FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Blade Runner 2049” which stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Lars and the Real Girl), Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, Unbreakable), Ana de Armas (Hands of Stone, War Dogs), Sylvia Hoeks (The Best Offer, Whatever Happens), Jared Leto (Suicide Squad, Dallas Buyers Club), Harrison Ford (Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope, Blade Runner), Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Halt and Catch Fire [TV series]), Hiam Abbass (The Visitor, Inheritance), and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre). It was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Enemies), while the screenplay was written by Hampton Fancher (The Minus Man, The Mighty Quinn) and Michael Green (Logan, Alien: Covenant). Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner named ‘K’ (Gosling) follows a trail of clues leading to a major discovery that could turn the world on its head; on the path lies a worn Rick Deckard (Ford), who has what K is looking for.
And now we jump back into “Blade Runner.” As you all should know, I am both deeply confused and fascinated at the concept of this sci-fi classic. This is primarily due to its popularity in the first place. I get it, the film was revolutionary for its time, however with odd direction and a dream-like plot, its hard to fully grasp its so-called “greatness” without feeling like the odd man out. I’ve seen “Blade Runner” twice; both the theatrical and final cut release. No matter the change-up in representation I still couldn’t come to a great conclusion with the flick. That is, until I sat down to “Blade Runner 2049.” To be perfectly clear, I had high expectations for this release. Regardless of my opinion of the first feature, I was still fascinated with the world Ridley Scott created and its hidden messages that lied within its cracks. When word came out of a follow-up I was intrigued, and the trailer only cemented my desire to see it. Of course, I didn’t get to see it in theaters, but last night I finally sat down to view it. What one needs to understand is how much of a stand-alone this film actually is. Harrison Ford may be on the posters and in the trailer, but Rick Deckard doesn’t even show up until the back-end of the second act. “Blade Runner 2049” is strictly a film that studies humanity; both what it’s like to be human and to yearn for the freedom that comes attached to it. Thirty years after the events of “Blade Runner,” replicants are still utilized in new models, the old ones being retired by blade runners. Ryan Gosling’s ‘K’ is a blade runner, yet struggles with an inner realization that he may be more than just a replicant. Like it’s predecessor, “Blade Runner 2049” weaves through many themes, revelations, and ideas. Most of them are on a sub-level not even brought to life in the plot line. For nearly three hours, we are taken on a journey that should turn the gears in our heads and bring us into several deep thoughts that are fun to play around with. To make a long story short, I loved “Blade Runner 2049,” and thought it was far superior to the original. The story is more cohesive yet intricate, the cinematography is immaculate, the performances are fantastic, and the score retains all the glory that Vangelis gifted us in the original (kudos to the masterful Hans Zimmer). Though it stretched to almost three hours in length, I enjoyed the long journey as it was one of self-discovery and mystery. The pacing was consistent for the most part, and as the story progressed it got better and better. Probably the best part of this release was its design and cinematography. This is a beautiful film, without question; just watch the trailers and see for yourself. If there’s one thing Denis Villeneuve is known for, its his knack for visuals. There’s so much involved in each shot that tells it’s own story, and serves as the icing to the cake of such an engaging plot. The story itself was interesting. Sure, it may have been slightly predictable and tend to roam around a bit too far, but overall it was very well-written. The performances brought the characters home, and even though it was another “replicants are people” story like the original, it capitalized. I felt more emotion and gravitas from this tale that really hit the topic on the head. It’s as if the final moments between Deckard and Roy Batty from “Blade Runner” were fully realized and made into a movie, which loops me back to my first point. At first, I thought “Blade Runner 2049” was really good, but as I finished it and thought more upon it, I found it to be great. So much so that I am slowly liking the original more, and that’s all due to the enriching story that is carved out in this new feature. Villeneuve and his team did a wonderful job in recreating the essence of the original “Blade Runner,” while at the same time building upon it to make the world the way it was supposed to be viewed. It’s more cohesive, engaging, and beautiful to watch unfold, and I’m sure that with age and more viewings, I’ll grow to like it more than I already do. Besides moments of predictability and excessive nudity, I’d say that “Blade Runner 2049” is certainly one of the best sci-fi films to come out in a while. FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: