Blade Runner 2049: Film Review (light spoilers)

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner.

I wasn’t a fan of the original. That’s not to say it was a bad film, I just went in with the wrong expectations. Teenage Seb went into it expecting a sci-fi romp. Blade Runner is not a franchise that can ever be associated with the word ‘romp’. Despite this I appreciated the first film on an artistic level. I appreciate that it exists, just as I appreciate this one for not selling out.


 

The film is stark, unforgiving, beautiful, awful, engrossing, captivating, oppressive and above all else – faithful.

 

 

It would have been so easy to create an action film, all the assets are there – guns, flying cars, synthetic people, dystopia, Harrison Ford. But instead the result is something very much embedded in the original story.

It doesn’t retread the same story, despite having similar roles. There is a Blade Runner. There is a corporation. There is a plot. Yet everything feels fresh.

One of the big debates around the first film was whether Deckard was a replicant or not, with the original director saying that he was while everyone else claiming that this was stupid. This film (thankfully) doesn’t clarify this and we’re still left wondering. It also doesn’t focus on Ford, instead following Ryan Gosling who absolutely nails the role of K who IS a replicant – this isn’t a spoiler, it’s one of the first things we’re told.

 

 

This is what I mean when I say the film feels fresh. It recognizes that here in 2017 the old human/robot story-line has been played out. As a fan of Science Fiction I’ve seen it done a hundred times in a hundred ways. Blade Runner 2049 feels nuanced and carefully laid out. It’s layered and smart, without being too obscure. It doesn’t shy away from flipping your expectations and it certainly doesn’t doubt its own style or imagery. I joked before going in that the film with be 80% establishing shots and I wasn’t far off. That might sound awful but coupled with the downright aggressive soundtrack it locks you into the kind of cinematic experience that I can’t remember ever having had before.

 

 

No-one left for the bathroom in my viewing, despite the long running time. Everyone was pinned to their seats. It was a spectacle, an experience, a high budget art-house film with a good morality narrative the likes of which I’ve not seen for a long time.

 

 

Enjoyed isn’t the word. It wasn’t fun. It was dour and stunning and depressing and captivating all at the same time. I don’t want to call it clever cinema, because that makes me sound like an asshole. Nor would I mind if people walked out of it – it’s a bit like marmite. I can see why some would be bored out of their minds.There’s something about being in a cinema for something like this where you have little option but to sit and soak it all in.

 

 

The world of Blade Runner is so vast, yet the stories are so small and human – even if there are no humans involved.

The movie is unashamed of what it is. It doesn’t seek to pander or entertain – it seeks to tell its story, whether you’re on-board with it or now. As a writer I can’t help but respect that.

So in closing:

Should you watch it? If you’re a fan of the original, or a fan of sci-fi then yes – give it a go.

Will you enjoy it? Perhaps, but don’t feel like you missed something if you didn’t.

 

I give it 8 Harrisons out of Ford.

 

–      Sebastyan

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Radio Silence = Busy Writer

I’m a firm believer that the quieter a writer is the more they’re writing. This has certainly been the case with me. These last few months I’ve buried myself in my work in order to reach a pretty extreme deadline. The thought of missing it fills me with dread, but I mustn’t let my desire for progress get in the way of the quality of the final product. All told I have around a month to get things in order.

I’ll make more announcements closer to the deadline, as I’ll have a better idea of what’s happening. In the meantime rest assured that every free moment I have is spent agonizing over the hobby that I so dearly wish to make a career.

– Sebastyan

Emotional Support and Writing

Everyone needs emotional support from time to time. We’re human, no-one is an island. And even if you ARE an island you’d probably still enjoy company.

It’s something I’ve taken for granted for quite a while: having someone close who supports your creative pursuits makes such a massive difference. My partner has always been supportive, whether its reading my stories for me, making me tea whilst I write, or just having blind faith that it’ll all lead somewhere.

I can’t stress enough how much blind faith is needed when it comes to creative things.

I guess what I’m saying is – if you have someone who supports you then make sure they know you appreciate them.

And if you don’t have someone like that don’t despair! If you have that creativity within you then it’ll find its way out. It better to be alone but believe in yourself than it is to be with someone who puts you down/gets between you and your dream.

– Sebastyan

The Martian: Book Review (No Spoilers!)

The Martian is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Andy Weir. A film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, was released in October 2015. I haven’t seen the film yet, so my review will be about the book only.

I started with a great deal of misgivings. I love Science Fiction, but my passion is more with the distant future. Perhaps a childhood of watching Star Wards means my concept of fantasy and science fiction are forever jumbled, but the read-up for this seemed awfully dry by comparison. This is believable science fiction, set in the near future – booooo.

Even so I dived in. One thing the Weir does perfectly is making the main character likable. If he had failed there the whole story would have ground to a halt. Mark Watney, a botanist and engineer, is stranded on Mars for reasons that I won’t go into.

He’s on his own. Everyone thinks he’s dead, there’s no-one coming, and there’s no way the base on Mars will last long enough for the next group to visit Mars. Food is running low and it’s a hopeless situation. Except it’s not, because Mark doesn’t lose hope. If there’s a theme running through The Martian it’s hope, that and human ingenuity.

If The Martian taught me anything it’s that I am most certainly not astronaut material. Things go wrong nearly as much as they go right but Mark doesn’t give up. It avoids the danger of Macgyver levels of contrivances: he doesn’t get out of things using blu-tack and paperclips. The problems that arise are combated with believable science and good old human grit. It’s real edge-of-the-seat stuff and I’ll admit I got the ‘Oh thank god!’ tingles more than once.

I struggled with some of the details. Credit where credit is due Weir has learnt his stuff. All the tech which is talked about is thoroughly researched, utterly believable, and wonderfully fragile, as realistic space travel should be. All the same there’s a lot to get through.

Don’t feel guilty about glazing over when it comes to some of the explanations. Mark is a trained professional, after all, and though his science talk might seem a lot to wade through his human side keeps things ticking along. It avoids the loneliness of a one person narrative by jumping back to NASA, away from Mark’s one man journal entries, and manages to keep things intense right up to the end.

I also appreciated that this isn’t a ‘One American Male against the World’ story. Nationalities from all over are part of the narrative- both men and women.

Does Mark make it off Mars? I won’t tell you. Is it a good book? It is! I thoroughly recommend it.

So, yes. The Martian gets the thumbs up from me and if I learnt only one thing it’s this:

Always take potatoes into space.

– Sebastyan

Celebrate Prime Day with Me!

Death Echo: Vol.1 eBook download free – 10th-12th of July

What is Prime Day? No-one really knows. Our most learned scholars say it has something to do with Televisions. Whatever the case may be I’d like to invite you to enjoy Death Echo for free! I’ll be making Death Echo: Vol.1 free from Monday, July 10th until Wednesday, July 12th. That means you can download the full book, illustrations n’all for no charge on your Kindle/whatever!

Volume 2 is well underway and there will be little trails between the books for the dedicated readers so keep your peepers pealed.

Buh bye now.

–      Sebastyan

50th blog post!

Wow, where has that time gone? I started this blog as a means to promote and discuss Death Echo: Vol.1 along with having a point of contact as a self published author. In both respects it has performed pretty well. I’m not built for social media – it’s like a game that I struggle to play. All the same it feels good to rabbit on to whoever will listen!

A big thank you to all those still here!

Here’s a breakdown of my timescale for future projects. They might not mean must to you but this seems as good a place as any to put it all down:

August 31st – Proper Magic rewrite draft complete – editing begins

November 1st – Death Echo: Vol.2 complete and up for pre-order

December 1st – Death Echo: Vol.2 releases

January 1st – Begin looking for an agent for Proper Magic

January onward – SWEET SWEET PROFIT

January onward – begin work on Death Echo: Vole.3

And now for the important part, the gifs.

– Sebastyan

Discworld

To those of you who don’t know:

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett, set on the fictional Discworld, a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.

Isn’t it perfect? How many fantasy books are out there with their own worlds? How many weird, made up names have authors created? Yet none are so memorable as the Discworld. None match its creative simplicity. Why is this? I think there are three reasons:

  • The absurdity of it – (see above description)
  • It plays on the silly idea of a flat earth – (Any flat earthers in the house??)

and perhaps most crucially:

  • The word makes sense!

This last one I find the most interesting. Go up to someone and say ‘Discworld’. They may well tell you to fuck off, but at the same time they’ll get an image in their head, perhaps not of the turtle and the elephants, but of a disc shaped world. It marries two words that people understand: ‘disc’ and ‘world’ and builds something amazing around it.

How can a writer match that?

In my current novel: ‘Proper Magic’, I have a fantasy world. I have a concept that I hope will set it apart from its peers, but it still needs a name and I can guarantee it’ll be no Discworld…

Ah well, aim for the stars. Who knows: you may hit an elephant.

– Sebastyan