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.
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