Review: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Matches the Original
Is “Blade Runner” and robots Halloween enough? Eh, who cares?
This came out during October during my Halloween articles and it wasn’t a film I was about to pass up reviewing. Now here’s the thing about this sequel Sony has been very hush-hush on details of the plot, which is good. With that in mind I’ve decided so as not to upset anyone reading I am going to put all of the points about the SPOILER aspects of the story that I want to discuss on a separate page. So if you click on the next page to read the SPOILERS don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 4
Ok so the VERY basic plot of this film is that Ryan Gosling plays a blade runner (named K) who during a routine “retiring” finds something that seems to indicate that an older model replicant has done something that should not be possible. His investigations take us to new places in this world as the stakes get raised higher and higher until Harrison Ford finally gets into the picture. While the mystery is interesting it is fairly easy to figure out portions of it. They really push for you to think it’s one thing that you know it has to be something else. Now I say that knowing full well that the mystery in the original “Blade Runner” was super simple especially since it wasn’t even really about the mystery and more about of HOW is Deckard going to find all the replicants. Still this film brings up and explores some fascinating concepts. Some of which I’d be interested in seeing other films tackle.
The acting is strong from everyone. Like many other critics have said Harrison Ford is the best he’s been in a while. Not to say he’s been bad lately, but it seems he was truly reinvigorated by this script. Ryan Gosling is also strong. Some people may think he’s a bit bland in some of his performances, but I think his understated style (think “Drive”) is perfect for this character. We also have newcomer Ana de Armas as Joi who is my favorite new character. Her subplot in particular is the most fascinating and I think Armas really knocks it out of the park. Denis Villeneuve proves once again why he is one of our best young directors.
The cinematographer Roger Deakins is of course amazing. Although that was one aspect I was a little underwhelmed by sadly. I was so excited to see the world of “Blade Runner” filtered through the eyes of our greatest living cinematographer. And while the marketing campaign has been great at not giving away plot points they did unfortunately show most of the best shots from the film. Don’t get me wrong it’s all beautiful, but I expected more from this team. Still love the use (or in many cases the non-use) of CGI in this film. As far as references go they keep them tasteful. One of the coolest is the opening scene. Anyone who watches the documentary of the making of “Blade Runner” will instantly recognize it as one of the proposed opening scenes for that film. That’s just a cool thing to do. Also, be prepared to hear the opening notes of “Peter and the Wolf” a lot throughout this film.
Entertainment Value – 4.5
I loved the pace of this movie, but it ain’t going to be for everyone. Like the original it is a slow burn film and I’m glad they kept it like that. From the trailer I was a little worried they were turning this into more of a conventional action film. Here’s the thing, “Blade Runner” sounds like it should be an action flick. From the premise of a cop hunting robots in the future I think everyone gets a specific type of movie in their heads. Then, they see it and it’s a very quiet morose detective film. It can be an acquired taste and while the action scenes are grander in scale here they never go so big that it feels inappropriate for the universe. Emotion and story are still at the forefront of the fight scenes as it should be.
Rewatchability – 4.5
As a friend of mine once said, “nobody likes “Blade Runner” the first time they see it!” What I believe he meant by that is it’s a film that requires multiple viewings to really appreciate it. Not just because of all the visuals it throws at you, but the way its told needs you to pay attention and think on what you’ve seen. So of course I’m going to watch this new film again to see how it stacks up to the original in that regard.
- Entertainment Value
"Blade Runner 2049" is a sequel that never seemed like it would happen, much less actually be good. The new and returning actors are all perfectly tailored for their roles. The story has some fascinating developments that will leave audiences with plenty of questions to mull over. It does what all good sequels SHOULD do and expands on the original universe. It makes me want to re-watch and see how it shapes and grows throughout the years. It may never gain the same stature as the first "Blade Runner," but this is an excellent companion piece and for a sequel this many years later that is damn impressive. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.
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