Decades after the original, a new blade runner is tasked to hunt down a replicant that was “miraculously” born. Such a birth would justify giving replicants “human dignity,” and thereby stop their slavery to humans.
The original cool movie concept of a hunter of A.I. robots becoming the hunted has turned into another sophomoric attempt to philosophize that bleeds contempt for the audience by delivering no real action and long boring 1980s camerawork that lasts a sleep-inducing 2 hours and 44 minutes.
I don’t even want to waste my time blogging on this, but if I do, then you don’t have to waste your time regretting watching it.
I had originally assumed Ridley Scott directed this, but he only exec produced it. So…
My God, when are these Hollywood “artistes” going to stop trying to subvert the Bible with atheist Christ stories and God hatred? I’m praying that Denis Villeneuve, the director, is doing this because he’s being bothered in his conscience as he faces his own mortality. But I fear a more cynical reality that he is just another filmmaker who thinks he’s being “deep” by adding religious themes he doesn’t even believe in to a story he’s trying to make profound.
What is the line between machine and humanity? Do our dreams constitute our reality?
It seems that this is the era where atheist propaganda movies have achieved the preachy mediocrity of Christian propaganda movies. Now, when they throw out “God’s Not Dead” and “Fireproof,” we can say, “Oh, yeah? What about Alien Covenant and Blade Runner 2049?” And Exodus: God’s and Kings? And Noah?
Give me the hearty paganism of Gladiator any day over this heartless soulless atheism. (It’s paganism is not ultimately satisfying either, but it connects more deeply with our universal hunger for transcendence in a way that BR 2048 cannot.)
Soullessness is Boring
First off, the very premise upon which the entire movie rests is the atheistic evolutionary fairy tale that “souls” or consciousness arises or grows out of material complexity. This is all the rage now in some brain science circles etc. They have no actual explanatory mechanism for this “miracle” of matter sprouting “soul,” they just believe it happens. It “self-organizes.” This is what’s called in science, “just so” stories, or “magical thinking.”
And they laugh at Christians?
Ironically, the movie still operates within a modernist paradigm of Greek dualism that argues that humans are “ghosts in machines.” The Gnostic version says it this way: “the body is a prisonhouse of the soul.” Be that as it may, it’s the same delusion of A.I. movies all over. There is some point at which machines and/or their programming become so complex that they sprout souls.
This is actually a reductionism that reduces spirit to properties of matter. They try to deny that and craft clever ways of “transcending” materiality, but they cannot do so. And we humans know this when we watch these stories. Which means that when such atheist premises are engaged in the course of “love stories” between robots and other such “dignifying” activities, the audience knows as they watch that it’s a contradiction. Even if they don’t know it intellectually, or they can’t put their finger on it, they can sense it as they watch. Robots and programs are not humans, and no amount of verisimilitude can change that. Verisimilitude is a means of deception. And I think the audience can sense that truth.
Now, here’s how the deception tries to mimic truth…
Spoilers that Won’t Ruin a Spoiled Movie
Don’t worry, it’s not going to ruin anything.
This movie goes one step further into ludicrous narrative by showing the android robot Gosling fall in love with—not another robot—wait for this—try to hold back your incredulity—he falls in love with A HOLOGRAM OF A WOMAN! It’s a computer program twice removed from humanity. A robot of a robot? They’re trying to make a movie about “human dignity” of robots and they show a robot falling in love with a computer program.
It sounds laughably bizarre here, but it’s actually so creepy of a concept that it makes the hero of the story look unwittingly like a pathetic psychotic—needless to say, unsympathetic. It’s like watching how porn degrades not merely women, but the men who descend into it as a substitute for real human contact.
But that’s not what the storytellers intend, mind you. They actually think this is some kind of “deep philosophizing.” No, it’s soulless sophomoric pseudo-philosophical masturbation.
So at the three quarter mark of the film, when the hologram love interest is “killed” (erased) by the bad girl robot, we see Gosling weep and hold his hand out in loss. OMG! The bad girl robot just “killed” the love interest! Of course, this “loss” is completely unsatisfying for us humans watching the goofy analogy. IT’S A FREAKIN’ HOLOGRAM, Not even a robot! They expect us to feel some kind of “loss” for a FREAKIN’ HOLOGRAM? So this moment that is supposed to draw human and dramatic pain from the audience is actually an unintentional joke that provoked nervous laughter from the audience! The notion of consciousness growing out of informational complexity is just that intrinsically foolish.
Atheist Stories Prove God’s Existence
But look, I don’t want to just mock it. I would argue that such foolishness is an inadvertent argument for God’s existence and the reality of human exceptionalism, because if you make stories that assume the nonsense of atheistic immanence, they are inevitably unsatisfying to real human audiences who crave transcendent truth. The soulless dehumanized style of the movie coupled with soulless dehumanized characters is simply, well, soulless and dehumanizing. Which is unsatisfying to us humans.
And Villeneuve doesn’t bother giving dignity to the few humans that appear in the movie as homeless refugee slave labor. They’re like background characters in this inhuman narrative. The “revolution” that the movie only hints at as beginning to rise up against the evil robot corporations, is a hidden army of rebel robots! Oh, how I long for Terminator 10 over this insomnia pill of soullessness. Man, that word, soulless, keeps coming up in relation to everything in this movie. Oh, the inhumanity!
Really consistent atheist stories incarnate unsatisfying narratives, because they try to mimic transcendence, but we all know that fake transcendence is not real transcendence, and therefore does not satisfy our desire for transcendence. We know this imminent material world cannot explain our existence, nor give us objective transcendent meaning or purpose. Even the act of storytelling cannot be reduced to material substance.
And that is why I deliberately used the word “robot” instead of “replicant” throughout this post: to make the very point that euphemisms do not change reality, though they may trick us into thinking something is not what it really is.
Not Another Christ Story, PLEASE, Ridley!
So, Ryan Gosling is the young new robot blade runner in search of the birthed robot, because, as the only apparent human in the entire city says, “To be born is to have a soul.” Ryan finds Harrison Ford (Dekard, the original blade runner), hiding out in Las Vegas.
We hear silly Christ analogies as the boring bad guy says of the unique son, “A child of woman is born.” Turns out, Ford and Rachel from the original movie were the ones who had the replicant baby. Everyone calls it “a miracle.” I kid you not, they call it a “miracle,” you know, like the Virgin Birth. Ahem. Jesus deliver us! And then that boring bad guy quotes the Bible about Rachel’s barren womb giving forth fruit at God’s command (Like Jacob’s Rachel from the Bible). Aha! Get it! We got our own sci-fi religion going on here!
The whole point is to liken a robot becoming a human to Christ’s birth.
PUH-LEEZE! First it was likening Christ to an Alien (Prometheus), then it was likening Christ to a hybrid of alien and human (Alien Covenant), now it’s likening Christ to a FRICKIN’ ROBOT!
Hollywood, this is an open letter. PLEASE, NO MORE CHRIST STORIES. You are ruining the genre.
The storytellers actually think this silliness is some kind of deep analogy? Well, actually it is. It shows the atheist hunger and need for a God substitute. Their godless materialist universe is not only soulless, but uninteresting, so they use God language to fill their own spiritual void. Which is an inadvertent proof of the existence of God. AND the only way they think they can make it interesting is to draw analogies to religious narratives. In other words, CULTURAL APPROPRIATION of Christianity. Where are the protests? But I digress.
I can just see Christians discovering the shallow “Christ story” allusions again, and thinking that this somehow is a wonderful analogy for Christ, you know like The Matrix was! That Gnostic Antichrist story that subverted the real Christ story with Nietzschean Nihilism. Or War for the Planet of the Apes that used the Christ story (And Exodus story) to attack the Biblical God as the new monstrous Pharaoh.
I know it’s coming. Some Christians will say, “Christ frees us and gives us dignity, just like the hybrid replicant gives humanity to the robots fighting for their dignity!” Naïve Christians try to find Christ stories in everything and then think that somehow justifies the story for them. Christians need to get a little more sophisticated in their understanding of storytelling.
Read carefully: Just because there is a Christ story motif does not mean it supports the story of the biblical Christ. Such Christ stories are often used as a means for subverting the biblical Christ by using OUR symbols and narratives and investing them with their meaning. That’s what Scott is doing here. He’s using our narrative to try to convert us to his atheism.
This movie is dehumanizing and soulless (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s just too perfect a word).
It’s basically saying, “Hey, look, this Christ story of yours can be applied to our godless soulless materialistic narrative so that you can feel justified in liking it! If you believe that Jesus gives us dignity and worth, then this “Christ story” should help you believe that AI robots should have that human dignity and worth too. Since our souls or consciousness is merely an expansion of material complexity. We are, in fact, AI robots ourselves.”
If you are a Christian and you say, “Cool! A Christ story!” you are thereby manipulated without even realizing it.
Christians, wake up. These storytellers hate Christ. They are appropriating our narratives to subvert them, not to affirm them.
That does not negate my previous argument that this religious appropriation does in fact reflect their own spiritual hunger. It reflects God’s image in man that is being suppressed in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). But it’s suppression, not honest expression. It’s simply the universal human nature toward worshipping idols—anything BUT the living God.
Read my post on how Ridley Scott did the same thing in Alien Covenant, and how War for the Planet of the Apes does the same thing. And so did The Matrix. It’s more common than you realize.
Heck, buy my book Hollywood Worldviews to see how storytelling in movies incarnates worldviews so you can discern for yourself.
6 comments on “Blade Runner 2049: Boring Soulless Mediocre Atheist Christ Story”
Rats, Godawa! I had held out hope against hope that this reincarnation would be a story based in techno-fact and accompanying moral conflict as we move ever closer toward the reality of singularity. Christ stories aside, that tack alone could kill a few hours. I was willing to suffer the slings and arrows of belief-assault, but when you mention boring camera work, I’m out. Is it still raining constantly in the future with no hope of washing clean the tainted soul of mankind?
The technical aspects of the film, I thought were excellent. Especially the cinematography and sets. Using still cameras is a dying art and Roger Deakins composed the shots exceptionally.
my brief review was that the film is indeed technically astounding due to films most amazing DP Roger Deakins and matched with insaely moving sound design ….the look and sound stole the show of anotherwise way too ong and uneventful and soulless retreading o the once original Blade Runner world…they also paint a world so ugly and horrifying that without some strong humanity there is no way im gonna care nor emote however much i may appreciate elements of it…also, the abundance of bland so called pretty euro looking actors threw me out the window as well…
but yes roger deakins is amazing….
I agree with you, Stephen. The visuals were beautiful. Sound Design was good to.