By Hop Nation USA's Steve
Welcome to the first installment of Brew & View a series of movie reviews and beers that go with them. Members of Hop Nation USA will be pairing movies new and old with beers they feel appropriately will enhance your viewing experience.
For anyone who grew up in the 80s & 90s as a Sci-Fi nerd, there’s a good chance you’d seen Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner or had read the Philip K. Dick novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? As a fan of both, it’s an inexorable reflex for me to not compare this sequel to the original works. I was more than hesitant to find out the sequel was being made in the first place. It really had everything against it, in my mind. The overdone reboot/sequel culture in Hollywood seems to just make everything worse. There was no ...Electric Sheep sequel written by Dick, so that means the screenplay had to be mostly original. Ridley Scott was not returning to direct (although after watching Alien: Covenant this may have been a blessing.)
With that said, Blade Runner 2049 is a fantastic movie.
Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners) is emerging as one of my favorite new directors of the past five years. He remains true to the style of the original film while injecting his own new elements to the world. This also means this film is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The original Blade Runner was slow and methodical and so is this one. It wants you to drink in the world. It wants you to ponder the questions of what it means to be human, alive, or have a soul. And these questions are constantly being re-asked with each revelation. Even the subplot of the relationship between K(Ryan Gosling) and Joi(Ana de Armas) requires re-examining at least three times in the film. This is a smart and philosophical film, not an action packed romp. It’s probably the biggest budget art film I’ve seen in a long time.
While it is smart, it is also a long film. One of the few flaws of this film is it’s a bit overbloated with some elements not reaching a resolution...and I hope it’s not because they’re hoping for a sequel. Overall the look of the film is true to the original in its starkness and desolation, but a few scenes feel a little too clean, too professionally lit. Sometimes the movie dumbs itself down to spell things out for the audience, including a wall of text at the beginning (an infamous removal in subsequent edits of the original film.)
Overall, the film is more than you can ask for in a sequel. The story progresses well. It’s visually arresting and full of symbolism like most of Villeneuve’s previous works. I’m sure there’s a film student right now gearing up to write a paper on the relation between women and K. The performances are all spot on save a forgettable Jared Leto. Special acknowledgements, though, to Batista’s softer side and Ana De Armas who is seemingly the most human while being merely a projected Alexa-like home hologram. Don’t miss this sci-fi noir in the theaters if you can help it.
Score: Nexus 8 replicants out of 10
Pairs Well with: Stone Farkin’ Wheaton w00tstout 2017
For a film this long and thought provoking, you’re going to want to hunker down with something equally as big and worth pondering. The 13% ABV collaboration stout between Stone, Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton, and Greg Koch is just such a beer. Brewed with pecans, wheat, & rye and partially aged in bourbon barrels, this is a complex beer with a lot of flavors. It’s sweet, it’s boozy, it’s roasty and more. Much like Blade Runner 2049 this beer is visually dark, but worth the time it takes to sip and savor. Plus, what’s more appropriate than pairing a sci-fi film with a beer brewed in part by noted members of the geek, sci-fi, and tech cultures Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis? If you can find Blade Runner 2049 in a BYOB theater, then take this with you or wait for the DVD.
Beer Score: 2017/2049