Thanks for visiting my blog again! Today’s post is a film review for Blade Runner 2049. This was a highly anticipated movie by sci-fi fans and the cinematic world in general. 2049 is a direct sequel to the first Blade Runner film that was released in 1982. That’s a really long gap! Was the new film worth the wait? Keep reading and decide for yourself.
Let’s start with a brief synopsis. Naturally, the film takes place in 2049, quite a few years after the first Blade Runner installment. It’s a dystopian and post-apocalyptic future where regular humans use replicants or artificially engineered humans for different types of work. Ryan Gosling plays a blade runner and replicant named “K” who hunts down rogue replicants. The environment has a troubled past. Many years ago, there was a replicant uprising that was put down. There was also a global blackout that lasted for several days and wiped out the world’s technological data. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) figured out a way to create food sources during the blackout, preventing a global famine. He also created a newer and more obedient version of replicants, including K. Along the way, there’s a mysterious phenomenon that will ultimately pit humans and replicants against each other.
I want to give a thorough list of the film’s positive elements. The new Blade Runner movie has quite a few components that are worthy of praise. First, it fits thematically with the first Blade Runner film. The new timeline feels organic, makes sense, and doesn’t feel out of place. It builds off themes, plot points, and characters from the first movie. I’m glad 2049 felt like a real Blade Runner film.
Second, I thought Ryan Gosling was an excellent lead character. He seems to fit in both worlds. You can tell that he’s a replicant. Something about him is simply different than regular people. He’s naturally less emotional than a regular human, but this situation becomes challenged later in the film. Over time, he becomes more humanized. Ryan Gosling is also a great action star. It’s completely believable that he can be an awesome blade runner. For those of you who are big fans of Ryan Gosling, go see this movie! He’s easy on the eyes and a convincing performer. I also thought Sylvia Hoeks was interesting as Luv. She’s another replicant and Wallace’s henchman. Luv is a combination of the classic noir femme fatale and the modern action diva. I thought the concept of her character was a bit fascinating.
The cinematography and visual effects are stunning. I can’t say enough good things about it. Even though the environment has a dark, dystopian element, it’s also very beautiful and haunting. In some ways, it’s very futuristic. But the world building also has a retro element because it takes influences from the original Blade Runner film. The audience gets a fabulous idea of the environment because the cinematography and visual effects are so impressive.
I suppose 2049 is a combination of sci-fi noir and cyberpunk. It tends to lean more toward the noir component. I appreciate Denis Villeneuve’s effort to make a very stylized film. It’s dark and depressing with the intrigue of noir. This movie also explores some of the technological elements from the cyberpunk genre. I enjoy both of these elements, so it was a win for me.
Overall, 2049 is a truly interesting movie. The story is a mystery with a lot of subtleties, but it’s not confusing. You’ll see a lot of questions and ambiguity through the story. However, it works in the film’s basic context. This movie is not boring at all, despite running for two hours and forty-four minutes. Something always turns up and the story reveals new plot points in surprisingly logical ways. It’s much less confusing than the original Blade Runner film. Most of the elements actually make sense, even if it seems odd sometimes. Villeneuve keeps the plot simple instead of convoluting it with bizarre and confusing surprises. Blade Runner 2049 rides the cusp of two worlds. It’s a blockbuster science fiction movie and an art house film at the same time. Simply amazing.
Blade Runner 2049 is very thought provoking. You’ll see humans, replicants, and artificial intelligence interacting with each other. The film pulls many contemporary issues from real society and applies it to the story. What’s the difference between humans and replicants? Are replicants humans too? Can replicants have a soul? You might build quite a few questions during the film. I guess you could say 2049 is a healthy dose of brain candy. K has an artificial girlfriend named Joi and she’s basically a hologram or computer program. The movie plays with the concept of “fake people” and how they affect us. I thought it was a nice touch because people need to be more aware of this problem in real life.
That doesn’t mean the film is perfect. I definitely have a bone to pick with certain elements. What about Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard? He’s not a particularly big character. If you’re a huge fan of Harrison Ford, this film will seem disappointing. I also thought Jared Leto’s character was underutilized. He’s the main antagonist, but his role was very sparse. I thought it was an odd choice. Some of the other characters seem bland and insignificant. Aside from K, this film isn’t a great case study for characterization.
I didn’t feel bored, but the movie was definitely too long. It’s nearly three hours long. The length just wasn’t necessary for the plot. Everything could fit in two hours and fifteen minutes pretty easily. 2049 also needed more action scenes. I thought this film was going to be an exciting sci-fi epic. Unfortunately, the action scenes are few and far between. More action could also break up some of the stagnant portions. I think it would improve the overall flow.
Here's another issue I had with the film. Basically, I didn’t like the way a particular character was treated from the original film. We waited a long time for a Blade Runner sequel. One of the characters from the first movie should have been very significant in 2049. But the character was little more than a sound bite. It was disappointing and anticlimactic. If you see the new film, this part will become clear. I just don't want to give any spoilers, so it's going to be vague in my review.
This movie is trying to set up a trilogy. In fact, we might see multiple Blade Runner sequels. I have mixed feelings about that situation. It’s fine to make more installments if the quality is good. 2049 was fantastic in many ways, but the franchise’s integrity might go downhill if producers, directors, and screenwriters want to make bigger money. There needs to be an overarching plot between all of the Blade Runner films. I’m not sure if we’ll see that type of connection if they make a lot of sequels. Time will tell.
That’s the end of my review. Do I recommend you to see the new Blade Runner film in theaters? It depends. I think diehard fans of the original movie should definitely see it. 2049 should also appeal to big fans of science fiction in general. Some people might not want to sit through a three hour movie. I think the action movie crowd will feel disappointed. Please don’t bring children to this film. It has graphic violence and sexual content. If you’re going to see this movie, I suggest visiting a theater with a huge screen, crystal clear resolution, and Dolby Atmos surround sound. An IMAX theater would be perfect. It’s a breathtaking experience. Have you seen Blade Runner 2049 yet? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought. Thanks for reading my review and I promise to give you another cool post next week.
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