Blade Runner 2049, the much awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s original, succeeds on every level and is a true Science-Fiction Masterpiece.
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, released over 30 years ago, debuted to mixed responses but gained a cult following and changed the genre of science-fiction forever.
When I first saw Blade Runner I have to admit, I was underwhelmed. It didn’t help that I had to choose from over SEVEN different cuts, all of which completely alter the meaning of the movie! I didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
However, a few years later I rewatched it and really found myself loving it. Scott had crafted a masterpiece that many, including myself, thought didn’t need a sequel. For the longest time I was resistant to the idea of a Blade Runner sequel.
However, the more news broke about the sequel the less resistant I was to the idea. The prospect of Dennis Villeneuve teaming up with renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins and Ryan Gosling was salivating.
I had the pleasure of watching Blade Runner 2049 on opening weekend and I have to say Denis and co. pulled off the unimaginable. They have crafted a thought provoking science-fiction masterpiece that manages to surpass the original.
Blade Runner 2049 is a masterclass in filmmaking
This movie floored me. I went in with subdued expectations despite universal critical acclaim, but as soon as the film began I was hooked and walked out of the theatre with a dazed sense of amazement.
Villeneuve manages to knock it out of the park. This film is everything you want a Blade Runner sequel to be. With Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve cements his place in Hollywood as the best director working today. No other director would have been able to accomplish this. In fact, the reason Villeneuve agreed to direct is because he didn’t want anyone else screwing it up!
A Visual Spectacle
Blade Runner 2049 might be the most stunning film that I’ve ever laid eyes on. I can’t remember the last time I was this stunned by the visuals. The cinematography, the art design, the use of real sets and locations combined with seamless CGI all make for a true spectacle. This is Roger Deakin’s best work till date, and it might just get him that elusive Oscar win he has deserved for so long. (Deakins has been nominated 13 times yet hasn’t won even once!)
Every frame of this film looks like a beautiful dystopian painting. Blade Runner 2049’s visuals are a true technical achievement, one that will be the benchmark for every sci-fi film to come. The universe that Scott built in Blade Runner has progressed in fascinating and beautiful ways. Blade Runner 2049 captures the grounded futuristic world the first one did so well; in fact it does it BETTER than the first one.
The film boasts Academy Award worthy performances
Every single actor in this film delivers a terrific performance; there is no single “weak link” in the cast. Ryan Gosling, firmly in Only God Forgives and Drive mode, was perfect for the role of Officer K. Gosling. He acts so much with such little dialogue. Put simply, he absolutely nails it. He delivers a sombre and brooding performance as Officer K, the titular Blade Runner.
Harrison Ford may have made his return to the big screen in 2015 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but he really shows up in here. Ford is not in the film for very long but he delivers an emotional and grounded performance that honestly amazed me. I mean I knew Harrison Ford could act, but he really ACTS in this film!
The two female leads are also spectacular, Ana De Armas as Joi, Ryan Gosling’s love interest, and Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, Neander Wallace’s personal assistant. The two of them bring raw emotion to the film, particularly Sylvia Hoeks who almost steals the show as the menacing yet beautiful Luv.
Even the supporting cast deliver terrific performances
Dave Bautista is only in the film for a bit, but man does he bring it. He also plays an integral part to the overall plot of the film. I found myself rewatching the short film that features his character over and over.
Another acting standout is Jared Leto who plays Neander Wallace, the owner of Wallace Corporation and creator of the new breed of Replicants. Leto plays a similar role to Tyrell from the original and delivers an eerie and haunting performance. My only regret is that we didn’t see enough of him.
Indeed, the acting in this film is worthy of Academy Award recognition, although blockbusters don’t have much success at the Oscars (except for Mad Max: Fury Road of course). However the film may get the awards it deserves because Blade Runner 2049 isn’t an action blockbuster…
Blade Runner 2049 is a Arthouse-Blockbuster if there ever was one.
Blade Runner 2049 may have been advertised as a sci-fi action flick but make no mistake, this is a detective/mystery film first and foremost. Blade Runner 2049 is a slow burner, with just enough action sequences peppered in to keep you on the edge of your seat. This slow pace of the film harkens back to the original narrative style.
I found myself on the edge of the seat for most of the film! There are some really gripping moments, even when there’s not much action going on. Coming in at a reported budget of $200 million, Blade Runner 2049 is the most expensive arthouse film ever made!
The film has a better storyline than the original
Despite asking such provocative questions, the original Blade Runner was, for the most part, light on plot. This isn’t the case with Blade Runner 2049.
The plot of the film was shrouded in secrecy until its release. I’m glad to say that Blade Runner 2049 delivers a suspenseful mystery with unexpected twists and some shocking revelations.
Blade Runner 2049 answers some questions the original Blade Runner asked, but it also poses some thought provoking questions itself. It asks the viewers things that will have you pondering well after the credits have rolled. Not many films can do that, but Blade Runner 2049 does so in spectacular fashion.
The Soundtrack is mesmerising
The original composer may not be back but Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch step up and have composed an eerie, booming score that just feels epic. It sucks you into the universe of Blade Runner and keeps you there.
I found myself listening to the score days after I saw the film; it captures that cyber-punk vibe perfectly. There are also some classic songs featuring Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley thrown into the mix that work surprisingly well!
The score is going to have a good chance of winning Best Original Score at the Academy Awards for sure.
However, Blade Runner 2049 isn’t perfect
There is so much to love about Blade Runner 2049. However, it isn’t a perfect film. The only real issue with the sequel is its runtime, a whopping 2 hours and 43 minutes long! You really do feel the length of the film.
Yet the issue doesn’t come from unnecessary scenes. Instead, the pacing problems come from the length of the sequences themselves. A lot of the sequences are drawn out. Although this is done to create suspense, you really do feel the film drag at times.
The only other gripe I had with Blade Runner 2049 was that we didn’t get enough of Jared Leto. Leto really was fantastic as the blind genius Neander Wallace; the film could’ve used some more him. However, this is just a nit-pick and doesn’t take away from the film as a whole. At least he had his own amazing short film.
Blade Runner 2049 is an instant classic that will be remembered for years to come
Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy sequel that has enough call backs to the original while managing to tell its own story. Ridley Scott and Phillip K. Dick (who wrote the book Blade Runner was based on) will be very proud of this film. There are plenty of easter eggs to the first film, but you don’t need to have to have watched the original to enjoy this film. It works perfectly as a stand-alone.
The movie is a cinematic achievement and is a must see for everyone who appreciates film. In an age of mediocre sequels, Blade Runner 2049 manages to set itself apart from the crowd as one of the very few that are better than the original. It poses intelligent philosophical questions and gives you unambiguous answers. An instant classic, Blade Runner 2049 will set the benchmark for every science-fiction film to come.
I cannot wait to go see it again. My only hope is that it gets the Academy Award recognition it deserves.
Blade Runner 2049 is now showing in theatres.