Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
“Blade Runner 2049” stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, and Jared Leto. Released on October 6, 2017, the film is about a new Blade Runner who discovers a terrifying secret that could bring the end of humanity.
The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who also directed films such as Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Arrival. It is a sequel to the 1982 science fiction classic, Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is considered by many as one of the best sci-fi films of all time due to its visuals and themes. Despite its issues with the pacing, the film went on to inspire many different types of media, such as video games, anime, and many other science fiction films that came after it. One of this weekend’s newest releases is attempting to bring the world of “Blade Runner” back to the big screen, but not as a remake. Instead, we are getting a follow-up that expands the “Blade Runner” universe as well as introducing old and new characters. Throughout his career as a director, Denis Villeneuve has been known for directing original content, so now his biggest challenge is directing a sequel to a critically-acclaimed science fiction film. Based on what I’ve seen so far in the marketing, it looks like he may have accomplished that challenge without any problems. The big question is, how good is it?
The film takes place thirty years after the events of the first film. We are introduced to a new Blade Runner named K, played by Gosling, whose job is to…you guessed it, “retire” bioengineered androids known as replicants. His new mission leads him to several clues that involve replicant reproduction, including the former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, who has been missing for…oh, I don’t know, about thirty years! Like its predecessor, “Blade Runner 2049” is a dialogue-driven, neo-noir science fiction film with a story that’s heavy on the interrogation and light on the R-rated violence. In other words, don’t expect it to be an action-filled blockbuster. My only concern going into this film was its running time, which clocks in at around two hours and 40 minutes, and its pacing. The slow pacing was one of the main issues that the first movie encountered when it was released 35 years ago, and the sequel itself was around 40 to 50 minutes longer than its predecessor. So I was a bit skeptical about how it would turn out. Thankfully, I went out of the film feeling both impressed and relieved. Yes, it was slow at some parts, which might put some viewers to sleep, but like Villeneuve’s other films, he was able to make its slow moments, and its plot, engaging as well as visually appealing. I did feel that the film was unnecessarily overlong, but everything that surrounds it was enough to keep me distracted from looking at my watch, including its rich futuristic locations and some interesting new characters. Not only did Ryan Gosling offer a splendid performance as K, but he also gave his character a bit more depth than what I expected. Harrison Ford was also great as Deckard despite the fact that he doesn’t appear until the third act of the movie. Even though he’s not in the film that much, Jared Leto was very impressive as Niander Wallace, a replicant manufacturer who wants to uncover the secrets of replicant reproduction so he can boost his business. One of the main aspects of “Blade Runner” is the film’s setting, which is a grim and realistic dystopian future. With Villeneuve taking charge, he was able to recapture that same atmospheric setting that Ridley Scott introduced and made it just as captivating and immersive as the original. From its breathtaking visuals to its incredible cinematography by Roger Deakins, the world of “Blade Runner 2049” is like reliving the theatrical experience of the first movie, but surprisingly better. Even the musical score by Hans Zimmer was marvelous in enhancing the film’s retro setting.
Overall, “Blade Runner 2049” successfully expands the world of “Blade Runner” by understanding the materials that were introduced in the first film as well as providing a much more interesting story for old fans and newcomers alike. Not only did I like it more than the original, but its technical achievements are some of the most incredible qualities that I’ve ever seen in a sci-fi movie. I won’t be surprised if this film gets some awards recognition for its visuals and production design. However, I will be surprised if Villeneuve doesn’t get another nomination for his direction. This is a worthy recommendation to those who enjoyed the first film and Villeneuve’s filmography.
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