Revisiting the material concerning a classic science fiction film decades later like Blade Runner is always a tough task for studios and directors to take on. So much time has passed creating expectations which are hard to overcome and reproducing the vibe and style of the work is tough to replicate. The new sequel Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford reprising his role Rick Deckard manages to recapture all the elements from the first film that made it so unique for its time and is a worthy companion piece to the 1982 futuristic masterpiece.
Without spoiling any pivotal plot points and there are many, Blade Runner 2049 follows a LAPD officer nicknamed “K” who is still hunting down rogue replicants three decades after the events of the first film. Gosling continues his streak of diverse roles as the officer who begins to unravel a mystery that could literally change the course of humanity and the world. There are plenty of other interesting characters in the film from the second sequel starts, but this movie is Gosling’s vehicle and he carries the film with a subtle, yet emotional performance at times.
Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) manages to clone director Ridley Scott’s original vision, while still making the film his own with his thought-provoking ideas. Blade Runner 2049 looks like a shiny new version of the 1982 film with its dreary industrial look, electronic score and a future where replicants still have a place in society for better or worse. The world in Blade Runner 2049 feels like a glimpse into the future with corporations relying on machines for business and pleasure with the artificial intelligence becoming more human with every new update. The film introduces some new technology to the franchise, but also gives plenty of easter eggs that harken back to the first film.
Just like the first movie, Blade Runner 2049 has an unorthodox pace for the sci-fi genre and can be a slow burn at times with a running time of 2 hours and 43 minutes. Director Denis Villeneuve has created a film that challenges you and doesn’t always give you all the answers one usually desires for closure. The Arrival director wants you to think about the ideas being discussed long after the credits have rolled. Blade Runner 2049 stands on its own so it’s not necessary to see the first film, but it will definitely enhance and prepare you for the experience if you have. This stylish and science fiction think piece will surely polarize certain audience members, but all that discussion and varying opinions after viewing is what made the original a cult classic and the same scenario will probably play out again with Blade Runner 2049.
Overall, I give Blade Runner 2049 3.25 out of 4 stars.
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