An Arguing With Myself Review: Blade Runner 2049
The year is 2049. K (Ryan Gosling), a blade runner with the LAPD, makes a discovery of a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for thirty years.
Thirty-five years is a long stretch to have a sequel to a franchise, let alone a single film. Especially, if that film is one of the most influential in sci-fi, like…EVER. When I heard they were making a follow up, I waved my fist into the air and cursed all involved. You know, like any good fanboy.
To be honest, I don’t know why these things upset me. “If it’s bad, don’t see it”, should be my motto. It’s not always the case. But when I heard Ridley Scott was going to oversee the sequel as a producer and Denis Villeneuve was going to direct, my butt was already in that seat. With, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival as Mr. Villeneuve’s previous films? That is an impressive resumé. I was assured it was in capable hands.
Prior to seeing 2049, I was going to watch the original to refamiliarize myself but wasn’t sure which version to see. It had been years since I’ve watched it and couldn’t tell you which version I saw. There are several cuts of Blade Runner. How many, you may ask? Seven. So, as you can imagine, I scrapped THAT idea and chose to go into it with only my basic memories of it. And guess what? That’s all you need. There are nods, references and a character appearance or two from the original film. In fact, 2049 is an expansion of the original film. At times, it felt like there wasn’t much of a gap in the years between the two. Films like The Force Awakens offer less story originality and rely heavily on fan service and nostalgia while 2049 goes a different route and gives us a completely new story, and lets that do the talking. This film has the makings of a classic on it’s own.
2049 impressed me. It’s as simple as that. With the music, it felt like a remixed version of the original score. Haunting, lush and devastating at times. It reminded me of Hans Zimmer’s bellows in Inception. The acting is what you’d come to expect from those involved. Gosling knows how to act broadly with minimal expression. Robin Wright is K’s superior at the LAPD, who plays a tough but helpful partner. Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is the manufacturer of the new breed of replicants. One of which, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), is his right-hand that will do whatever it takes to get information needed. Don’t be fooled by the advertisements, Mr. Ford’s not as prominent in this film as the promotional material lets on. When on screen, though, he brings his usual gruff and seasoned professionalism we’ve come to enjoy. This film has a runtime of 2 hours and 44 minutes. Without the the fine acting and beautiful visuals, it could’ve dragged. Despite that, I wanted more. I’m probably alone in that respect. My love for sci-fi makes it difficult for me to decide where 2049 ranks among my favorites. What I can say, with all certainty, this is by far one of the best in its genre.