Blade Runner 2049 Review

Studio: Warner Brothers/Sony/Columbia Pictures

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Review: ★★★★☆

I hope to god that you got to the movies this weekend. I truly do. I hope you saw this one coming. I hope you didn’t pass this off as a second-hand sequel. I bet your thinking I liked this movie. It’s simply a masterpiece of modern film making. Do you think I’m pushing the bar too high here? I don’t think so. I loved the film. I believe that after 35 years Blade Runner has returned to the theaters with beautiful poetry.

What makes me tout the film so highly? It’s a visual feast to the eyes. Every scene is beautiful. The simple scenes might be minimal, but lit with just the perfect lighting to make you feel like you’re in the room. The city scapes resonate very well with its predecessor. It looks like a city from the original Blade Runner, but one that has aged in just the correct fashion. The design has the post apocalyptic look that we have seen in other science fiction movies like The Fifth Element or Jupiter Ascending, just minus aliens of course. Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins shoot the film with grace and quality that will last a life time. Almost every scene is alive in one form or another.

From the beginning of the story we are clear about Ryan Gosling’s character in the movie. He is a Blade Runner with special attributes that make him dangerous and excellent at his job. The best part about his story is how deeply involved  his story is with the much larger plot. The first Blade Runner had Deckard chasing the replicants around and trying to retire them. In the process Deckard’s life is turned around by Rachel. 2049 turns out to be a fantastic mystery that will continue to keep you guessing. It also has us asking the tough questions about if we have a soul and what that really means? It’s brilliant plot device that I don’t want to ruin here but it has you guessing throughout the story. Actress Ana de Armas adds to the character’s humanity as the plot unfolds.

Ryan Gosling does a fantastic job. He is believable. The character is vulnerable and more importantly more down to earth then you would imagine. You can see his resolve when the plot becomes clearer to him. It’s a solid performance worth a second appreciation at any point in time. Harrison Ford is always a welcome sight in any movie. His return as Deckard could easily be an excellent nod the Oscar voters. We know Harrison is old at this point, but Ford shows us what the years have done to the character and everything he has had to live with over the last 28 years. It also answers that long not so sure answer about Rick Deckard. Jared Leto, David Bautista and Robin Wright join the cast to add to the value of the experience. Edward James Olmos also returns as Gaff.

The film overall is a fantastic experience, one that I would recommend watching in the IMAX format. The visuals, sound effects and soundtrack immerse the viewer in this dystopian world that doesn’t have to justify itself to anyone. It feels real and it’s one of the best escapist films in years. It’s been said that you shouldn’t need to see the previous Blade Runner to enjoy this film, but I disagree. The relationship between Deckard and Rachel plays heavily in 2049. It would be nice to see both films back to back. If there is to be another Blade Runner film made, I hope it doesn’t take another 35 year to get here.

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