Thirty-five years ago saw the debut of a Ridley Scott film called Blade Runner. Now a sci-fi classic, it starred Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and a lot of other great talent. With the release of its sequel Blade Runner 2049, there may be many who do not know of the original considering the film itself may be older than them. Know that if you choose to see this movie you must see the original to understand what is going on. You should also check out Blade Runner Black Out 2022, a short animated film written and directed by Shinichirô Watanabe.
The Ruthless Luv of Blade Runner 2049
Thirty years after Deckard and Batty fought, Replicants are still in production. One major change has taken place: The Tyrell Corporation is no more. In 2022, an incident led to a complete ban on Replicant production. It took roughly twenty years for the Wallace Corporation to obtain rights to manufacture new Replicants. The new models are given constant psychological evaluations and any deviations from their base lead to instant retirement.
One such model is K (Ryan Gosling) who is a Blade Runner much like Deckard before him. He is tasked with locating and retiring the remainder of the Nexus line. The opening scene makes it clear that he does not enjoy his job; like the rest of the Wallace line, he simply obeys. The encounter with Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) sets him on a path to uncover a conspiracy. With the future of the human race on the line, a Replicant must decide the true meaning of humanity.
You Bring Joi to My Life
What makes Blade Runner 2049 truly stand out were the performances. Director Denis Villeneuve ensured that the actors played their roles, no more and no less. While Gosling's K had nearly zero personality, that was perfectly balanced by Joi (Ana de Armas). Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) always referred to his creations as angels, yet he was so quietly demonic that he would have creeped out his Joker character. The most prominent of said angels was Luv, played by Sylvia Hoeks. When K meets her she is quiet, polite and to the point. Almost immediately after and for the remainder of the film, we see how non-angelic she is. In a film of contradiction and duality, the cast performed beautifully.
“Her Eyes Were Green”
Not even for the purpose of outdoing the original, more so to keep up with it, Blade Runner 2049 had to have serious visual effects. Things needed to clearly look artificial but be lievable as something that would exist within the story. To that end, I would have to say that this may be the most well spent $150M this year, at least theatrically. The moment you first see Joi, the incomplete Replicants and “the advertisement” pop out at you, even in 2D. I strongly recommend skipping the 3D and seeing this one in IMAX. The cinematography alone could get its own acting credit. I guarantee that this film will take home at least the Oscar for effects in March.
Earlier this year, I was a pure fanboy for the soundtrack of Atomic Blonde. R.A.G.E. Works fans know how there are certain aspects of movies and games that are very important to me. In the case of Atomic Blonde, a prefect playlist was put together to put that film over. However, we have an original soundtrack for Blade Runner 2049. Hans Zimmer created cyberpunk themes the seamlessly blended sounds of the 1980s with today. In particular, the Sea Wall fight was taken to another level by his piece of the same name. Yet another reason to see this film in IMAX is to experience the sound via Dolby Atmos. Your ears will thank you.
Verdict: Is Blade Runner 2049 the Future?
Blade Runner 2049 was a highly enjoyable movie, but it does require having seen the original to fully understand. You can see Black Out 2022, 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere to Run at the Warner Bros. YouTube to fill in the gaps. Even with all of that, do not assume that this movie is perfect. For one, it is too long with a near three hour run time. There are at least two scenes that were unnecessary but I will leave you to decide to avoid spoilers. Thankfully, the good aspects both outnumber and outweigh the bad.
Blade Runner 2049 is an example of everything just clicking together. Amazing special effects will get you to the theater. Fantastic performances will keep you in your seat. Cinematography unlike anything else you have seen this year will have you wanting to see the movie again. Just make sure that you have had a good night's sleep beforehand (I didn't).