Film Review – Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Eddie’s Take

Title – Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director – Denis Villeneuve (Enemy)

Cast – Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Mackenzie Davis

Plot – In Los Angeles of 2049 an important secret is unearthed and blade runner K (Gosling) must track down Rick Deckard (Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years for the answers he seeks.

“Replicants are like any other machine – they are either a benefit or a hazard”

Review by Eddie on 06/10/2017 (for Jordan’s take on the film CLICK HERE)

With one of cinema’s most unlikeliest of follow-up’s, walking in the footsteps of its forefather 35 long years after its initial release, Blade Runner 2049 gives us one of the 21st century’s most accomplished of sequels.

The year’s most original, risky and downright beautiful blockbuster (just give Roger Deakins the Oscar now thanks Academy), Denis Villeneuve’s lovingly crafted new addition to the world created by Ridley Scott in 1982 is a film that pays respectful acknowledgement to its counterpart, all the while carving out a mysterious, engaging and most importantly, an emotionally charged continuation of what has come before and what is still yet to be uncovered.

Focussing its attention this time around on Ryan Gosling’s blade runner K, a man with a mission very similar to Deckard in the original, that being the “retirement” of runaway replicants, 2049 is a film that deserves to be seen with as little knowledge of its story as possible, as Villeneuve and returning screenwriter Hampton Fancher alongside Michael Green have produced one of those rare modern day blockbusters where there is genuine intrigue as to what exactly is happening and where our final destination may take us.

Fans of the original will be pleased to know that 2049 tackles just as many big question’s as Scott’s adored adaption of Philip K. Dick’s source material as it journeys on its way, as by expanding the universe of a futuristic Los Angeles and this time its outer surrounds, Villeneuve has enabled himself to be able to delve even deeper into the questions of what it means to be human and what separates man from machine.

It’s always a tough task for films of 2049’s nature to pay homage to the aesthetic and life of the original while creating a vibe and world all of its own but Villeneuve and his team have balanced out the scales brilliantly here.

Seeing more of the landscape of this futuristic but not unrealistic world only heightens the sense of wonder, Ana de Armas’s role as Joi will be a great talking point for many, Jared Leto’s somewhat overacted and underdeveloped role as new replicant king Niander Wallace will still demand great debate while Roger Deakin’s work behind the camera capturing this visually incredible production makes every single scene a work of visual wonder, a blockbuster production that is pure art instead of pure popcorn eye-candy.

The other key elements to 2049’s many successes are the performances of its two poster men Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.

Without talking in depth about how the roles of characters K and Deckard playout through the film, both performers acquit themselves brilliantly to their roles. Gosling who has the most to do here delivers one of his most memorable turns yet as K, it’s a role that requires both restraint and moments of rage and Gosling handles it all with aplomb, while it’s great to see Ford invested in his return as Deckard with the aging star doing a lot more than he can be prone to do in some of his usual phone it in performances.

Just like it’s much talked about original, 2049 does have issues that rear their heads throughout the film and do hold the film back at times from the greatness that it often touches.

Most glaringly is the films runtime, at 160 minutes in length Villeneuve’s film doesn’t always justify its near 3 hour existence, some scenes feel like they could’ve been both shortened and cut and it wouldn’t have adversely affected the final product, while some of the films middle section in particular does cover similar ground for an extended period of time.

The other more cosmetic letdown is the films soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, that fails to match the grand heights of Vangelis’s classic 1982 score. With music playing such a key role in the universe of Blade Runner, it’s a shame this one feels a little tacked on, which it was, when the composers came on late in the picture replacing original choice Jóhann Jóhannsson after “creative differences” between himself and Villeneuve.

Final Say –

Not made for everyone and far removed from the usual blockbuster fair, those seeking sci-fi action kicks from Blade Runner 2049 will be left wanting but Denis Villeneuve has crafted that near impossible sequel that’s respectful to its original, all the while moving forward in brave new directions. 2049 is a ponderous and meticulously crafted production that’s not only the year’s must-see science fiction event, but one of the year’s best films regardless of genre.

4 ½ Elvis holograms out of 5

33 responses to “Film Review – Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Eddie’s Take

  1. I will be seeing it next weekend, but with all the positive reviews for it, the excitement level in me is becoming unbearable lol. Great review, really can’t wait for this 😀

  2. I was surprised how genuinely disturbing it was. That skull and those bones- what they represented, my emotional connection. Horrible. Creeps me out. Need to see the film again. Wasn’t perfect but good grief it was some strange beast of a film. A great sequel, no question.

    • Ah sorry you didn’t like it! I certainly don’t think youl be alone in these sentiments.
      I must admit i found the pace very similar to the original but this ones runtime just went far far longer.

      • I actually think with repeat viewing, or certainly at home on disc, the pace won’t seem such an issue. I think I’ll be more relaxed with it. Once the film has unfolded it’s ‘secrets’ and you know what’s going on, it’ll be easier to just let it weave it’s particular magic on subsequent viewing. Soak it up like I do the original.

  3. This is a great sequel, but it’s neither original or risky. It’s a direct sequel and spends the majority of the film connecting the dots to the first film. It doesn’t cover much, if any new ground that the first film didn’t except for the one major plot point that drives the film.

    Being closely familiar with the original detracted from the mystery elements of 2049 and it comes off pretty straight forward with little to no mystery except for , again, that same main plot point.

    Giving Villeneuve the reigns after Arrival and casting Ryan Gosling in the lead isn’t exactly a risky proposal. Gosling was good, but he’s always good and in this role in particular he wasn’t outright impressive outside of a few scenes. Ford was better, and you’re right that Jared Leto could have had much more of an impact but he wasn’t utilized properly.

    While I enjoyed the film plenty, it was obviously too long. A good 20-30 minutes good have been trimmed and it seemed self indulgent and lingered on scenes in a self obsessive manner, basking in the beauty of the set design.

    You’re dead on about the score. It worked really well for hyping the trailer, but throughout the movie it felt more like an aside and the sound mixing was also overblown.

    Overall a good film, and as a whole, yes it’s one of the best of 2017. It was too late to finish writing it up when I got out the theater so I’ll hope to have my finished review later this evening.

    Cheers! Keep up the good work.

    • I think when talking about risky mate more so for the studio to spend 150 million plus for a film that really wont be enjoyed by the usual popcorn munching/low patienece cinemagoer.
      I was worried they’d go a little action heavy on this one but was really happy they focussed more on other areas.

      As you say though at least 20 mins to long.

  4. Good review. Definitely had a great time watching this movie. Though, it was a bit long, it was well-acted, visual stunning, and a great follow-up sequel.

    • Agreed Jason! Really keen for Jordan to check it out.
      I would love to see a version that was 20 – 30 mins shorter but then again I had a great time with this very different and way above average blockbuster.

  5. There have been only 3 films that I have watched 3 times in cinemas this year, and each one of them is bold and fantastic in their special, unique way.
    Silence, War for the Planet of the Apes, and now the extraordinary Blade Runner 2049.

  6. I agree with the visuals, disagree on a lot of the other stuff. It is true that this film doesn’t disrespect the original (which is a miracle considering how easily that could’ve happened), but it doesn’t do enough to stand on its own and be a good film in its own right without relying on the original. It doesn’t open up enough new doors, and the ones it does open up aren’t interesting or thought-provoking enough. The final scene itself seems to be more about waving towards the previous film rather than making the viewer wonder what comes next, or even giving the viewer something significant to ponder at.

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