Forget flying cars, murderous drones, or super hot photonic girlfriends, the future tech in Blade Runner 2049 that has a certain special segment of the Blade Runner fanbase all abuzz are… the umbrellas?
“One of the things I was sure I was going to see in the new movie were those trippy glow-stick umbrellas — you know what I’m talking about”, said Brandon Fishburn of Topeka, Kansas. “I know it sounds kinda silly, but the fact that the umbrellas didn’t have glowing handles totally took me out of the movie… it just didn’t feel like Blade Runner anymore.”
Pondering the issue a little further he said, “well I guess fashion could have changed in the intervening 30 years between the first and second movie, but, you know, if anything the umbrellas should have gotten brighter.”
Brandon does have a point. It’s well established that Blade Runner 2049 takes place following some kind of major disaster, perhaps a nuclear war. There’s snow in several scenes, and apart from the bright haziness of Las Vegas, the world appears to have only grown darker since the first film. This would indeed necessitate brighter lighting.
But why put lighting on umbrellas? Did the glowing handle serve a purpose? Brandon admits he doesn’t have the answer, but speculates that perhaps “they could use their umbrellas as reading lights.” This of course also suggests that umbrellas were no longer compactable, which would be unfortunate.
So, could the umbrellas help explain Blade Runner 2049’s under-performance at the box office?
“Now I’m not saying it made any real difference” said Brandon looking over his shoulder, “but I can’t imagine it helped.”