Blade Runner 2049: A Review

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*SPOILERS AHEAD. BEWARE YE BRAVE SOUL.*

Blade Runner 2049 was one the unanimous must see movies since the beginning of 2017. As someone who did not watch the original 1982 cult classic, this movie was marketed so strong that before I went to see this movie, I went to the old iTunes and rented Blade Runner. My quick two minute review can be found in the most recent episode of the podcast which you can listen here, but to be quick I liked the concept and even a movie that’s 35 years old I enjoyed it for what it was. Would I rewatch it? No, probably not, however it was a movie I feel like I did need to see at some point regardless of the sequel.

2049 was a different experience than its predecessor. From start to end it was a movie that kept me focused on what is going on and brought me into the world of LA in the year 2049. I usually judge a movie I see in the theaters on how many times I take a quick peak at my phone to check text or the time. I only happened to check it once as the film was wrapping up. A easy to follow plot, characters I ultimately did care about, decent action sequences, and *HOT TAKE ALERT* the best visuals I have seen in a movie ever.

Denis Villenuve directed this film to perfection. It’s hard to think the guy who made Arrival and Prisoners would make a bad movie, but I think he went above and beyond. The CGI in this movie is crisp and realistic, the cinematography from the beginning was so good, use of lighting and color in certain scenes is just masterful. On top of that the use of sound and score made scenes throughout the movie so much more important and better. I thought Dunkirk was the movie to beat when it comes to score this year, but man did this movie blow it out of the water. It took some of the classic portions of the OG Blade Runner, and added some flare that really meshed well with the film. When Oscar season comes around I truly believe that 2049 will get some looks in the visual and audio categories, and a win should come from one of these categories.

Now for the plot of the Movie. I won’t be breaking down every scene because I think its best to see this movie for yourself, but some quick hits are coming at you. Ryan Gosling pretty much steps into the role of Harrison Ford from the original and is a Blade Runner (a cop hunting old dangerous replicants called Nexus 8s) and stumbles across a mystery that could start a revolution. He finds out there was a Nexus 8 replicant that actually gave birth, which could cause replicants to realize now with the ability to reproduce could overthrow humans. Gosling then is tasked to find and retire (kill) the birthed replicant. Meanwhile, crazy blind man Jared Leto who bought the original replicant company from the original movie is also trying to find this replicant to study him as he’s having issues keeping up with the demand for replicants. Leto sends his head female replicant to find the child and bring it to him. I’m not going to go further as this post will just become a long read.

Character performances are definitely a stand out. I think Ryan Gosling is probably a top 5 actor going right now, and his best roles are when he’s cold and expressionless throughout, similar to Drive. His arching plot with his case and his relationship with his AI really make his performance stand out. Harrison Ford, albeit has a very small screen time appearance as he only comes into play around the third act, does his best and looks like he cares like he did in Star Wars. Leto was his usual crazy self that I’ve come to know and accept. Is there an Oscar winning performance amongst the crew? No, but I won’t be surprised if it did. Gosling might get a nomination but I don’t see him winning.

My only complaint in this movie, and it seems to be something that a lot of people are vocalizing as well, is the runtime of the movie. 2 hours and 45 minutes is a long time to be in a theater, there is no doubt about it. 2049 is well paced enough to keep it from feeling very drawn out, but there are a couple of scenes that I personally would cut out. It would still be a long movie (probably clocking in at around the 2 and a half hour mark), however the final version kept it moving for the length of it. Runtime is unanimously affecting the revenue from its opening weekend ($31.5 Million). Weekend projections had it at around the $50 million mark, and to see that the actual number couldn’t come within a good estimate of that is really questionable. A film runtime of over 3 hours is surely daunting to say the least, but the quality of 2049 makes it worth it for fans of movies.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 lived up to the hype it was given since the sequel was announced, and in my opinion was one of the best movie theater experiences of 2017. Fans of the original 1982 film and really fans of film should see this movie either at your local theater or Blu-Ray and having a good TV & soundbar to enhance it. This so far will probably end up being tied with Dunkirk for second best movie of 2017 (Last Jedi first overall, duh. Check out my review of the trailer.)

Score: 96/100

 

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