It’s not something that I enjoy saying, but I have grown accustomed to some of my favorite classic films getting sequels or reboots. Blade Runner was not one of those films that I thought would ever be touched. The first film was, and still is, nearly perfect. Everything about the original Bladerunner oozed greatness. Harrison Ford was riding his train to success, Ridley Scott was in his prime of film making, and this story was new and fresh.
When I saw that the Bladerunner was getting a sequel I was furious. I was constantly yelling the same questions to anyone who was unfortunate enough to listen:
“WHY A SEQUEL? THE FIRST ONE ENDED BEAUTIFULLY?”
“WHO THE HELL DOES DENNIS VILLENUEVE THINK HE IS? YOU THINK JUST BECAUSE YOU MADE A COUPLE GOOD FILMS YOU CAN TOUCH BLADE RUNNER?”
“WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH DECKARD? THEY ALREADY KILLED HAN SOLO, I SWEAR TO GOD IF THEY KILL DECKARD, I’M GONNA…”
The next ten months of teasers and trailers were some of the most stressful of my life. I criticized every little choice that they made and was never comfortable with the idea as a whole. Signing Ryan Gosling on gave me a little sigh of relief, but signing Robin Wright and even Jared Leto caused my stomach to churn. Ten months and ten million complaints later, I made it to the theater, and it was…
Easily one of the best films I have seen all year.
The first Blade Runner was one, if not the most, beautiful sci-fi movie of it’s time. Blade Runner 2049 continues that trend. I don’t know what it is about a dark dystopian future that pleases me so much. Maybe its the sleek and unique architecture, or the bright neon signs flashing across the cityscape, or the giant sex statues. Whatever it is, Bladerunner 2049 delivers.
I love how 2049 becomes a different movie in itself. Not only does it continue the story of Deckard and Rachel but it does so in a way that you barely notice until the end. You spend most of the movie focused on our new protagonist, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), and his fight with himself and the laws placed around him. For two hours and forty-five minutes I was on the edge of my seat trying to get ahead of the plot, and I consistently fell short.
Forget The Notebook, forget Drive, and forget La La Land, this is probably Ryan Gosling’s best performance. Unlike his previous performances he brings a new level of masculinity and mystery to his character. No longer he is just the poster boy for sex. I am now convinced that this man can act. As Officer K he brings this mystery to a character that is much more complex than our original Deckard. His fight scenes are powerful but also weak, and you are constantly left wondering where he stands or questioning who he is. His interactions with other characters are usually short, but they are meaningful. With the only exception being his, very life-like, hologram girlfriend. Whose interactions often seem hollow and awkward.
Although Officer K is by far the greatest part of the film, the side characters do well in their respective roles. Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace delivers on the weird roles that we are used to with Jared Leto but with a new flair. Think Tyrell from the first film, but creepier, more powerful, and slightly more handsome. Robin Wright’s Lt. Joshi is the definition of a static character, but she performs it well. Her scenes with Officer K left me questioning my morals while trying to understand what is right. Do you remember the clinically insane Replicant Roy from the first film? Did you ever think someone could be worse than him? Wait until you meet Luv, Wallace’s right hand Replicant.
One of my biggest fears, obviously, was continuing the story of one of my favorite movie protagonists. Killing off Deckard was not an option and I was curious to see what his fate would become. Without ruining any of the plot, let’s just say Deckard delivers, in a way you won’t see coming.
If I had to recommend Blade Runner 2049 right now, I would give it 4.5 out of 5 Replicants.
Please go see the film and stay tuned for my full review of the movie coming soon.