Double Deckard

In one of my writing groups, it’s almost a running joke that I’ve never seen many popular films that the other members have. So when a friend mentioned that she wanted to see Blade Runner 2049, I decided to do it properly.

English: Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World cha...
Oops, wrong blade runner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week ago on Saturday, I started an intensive weekend of reading the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. I followed this up with the original Blade Runner on the Sunday night; then on Monday, the three official short films that tie in with the story; and on Tuesday, I finally watched 2049.

Was the preparation worth it? A decisive yes, as I was then familiar with the universe, but the first film is a different beast from its source material.

The novel has elements that are shuffled or omitted in Blade Runner: replicants are called androids, there’s prestige in owning a real animal, and Rick Deckard is married. In fact, the only near-verbatim scene was Rachel’s empathy test. Despite the changes, however, Dick was reportedly satisfied with the end product.

Which brings me to the latest instalment. I like that a similar period of time has elapsed in the fictional universe as in real life, especially as the first film has had time to build up a cult following.

But 2049 also focuses slightly less on action and takes a more philosophical tone, mirroring the book; this is made possible with a running time of more than 2½ hours. I think there’s still a glaring gap for someone to write an adaptation that’s more faithful to the novel.

At the risk of turning into a name dropper, I once had the opportunity to ask Irvine Welsh how he feels about his books being made into films; Trainspotting, The Acid House, et al. He replied that he accepts the differences between the two media and that however the film turns out, “It never hurts book sales.”

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4 thoughts on “Double Deckard

  1. Interesting idea. Thanks for sharing. Someday might have to replicate your science-fiction feat like a real animal.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s rare I’ll become so invested in a universe, but Blade Runner has a cult following, so I thought it’d be worth the effort.

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  2. I enjoyed Blade Runner 2049, having been a longstanding fan of the director’s cut of Blade Runner. But you’re right, it’s a different beast. It’s an interesting film, but I’m not sure if it is likely to become a cult classic. One thing it lacks – I think – is The Scene. I think most cult classic movies have at least one scene that is the one everyone will remember. Casablanca probably has about six! Blade Runner has ‘tears in rain’, but I don’t think Blade Runner 2049 has a stand-out scene of equivalent power … but I’d be happy to be proved wrong!

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    1. I agree with you on that front, Steve. The closest that 2049 has to an iconic scene is where Rachel is brought back to meet Deckard. However, I think it sometimes takes time for a scene to become memorable, so we’ll see what happens in the eyes of the fans.

      I’ve seen Casablanca as well, and I agree there are a number of stand-out moments. My favourite scene isn’t Sam being told to play As Time Goes By, nor is it the final shot on the runway. In fact, it’s where Rick Blaine explains that Casablanca is where people end up because they can’t enter the US but have broken ties with their previous lives, a concept I find fascinating.

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