whole fight sequence between Deckard and K was dumb and pointless, really I can’t see the reason except to prove that Deckard was still a badass?
The inclusions of Frank Sinatra and Elvis were jarring and completely unnecessary and felt like product placement, which is what they were.
The whole sequence of K remembering being chased and hiding his horse sculpture and then finding the place in real life felt compressed and contrived and didn’t find the orphans being kept in bondage in an endless scrapyard particularly convincing.
Ultimately was it worth making just to hang in that Universe again? I’d like to see it again before I’d make a final judgement on that – the first film was pretty perfect really, with the small lapses in consistency adding compelling mystery rather than taking you out of the story.
I sometimes wonder if the “noir” feel of the first film was due more to these gaps and inconsistencies rather than genius contrivance and that’s what made it so good.
Ok, I’m gonna throw this out there – let me know what you think.
So, it’s been awhile and the big ole tub that is the world has been thrashed this way and that – lest that’s how it’s seemed to me and it took me away from writing about anything much for a while – at least in blog form.
Science and Fiction though has continued without me and so I’m going to dive back in and start writing about things that have happened culturally and see what I can dig up – plus there will probably be ‘retro’ posts because the past is often more surprising than our ideas about the future, as we often forget what we’ve done and how we’ve got to this point.
Below is the artwork from a Tsunchoo record I released a few years ago and I’ve been releasing new music recently both as Tsunchoo (electronica, cinematic) and also as Simon Garrett. – which is more indie/rock/acoustic
I’m going to try and restart this abandoned spaceship and see if i can get the generator running once again..
I plan to write something soon – I think I’ll start with something about Blade Runner 2049
Adam Curtis is a documentary-maker who makes work for the BBC – utilizing their extensive archives to pull together imagery and newsreel footage and wonderfully evocative music to create documentaries which seek to explain the world we live in.
I find them incredibly compelling, perhaps you will too.