…is because, seriously, you need to watch Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love, along with the rest of Wong Kar-Wai’s films to fully appreciate everything that 2046 has to offer. This was actually the first of Wong’s films I ever saw, and the first time I saw it I actually generally disliked it for many of the reasons other people did – the tedium and slowness, the jagged chronology of the story, and the fact that it wasn’t what I expected (based on the trailer I thought it was going to be a science fiction movie).
Now, after I’ve seen just about every single one of Wong Kar-Wai’s films and I’ve seen 2046 for the second time, I realize that everything I disliked about the film was a general misunderstanding about his work in general. I caught things I never would’ve known before, like references to characters and details from his other films. The storyline made a lot more sense now that I was already familiar with Tony Leung’s character, and it made the science fiction snippets understandable. Everything just made sense this time around.
I’m not saying it’s not okay to dislike this film, I’m just saying that it’s one of those movies you have to watch in a specific context. Go seek out some of Wong Kar-Wai’s older films, watch those, try and find a cheap copy of (or NetFlix) In the Mood for Love, and if you can stand that, watch 2046 again and see if you still feel the same way about it. I guarantee you won’t.