Blade Runner 2049 (Review) – A Sequel That Surpasses The Original

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

Blade Runner 2049 is a science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Jared Leto, Lennie James, Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling. This film is a sequel to the cult classic Blade Runner and it is set thirty years after the events of the original film.

The story focuses on K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant blade runner who discovers the remains of a once-pregnant replicant; Rachael (Sean Young). K must fulfil his mission to find the child and eradicate all evidence related to it. This eventually leads him to discover that the child is linked to missing blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

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My Knowledge and Expectation of Blade Runner 2049

I must make a confession. Up until a couple of weeks before its release, Blade Runner 2049 was not a film that I was desperately craving to see. This was down to one reason; I had never seen Blade Runner in its entirety. Consequently, l lacked both the emotional connection that many film fanatics have for the original and the anticipation for the sequel. I knew I had to watch The Final Cut of Blade Runner before I watched Blade Runner 2049.

Ryan Gosling as K in Blade Runner 2049

So, five days before I was going to see Blade Runner 2049, I watched Blade Runner and, while I do not see it as a masterpiece, I liked the film. This was especially true of the cinematography and the score which were fantastic. Still, what prevented me from loving the film was a story that, to me, lacked a little bit of purpose and a relationship between Deckard and Rachael that I did not buy.

I did believe that, if I liked Blade Runner 2049, then it could potentially improve my opinion and appreciation of Blade Runner. Moreover, it is unlikely that a better director could have been picked to helm this film in the form of Denis Villeneuve. Certainly, he is quickly becoming one of the best directors that is working in the film industry today and he is building an impressive filmography. Indeed, Sicario was arguably the best film that I saw in 2015 and Prisoners was a great film that really left an impact on me.

Still, while Villeneuve is an extremely talented director, he has made films which fell below the lofty standards that Sicario and Prisoners established. For instance, while I liked Arrival, I came to eventually feel that it was a bit overrated and I did not like Enemy at all. Still, despite this, Villeneuve has done enough brilliant work with Sicario and Prisoners to make me extremely confident that he would do a tremendous job with Blade Runner 2049.

Ana De Armas as Joi in Blade Runner 2049

Additionally, he had an extremely talented cast to work with. Certainly, Harrison Ford is a legendary actor and Robin Wright has more than proven herself to be an accomplished actress both in films and television. Both Jared Leto and Ryan Gosling have also impressed me as actors. Leto was brilliant in Dallas Buyers Club and Ryan Gosling made all the headlines with his role in La La Land.

Yet, it was in films such as Drive, The Ides of March and The Big Short where Gosling really impressed me as an actor. With all of this in mind, I had a lot of hope that Blade Runner 2049 would be a great cinematic experience. I also took the time to watch the three short films that were released prior to the release of Blade Runner 2049 and I thought they were all very enjoyable and interesting. I was sure that they would elevate my appreciation of Blade Runner 2049.

My Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a phenomenal film and it accomplished a very difficult feat in being a sequel that surpasses the original. Truly, this is a near-flawless film which equals the best aspects of Blade Runner and improves on others. I mentioned above how the cinematography and the score in Blade Runner really impressed me. The same can be said for Blade Runner 2049. This film is a visual masterpiece that perfectly captures the essence of the lived-in world that was established in Blade Runner.

Dave Bautista as Sapper Morton in Blade Runner 2049

Every shot is so beautifully crafted and artistic that Roger Deakins, the cinematographer, is an absolute lock to get an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. I will go even further than that. If Deakins does not win the Oscar for this film after being nominated thirteen times, then there truly is no justice in this world. Hans Zimmer also delivers a great score for Blade Runner 2049 that recaptured what made the music that Vangelis composed for Blade Runner so brilliant.

Across the board, the performances in Blade Runner 2049 are amazing. No one took me out of the film with poor acting. Leto, Gosling, Armas, Ford, Bautista, Wright, Hoeks; they all delivered. I have been very impressed by how far Dave Bautista has come as an actor and, in his short role in this film, he gave a performance with a lot of depth. I really want to see him in many more films in the future because I think he will get better and better as time goes on.

Ryan Gosling gives a great performance as the lead character and continues to go from strength to strength as an actor. I hope that the performances given by Ana De Armas and Sylvia Hoeks are breakout performances that propel these two into stardom. I had seen little of these actresses before this film and they were big surprises. They were very captivating in their roles.

Farm set on fire in Blade Runner 2049

Another surprise was how little Harrison Ford’s role in Blade Runner 2049 was. Indeed, Harrison Ford was only in the third act of the film which threw me off guard. I was kind of expecting Blade Runner 2049 to rely on Ford for a good majority of its run-time but, in the end, I was perfectly happy with the role he played. He was brilliant when he was on screen and the smaller role that he had allowed the other cast members to shine.

As I said, the whole cast were great and helped to tell the story in this film that itself was a perfect continuation of Blade Runner. The premise of Blade Runner 2049 was fantastic. I had no idea about the plot of this film before seeing it which made the revelations that occurred throughout this film very impactful and shocking.

The premise of this film as well as the surprising revelations were huge factors in why I was much more connected to the story in Blade Runner 2049 than I was in Blade Runner. I was enthralled and engaged with this story from beginning to end and I would say that the strength of the story in this film is the main reason why I believe that Blade Runner 2049 is a better film than Blade Runner.

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049

Still, as much as I have praised Blade Runner 2049 and stated that it is a near-flawless film, I have some minor issues. For one, while I was enthralled with this film from a story perspective, I do feel that this film could have been trimmed by 5-10 minutes as some scenes did go on for a bit longer than they needed too.

Yet, my issue with that was always negated by the fact that I was also enthralled from a visual perspective. I never got bored while watching this film as there was always something for me to admire. Another small issue that I have is that there was no scene in Blade Runner 2049 as memorable or iconic as the “tears in rain” monologue that was delivered by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner.

However, Blade Runner 2049 is a consistently better film than Blade Runner so that was not a big deal. Watching this film was a wonderful cinematic experience. It is competing with Wind River as being the best film that I have seen so far in 2017 and it is competing with Sicario in regards of being my favourite film directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Ana De Armas as Joi and Ryan Gosling as K in Blade Runner 2049

I would be stunned if this film does not get a bunch of nominations at the Oscars. Surely, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography nominations are forthcoming? This film is brilliant and I hope that you get to experience Blade Runner 2049 where it deserves to be seen; on the big screen.

You can also find this review at my blog theturnertalks.com.

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

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