Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Movie Review: "Blade Runner 2049" (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 43 minutes

Blade Runner 'K' is sent on a special mission to ensure that certain information, including details which would bring down society, never comes to light.

When the original "Blade Runner" was released 35 years ago, it was a box office flop and was not very well received by audiences. Over the years and through multiple incarnations of the material, it has come to be recognized as a sci-fi masterpiece and has developed quite the devout following. It has gone on to influence countless other films in the genre. Now, more than three decades later, fans have finally gotten a sequel, "Blade Runner 2049," with a story by Hampton Francher, a writer on the original "Blade Runner." It is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who is known for films like "Sicario," "Arrival," and "Prisoners." Harrison Ford does return to reprise his role as Deckard, though he is no longer the focus of the feature. That honor falls to Ryan Gosling, who plays a young Blade Runner named 'K.' Much like previous people in his position, K's job is to retire replicants, or artificial humans, particularly older model replicants that were not as compliant as the newer models. While on a mission to retire one of these older models, K makes a discovery that will change their entire society should this information be brought to light. From there, he is sent on a mission by his commanding officer, Lieutenant Joshi, played by Robin Wright, to round up all of the evidence and to make sure that no one will ever be able to discover the truth.

It's really hard to talk about this film without spoiling things. If you have seen the trailer/s for "Blade Runner 2049," you will know they keep most plot details fairly vague. We will try our best to do the same. What we can talk about is the visuals, which are absolutely stunning. Cinematographer Roger Deakins has really shot a tremendously gorgeous movie. In fact, we don't think we've seen a more beautiful looking film this year. Deakins has yet to win an Oscar for his colossal body of work, so we hope the Academy will rectify this come next year's awards ceremony. His use of color and light, the art direction, and costumes are all downright amazing and beautiful. They really make the film as effective as it is. The acting is excellent from everyone involved. Ryan Gosling is great in just about everything he has done lately, and he and Harrison Ford have some wonderful moments when they do finally meet up in the film. Another standout is Sylvia Hoeks, who plays Luv. Hoeks is a scene stealer, and though we don't want to spoil anything about her character, be on the lookout for her. We hope to see her in more movies from here on out.

That being said, this feature is quite long, clocking in at 2 hours and 44 minutes. The pacing is deliberately methodical with its long establishing shots, which allow the audience to take in the film's beauty and memorizing visuals. This also means the story doesn't exactly move along quickly. The story also is a pretty straightforward neo-noir detective movie. The narrative explores the same themes as the original without expanding on them too terribly much, and the entire story is far less ambiguous, especially in its climax. Though Denis Villeneuve does a stellar job in making this sequel really feel like a "Blade Runner" movie that nestles itself right alongside the original and expands the "Blade Runner" universe, its overarching themes are a little too "been there, done that" for us. "Blade Runner 2049" will definitely benefit from multiple viewings on the biggest screen possible, so we look forward to watching it again in the future.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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