“Blade Runner 2049” and the Importance of Theatrical Competence

Blade Runner 2049!

All things considered, such a beautiful film made it extremely hard to choose just one moment for our lead photo.

When I was 10 the original Blade Runner was the first R-rated film I ever saw in theaters. Mom had a strict policy against them till I was a teenager, but made the first exception while we were on vacation visiting family who wanted to see it. I’d already read and enjoyed the Marvel Comics adaptation by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, and did Mom the unspoken favor of asking her to lead me to the bathroom as soon as I knew Joanna Cassidy’s nude scene was coming. It was the least I could do in return for the opportunity to see revolutionary science fiction cinema unfold before my eyes.

Other kids had the first two Star Wars films, neither of which I saw till adulthood. I had Blade Runner. I never needed or expected a sequel. Not every story needs to be a never-ending saga. 35 years later, here we are anyway.

That was the intro I wrote before I saw Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 on its second weekend of release, capturing my trepidation in advance regardless of whether it blew me away or offended me with corporate greed. I’m sad to say that evening was an unpleasant experience.

It wasn’t the movie’s fault. It was Regal Cinemas’.

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“Ender’s Game”: Kids Kill the Darndest Things

Asa Butterfield, Ender Wiggin, Ender's GameIf the stakes were catastrophic enough, the training techniques were sufficiently intensive, and the world were just that unforgiving, who’s to say preteens couldn’t be accelerated to maturity and transmogrified into hardened soldiers like today’s eighteen-year-old American military volunteers?

Thus is the foundation laid for Ender’s Game: in a future where millions have perished at the hands of insectoid aliens (the predominant taxonomic class of Hollywood aliens), Earth’s last hope — and who knows how many hopes were wasted before the story begins — lie in an interstellar military system built on targeting the most gifted junior high students for recruitment, instead of the older kids least likely to go to college.

So, about that big-budget sci-fi thingie…

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