It’s been over thirty years since the original Blade Runner and nobody would have ever thought that we’d get a sequel. And yet here we are. And acclaimed Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve who is a big fan of the original is directing this film.
Blade Runner takes place in 2049, in a dystopian Los Angeles, where Agent K (Ryan Gosling) begins searching for Deckard (Harrison Ford) who has been missing for thirty years and uncovers a conspiracy that could change everything forever.
Denis Villeneuve has rapidly climbed from independent filmmaking to one of the best directors in Hollywood and in Blade Runner 2049 he knocks it again out of the park. This is a great sequel, to a classic original film that could have ruined what Ridley Scott made all those years ago. But it doesn’t. It expands the universe and it’s a beautiful companion piece to that original film.
Denis Villeneuve directs this film with care and with attention to detail. The world feels exactly the same than in the original film, other than the fact that this takes place 30 years after, so the technology has progressed in a naturel way. The film is also like the first one, beautifully shot and incredibly immersive. The cinematography by Roger Dekens is absolutely stunning in every way and every scene in this film is a work of art.
Ryan Gosling is great as K and he’s fairly developed even though we don’t know much about his past but all we need to know is that he is a blade runner and like Deckard was in the original film, is fairly good at what he does. He also falls in love with a replicant model that are designed to pleasure their clients.
Harrison Ford is also great in this film and gives one of the best performances in years. He’s a broken man here and he’s evolved as a character since we last saw him at the end of the original movie. His chemistry with Gosling is absolutely fantastic and the best part of this movie. Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Dave Batista, Edward James Almos (also returning from the first film along with Ford) are all terrific and all have a purpose and role to play even though some of them (Jared Leto) have extremely limited screen time.
Some critics are hailing this movie as a masterpiece like the original and while I think this is a great film and a worthy sequel, to me this is not quite a masterpiece since I have a few qualms with the length and the script which brings me to some of my negatives.
The film is too long. Denis Villeneuve could have gotten the point across with twenty minutes (or more) shaved off this film and it would have been just as effective, or even more. The long runtime of this film is kind of a bitch and it takes too long to get introduced to Deckard. The runtime of the original was perfect and it went straight through the point.
And there is also a problem I have with the final act; something is brought up and is left unresolved. Now, this could mean a lot of things. This could mean that we could get a sequel. Or that this things didn’t matter in the long run. But it seemed fairly important to the plot but I felt like they we’re introduced fairly late in the game. (I will expand on this in the spoiler filled review).
The sound was also off. The soundtrack wasn’t as impactful or as memorable as the first film and the sound was constantly way too loud. Some characters are also a bit underused and some are overused. I would have liked to have seen more Harrison Ford, Jared Leto and Robin Wright, but the story is more centered around Ryan Gosling’s character and the woman assassin Luv, which could have been replaced by Jared Leto’s character and the movie would have been no different. I would have loved to have seen a face off moment between Leto and K and Deckard, but that moment never came.
This is a tough film to review on a first viewing since there is a lot to absorb in the 2h40 minute runtime. I admire Villeneuve that this is a pure Blade Runner sequel and this movie is not made to please the mass audience. They could have made this movie more action oriented and it wasn’t which was great. And not everything is answered from the first film, which I was also extremely pleased with. Some things are left to your interpretation just like in the original movie and there are call backs, but very few of them and the film doesn’t rely on nostalgia.
Overall, Blade Runner is a worthy sequel to the original, and is beautifully shot, incredibly well acted, has great cinematography and is a satisfying film all in it’s own, despite it’s long runtime.