So I had Blade Runner 2049 spoilt for me. Twice. Each time about a different aspect of the film.
Now I won’t repeat the spoilt (or any) plot points here, but in an interesting twist on my blog the other week – about film studios revealing spoilers about their up-and-coming releases – this film’s producers wanted nothing publicised about the film concerning anything past the five minute mark.
The marketing campaign was spot on in keeping large plot points about the film hidden – it was word of mouth that revealed the spoilers – even really obvious twists that you get right in the opening scene of the film were kept unto themselves. Weirdly, even though I ranted about this the other week, I have a problem with this…
Guaranteeing that your audience arrived into the cinema knowing nothing at all about the film means that you can visually exaggerate all the reveals which is great the first time, but not unlike that Khan moment in Star Trek Into Darkness, the moment you already know what’s going on, it looks, well, a little silly.
Now as I’ve never had a clean run of the film, I can’t say for certain whether this was just me or my particular experience that ruined it; maybe those who went in spoiler free get to relive their emotions as they played out the first time? Or maybe this is the same for everyone?
In my opinion they missed a trick, but came so very close…
Some notable films with big ol’ plot twists like The Sixth Sense or Fight Club are similar examples that are better executed. Once you know the film’s twist, you actually want to go back and re-watch the film knowing the ending. That second viewing is then so different from the first that you’ll always remember that first time watching it. Recalling how the film-maker manipulated you for two hours only to pull the rug out from under your feet at the final hurdle. But Blade Runner 2049 didn’t seem to have that.
In a direct comparison, I had The Sixth Sense spoilt for me but I still got to enjoy the clever writing of the scenes and have fond memories of it whilst Blade Runner 2049 didn’t really do any of that.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Blade Runner 2049: the cinematography was awesome; Ryan Gosling was made for that part; and the morals and lessons learned at the end still held. You could just easily dodge that final punchline if you knew it was coming and it unfortunately wasn’t clever enough to add in enough ‘Easter Eggs’ to make a second viewing that much different.
I swear I’ll stop talking about spoilers at some point. That said, someone did mention something about Thor Ragnarok…