Review: ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ Is The Sequel We Deserved
When I first heard that there was going to be a new Blade Runner movie, I figured it would fizzle out before it was actually made. It’s been rumored for years, and the longer it was put off, the older Harrison Ford would get. It would be more of a Blade Walker film. Sorry. Then, by some miracle, Denis Villeneuve joined as director, Harrison Ford signed on to reprise his role, and Hollywood sweetheart Ryan Gosling would be joining as well. Still, I wasn’t sure it would still happen… then the trailer for Blade Runner 2049 hit.
Premise: Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.
After Villeneuve dazzled everyone with Arrival, it was only natural that he would take the director’s chair. Every scene in the film looks gorgeous. Even the locations where it’s meant to be dirty, it still looks better than most scenes in big budget films. That’s because Villeneuve and cinematographer extraordinaire Roger Deakins don’t want to waste a single shot being dull. I was surprised by how flawless everything was in comparison to everything that was set up in the original film. Everything looks similar, but dare I say a bit better?
The special effects, which were groundbreaking in the first film, look every bit as good in this film. What makes good CGI is that you actually forget what you’re watching is CGI. That’s difficult to pull off when you have a gigantic fake Los Angeles, flying cars, and robots. The long sweeping shots of the flying cars going over the futuristic yet dystopian cityscape is really something you pay a few dollars more to see in a real IMAX. Multiple times during the film I heard whispers of “wow” or “whoa.” I did say it, but I sure thought it.
In preparation for the film, I obviously had to go back and refresh my brain on the first film. I couldn’t see how there could be a meaningful sequel to this without being some sort of money grab. Once again, I was proven wrong. This film questions what it means to be human. It questions what memories and what makes you a human or replicant. Do memories make us what we are when we look back at how the formed us? If we find out they’re fake, would it matter? I won’t go into that more because it’s spoilery, but it’s always nice to walk out of a theater thinking instead of being in a daze over just going to a theater.
The performances in the film are wonderful indeed. What may fool you is the billing on the posters. Yeah, Harrison Ford is in the film, but this movie is all Gosling. He’s the main character, and as the film progresses, you understand why, and then it gets even more interesting when you he meets Ford’s Rick Deckard. If you remember the first film, Deckard was a blade runner in charge of catching bad robots. If you have no idea what a blade runner is because the name seemingly has no meaning in the film. You can read more about that here, but it’s basically what it sounds like.
There are many surprises in this film that I didn’t expect. The studio did a great job in keeping its secrets, because there were pleasant surprises littered throughout the film. You won’t get any spoilers from me, but many made me smile because I didn’t expect them at all, though I probably should’ve guessed.
Would I suggest seeing this? Yes. Go as soon as you can. It has the looks, the acting, the story, and that electronic soundtrack that you’d expect of a Blade Runner film. The word “masterpiece” is being thrown out a lot for this movie, but I think a sci-fi masterpiece is exactly what this is. The only thing I would change is Jared Leto. I can’t see him as a character, just Jared Leto playing dress up, but I’ll allow it because the film is just that good.
Blade Runner 2049 will be released in the United States on October 6, 2017, in 2D, 3D and IMAX. It’s directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. It stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.