I didn’t see the original Blade Runner (1982) until I was 17. I was expecting aliens, or androids, pew-pew lasers, or at the very least a man trapped in a game show and he had to run through a room that had lots of blades. Instead it’s a 1920s film noir detective hanging out with a guy who does origami. And then Rutger Hauer says he’s seen things other people couldn’t possibly imagine. It always felt like there was 20 minutes missing from the middle where the sci-fi action should have been. I’ve since come to appreciate it as the drama/mystery film that it is set against a sci-fi back ground. But I don’t love it. It doesn’t emote in me the same feelings that most nerds experience when they watch it.
As far as Ridley Scott films go, it’s pretty good.
The first thing I said upon leaving the cinema after its sequel was “Well that certainly was 163 minutes of someone blowing a horn in my face”.
It’s definitely cool. But it felt like every scene had to be exactly the same length, regardless of how much plot it actually contained. And considering he shared equal above-the-title, billing, Harrison Ford is barely in this film.
If you’re a fan of the original, you don’t need me to tell you to watch it. And if you weren’t planning a cinema-go, I support that decision because it’s long enough without being constantly exciting that it’s perfect for a comfortable sofa viewing.
So I don’t feel like I’m the right person to give an opinion on Blade Runner 2049.
Now I could easily sit here for two hours and crank out some observations, and be a pithy little Mr Know-It-All* or I could run my cute little butt down the Odeon and watch Thor: Ragnarok which came out today, and then quickly pump out a review before bed time so I don’t get yelled at by my editor.
(Can we have someone who works on post-production do some CGI of my outline made out of dust, to portray how quickly I left the room? Great. Thanks). (No, no you can’t…From, Your Editor).
Now that’s how you make a sci-fi film. Technically the Thor vein of the franchise is supposed to focus on mythology, but as soon as you start missing the two, sci-fi is going to win out. Just look at the death of westerns after the moon landing, or Toy Story (1995) which mimics that development in entertainment.
Regular readers of my articles will be aware that I, like every other basic bitch on the planet, love the Marvel films. But I could take or leave the first two Thor outings. Their storylines seemed one-dimensional and not particularly perilous. Keira Knightley didn’t help, serving as his dull love interest. The two of them didn’t have any real chemistry, and the writers failed to cram in a conflict for them to overcome together that didn’t have you rooting of them to just call it quits.
How surplus to requirements was she? Well, for the last twenty seconds half of you didn’t even question if it was her or Natalie Portman in that role. And if you did consider it, you weren’t 100% sure were you, because Thor’s love interest was such a bland part of the film.
There’s a throwaway line early on explaining that Jane broke up with Thor, so don’t worry, neither Portman nor Knightley make an appearance in this film.
Thor was also previously missing out on the comedic aspects of the Marvel world. Iron Man has his smug sass, Cap has his naïve boy-next door set out of time, and by the time Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Ant-Man (2015) came along there was a clear slant towards humour being an important part of the film.
Who knew Kenneth Branagh wasn’t a comedy-minded director?! He did Much Ado About Nothing (1993), which English Literature teachers will tell you is VERY funny. So maybe I should sit down with Mr Cobb from my secondary school and have him explain all the jokes from the first Thor.
Ragnarok however is directed by comedy genius Taika Waititi, who you should know from What We Do in the Shadows (2014) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) fame. He also provides the voice of the blue rock character “Korg” in this film. And you can tell the difference within the first two minutes. Just a simple visual gag about a swinging chain primes you for the jokes throughout the film. It’s littered with humour that had the modest sized Tuesday afternoon audience laughing raucously every few minutes.
Thor: I don’t hang with the Avengers anymore. It all got too corporate.
You’d have done an excellent job to have not seen any trailers for Ragnarok over the past year. Any single one of them basically tells you what the plot is, so there are no great surprises if you’re familiar with the basics of story-telling. Even though you can tell what the next bit is going to be it’s really enjoyable to watch it all weaved together.
But there are a handful of little surprises. Things you would have no reason to guess at just from having seen the trailers.
I don’t want to give anything away, I’m not here to give spoilers.
Everyone is fantastic and funny in this movie…
Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon…
Yeah, that’s right.
The whole thing has a slightly improvised feel to it. But not like all those shitty Judd Apatow “comedies” where they have a skeleton storyline and comedians think up convoluted insults which gets pieced together into two hours of bland drama.
Here they have an extremely specific plot, but it’s like after they fulfil the production criteria of filming the scripted lines, they have a couple of fun takes that can be mixed in. Which is how the Adam McKay films are typically made. Or more accurately, like Flight of the Conchords (2007) and What We Do in the Shadows were made.
I can’t recommend this film highly enough. Which should be obvious because of how I can’t think of much to say about it. Even Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) had me go off on some storyline rants. I also loved this film because as a bald man I’m limited for options of original Halloween costumes, but with some mild shaving and a Sharpie to the back of the thunderdome, I could make a passable Karl Urban this year.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Thor: Ragnarok pushes Spider-Man into second place for best comic book film of the year.
*Mr Know-It-All was my father’s name, please call me Alasdair.