It snows on the people-and-advertising choked streets of Los Angeles. San Diego has been reduced to “Waste Management District” for greater LA. Drone strikes are directed by smart glasses targeting systems, you’re never alone so long as you can afford a hologram, the cops drive flying Peugeots and things still go better with Coca-Cola. But what are we to take from the chilly magnificence of “Blade Runner 2049?” Can we develop empathy for characters we know, entirely too soon, either don’t exist or do not have the “child of woman born” bonafides? Thirty-five years after his death, and we’re still pondering sci-fi genius Philip K. Dick’s ultimate question — “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” This long-promised, long-gestating sequel to Ridley Scott’s flawed masterpiece of the ’80s moves humanity no further down the rabbit hole of the murky nature of existence even as it deepens the dystopia that our polluted, violent, over-populated planet might be hurtling towards. Denis Villeneuve, of “Arrival” and “Sicario,” takes the reins from Scott for the return to the brownscape of Future LA, which looks entirely too much like present-day Hengshui, China, or any mature, built-up smog-covered megacity in what used to be the developing […]

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