Blade Runner 2049 is a neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Set thirty years after the original film, it begins with Blade Runner named K (Gosling). Blade Runners are police officers used to eliminate retire replicants (lifelike androids) that are considered faulty. K is sent to retire a replicant and discovers a mystery involving the remains of a replicant. K must solve the mystery to prevent what could be a disaster to mankind. Clues lead back to a former Blade Runner who vanished 30 years ago, Rick Deckard (Ford).
Having just watched Blade Runner, it was fresh in my mind. I’m glad I did. I could see just how much more amazing Blade Runner 2049 turned out to be. To make a sequel of what is considered one of the best science fiction films of all time is a tall order. Yet Denis Villeneuve and all those involved, pulled it off. They took all that was good in the previous installment and made it better. The designs, visuals, music, sound, acting, story, editing and cinematography.
The cast was very well rounded with secondary characters that were memorable. Character development on K was great, he was better fleshed out that Deckard. Jared Leto’s character, Niander Wallace, was sorely missed. I would have like to see more of Wallace. Unfortunately, he was represented most of the time by Luv (Hoeks), his replicant…assistant? Bodyguard? Not sure what her title was, but she was pretty much in a one-dimensional HULK SMASH! mode. K’s love story was great to watch. I was thankful for the longer run time. A lot of subplots like K’s love story got more polished and finalized than if the film had been shorter. Both films have some similarities such as the themes of morality and religious philosophy, but it isn’t the same plot. That’s a good thing, I wanted a sequel not a remake. What I had hoped to see was more of the world they created and that’s what I got.
I found it shocking that the music was so spot on to the original. That shadowy symphonic futuristic sound and music just tied so well with the tone. The music in the film kept me on the edge of my seat and made me fall harder for this film. The appearance of the film was the pièce de résistance. The city of LA already looked amazing in Blade Runner and they improved on it to make it look more magnificent. The world presented wasn’t just LA anymore, they were in California. Displaying new locations and expanding the city of LA to make it a living and breathing character. The city was teeming with more life while still retaining the Blade Runner image. The contrast of the bright gluttonous technology down to the grimy dirty streets. The practical effects were a nice touch as it furthered the technology that existed in this universe instead of changing it to something you might find in another modern sci-fi film. The appearance of the film along with the practical effects made the immersion that much greater. Roger A Deakins was masterful. Throughout the film I just keep thinking how amazing the shots were. The rich vibrant colors and noir contrasts throughout the film was a sight to see.
I thought the long run time might dissuade me until I re-watched Blade Runner. After watching it, I had wanted that film to be longer because it felt too short to me. 2049 has small flaws in that some characters aren’t as cultivated as K and a few unnecessarily long scenes. That being said, this is one of the best sci-fi or really any film I’ve seen in a while. It had style and substance in a genre that I enjoy. Blade Runner 2049 is in my opinion a notch better then the original and a must watch if you enjoy films. Purists will most likely find that the first film is much better given how it was way ahead of its time and its cultural impact. They aren’t wrong. I found them both to be masterworks, just that 2049 was more my taste.
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 2 hr 44 min
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
Cast: Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto
Producers: Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin
Music: Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography: Roger A. Deakins