Blade Runner 2049 is finally here, and it did not disappoint. This sequel to the 1982 film arrives 35 years later and takes place 30 years after the events of the original. It follows a new Blade Runner (played by Ryan Gosling) who, after “retiring” a Replicant named Sapper Morton discovers the bones of an old Replicant, revealed to have died in childbirth. While investigating, he comes upon Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), an old Blade Runner.
Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner is possibly the best science fiction film ever made. It was a no-brainer that the new film was going to look phenomenal, but would it fall into style over substance? Denis Villeneuve proved he could get sci-fi right with last year’s Arrival, starring Amy Adams, and he still manages to get everything right here. The original film is a dark, dreary look at the future society. 2049 has that look, but it doesn’t suffer from over-the-top bleakness. There are vibrant environments, wonderful cityscapes. There are holograms literally dancing off of the sides of buildings, surrounded by the people below. This is a beautiful-looking film, and it proves to be just as great as its predecessor in many ways.
No spoilers of course, but the film’s pacing and the way the story flows is masterful. Each scene transitions to the next in a way that makes it feel like a complete story, a vision remarkably put forth in the most imaginative of ways. The visual flair is astonishingly realistic, from the sharp-looking backgrounds to the smaller, more intricate details. The acting is also very strong, with an Oscar-worthy performance from Gosling, and a noteworthy performance from Ana de Armas. Harrison Ford isn’t in the film as much as one may initially think, but his reprising of Deckard’s role is still good, while not as charismatic (a no-brainer).
The psychological intensity is high. You must go in expecting nothing. It’s also probably best to know what happened thirty years prior to the events of this film. The story plays out perfectly, but be warned-this film is not for the faint of heart. There are brutal, disturbing, and shocking moments. However, the characters and visuals more than keep you engaged with the story.
Not only one of the best sequels ever made, but one of the greatest film-making achievements, Blade Runner 2049 succeeds on every level, from the stellar direction to the mind-blowing visual effects, to the phenomenally written and cohesive story. It’s the best film of the year and equally as good as its predecessor. I’m going to give it an A+.
Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto. Directed by Denis Villeneuve.