We live in a strange new world. Not so much a brave one. We have too many cowards in our world today. Those who view lies and fake realities over that of actual facts and reality, just because it suits someone, allows them to win, or to profit.
I went alone the other Monday to the Bremerton SEEFilm Theater to see Blade Runner 2049 in 3D. It was worth it. It looked and sounded great. I had planned to go on a work day so no one would be there but when I arrived they mentioned it was a holiday (Columbus Day). But still, only about seven people showed up for the 2PM showing I attended.
As I sat before the show began playing with my Kindle Fire and trying not to listen to banal adverts on the screen, I got an odd feeling. We have had so many mass shootings, I couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom.
I hadn't brought a firearm myself even though I legally could. I hadn't even thought about it, On concealed carry, I have a rule. If I think I should take one I do. If I can't make up my mind, I do. If I don't feel it necessary (which is usually), I don't. But sometimes you just don't think about it, until later. This was one of those days. Typically, not a big deal. Let's face it, there is a lot of to do about nothing most of the time. Most people don't ever need to carry a gun. But that's a topic for another time. I only mention it because it calls to my state of mind in the theater.
I was just focused that day on going to see the long awaited, and potentially never going to happen, Blade Runner sequel. So in sitting in the theater, I tried to shrug it off. But with things like the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, our biggest mass murder to date, it was kind of hard to shake. So many nuts around anymore. However, once the show started, thoughts of it evaporated.
I've had an interesting experience with the Blade Runner universe. Same as many, different than most.
It goes back to when Blade Runner came out. I saw it just like everyone else and fell in love with it, just like many other. I started to check out all of Ridley Scott's films. I liked his late brother's films too, like Top Gun when it came out and others. I worked at a few Tower stores in the 80s (Tower Posters, Records and Video stores, in two cities) and watched Ridley's other films on both VHS and Beta as I had both, and came to love especially his first film, The Duelists.
Anyway, the quality of the film in the theater was excellent. The film itself, I couldn't be happier with. At the end, I just sat there... stunned. I planned to watch the titles to the end as I frequently do, and just after the best of the initial title music, I realized we were all still there and I flashed again on the whole mass shooting issue. I had to wonder...what if?
What if someone hated the sequel we had just watched? What if they wanted to watch the film, then just kill us all and go out on a Blade Runner (a violent film) high note? It was then that I remembered the death threats I'd gotten back in the late 1980s when I had said online that I was considering writing a sequel to Blade Runner.
I put those thoughts behind me for the moment. I just wanted to enjoy the last vestiges of this new film, even if it was just the titles. Besides I like to try and see if I know any names I see scroll by. Not to mention, I've had to generate my own title sequences in films before and it's interesting to note how new films are put together.
Finally, I realized I was alone in the theater. Then a theater attendant showed up. We ignored one another for a moment as I contained to read and listen to the end title sequence. He said something to me from the end of my aisle. I couldn't make it out so I reluctantly got up and walked over to him, a little disappointed in my somewhat euphoric mood being broken.
When it first came out, BR was my favorite film for some time (along with Brainstorm which I based my first screenplay, Ahriman, on in various ways). Toward the end of the 1980s I had decided I wanted to write a sequel to Blade Runner. Back then I was on various newsgroups on the Internet, which at the time was all text based. The World Wide Web still had a few years to get started up. My web page back then, JournalED.com (Journal of ExtraOrdinary Diversions, based on a print magazine I never quite got off the ground in the 1980s), which eventually grew to a sizable web site, and is now just online for historical purposes (but still, it's been online since 1995).
One newsgroup in 1989 had been talking about BR and I felt emboldened to mention I was thinking of writing a screenplay sequel to it. Within hours I had two death threats for even considering writing one. I was happy to note however that within a day or so someone offered to help me if I liked, and we both disregarded the death threats. I had thanked him, but I didn't really feel I needed the help.
I was married at the time. We had a young one year old son. I told my wife about all this and she agreed one night to help me come up with the concept. So we sat down at our dining room table in our ratty little apartment above a wine store on 65th and Revenna in Seattle, got a bit drunk, had fun maybe got stoned on some pot, and recorded the session. I still have it. It wasn't great, but in the end there was a concept. In listening back on it I can hear that she really didn't offer much and I did most of the talking, but it was fun and it lent some emotional support in my creating the concept.
I found that cassette, after all those years of it having been lost in my papers. A tiny little cassette tape for a micro-cassette recorder that I'd inherited from my late grandfather. Through the first of the 1990s and after we divorced, I worked some more on from time to time. I have the paperwork from that period on those efforts. I plan now to get them together and write something from it. It just won't (obviously) be a Blade Runner story.
At the end of the show of the sequel it had left me in a kind of fugue state. As if in a trance, almost. All these years since first seeing the original. I'd once had the Criterion Laser Disc version of it. I had magazines on it. I watched documentaries on it. I saw the Director's Cut when it came out and premiered at Seattle's Egyptian Theatre. I read the sequel books (yes, there's sequels and I didn't much like them). And all the other things about it that had left me sitting there in the theater a bit stunned. So I thought I'd come home and write this up to share it.
And here we are.
I have to highly recommend the film as well as Ridley and his chosen director Denis Villeneuve and writers Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, with story by Hampton Fancher. Of course initial credits have to go to the great Philip K. Dick in being based on characters from his novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
As I've said, I have a long and personal history with BR as well as Ridley. Many do. There were two choices for me about a BR sequel, the original being somewhat of a near religious consideration for many. A sequel, most sequels really, are either worthy of being a sequel in the first place, or not. Anything over that is gravy. I saw it in 3D.
All I can say and the highest praise I can give it is... I accepted it. And I liked the gravy.