So I finally got around to seeing Blade Runner 2049 on Saturday.
(Newsflash: I don’t rush out and see any movie on opening weekend anymore. Which meant my wife and I were among a group of eight souls in the entire theatre. It was gloriously devoid of people on their cell phones, talking during the movie, etc.)
I was, and still am, a huge fan of the original 1982 Blade Runner. This sequel, while quite good, came up short by comparison. The original was darker, holding to that theme even during the rare daylit shots. Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty was the most interesting character in the film, followed by Edward James Olmos’s Gaff and finally Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard.
The sequel tried to get the same feel, but failed. Perhaps that can be attributed to the recent glut of dystopian films.
Now, as to the storyline itself (WARNING! BEYOND HERE LAY SOME SPOILERS!!!):
Three decades later and there are still Blade Runners at work. Instead of chasing down Replicants (skin jobs) with four-year long lifespans, they are now hunting Nexus models with no preset termination date looming over their heads. There’s even a skin job working as a Blade Runner.
Officer K (Ryan Gosling) uncovers a mystery (nope, you don’t get all of the spoilers – you’ll have to watch the film) that could rock the established social structure between natural born humans and the replicants they have created.
K sets out to solve the mystery and begins to wonder if he is more deeply entwined within the mystery as he uncovers each new piece of the puzzle. Outside forces are watching his every move – his boss Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright), the mysterious Freysa (Hiam Abbass) and Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) – as his search leads him to the self-exiled Deckard in the remains of Las Vegas.
If you’re wondering what became of Rachel during the 30 years that passed between the two films or what happens after K finds Deckard you are just going to have to go see the movie or wait for the DVD (nope, don’t do Blu-Ray either) to come out.
I will say that the most interesting character in this film is the one that doesn’t physically exist. Joi, played by Ana de Armas, is K’s “Rachel” but with a unique difference and she was the Roy Batty of this film.
Gossling does a great job portraying K and Ford was every bit as much Deckard now as he was in the original.
I still think Scott’s original was better than Denis Villeneuve’s sequel – as with Arrival, Villeneuve makes a great sci-fi film that just misses being a spectacular classic – but Blade Runner 2049 is a film worth watching.
And although nothing has been said – at least that I have heard – another sequel seems to have been established by the way this film ended.
If there is any single critical point against the film it would be its length. At two hours and 45 minutes long, it was approaching Dances With Wolves level butt numbness, an effect not helped by the 15 minutes of movie previews that came before the film began. A little tighter editing – maybe cutting the gratuitous scenes of nothing but nude females (both living and gigantic statuary) and the strange scene where Leto’s Wallace guts and kills a just “born” replicant after a monologue/data dump that could have easily been handled elsewhere and in much less screen time – could have cut that down.
So we’ll give it a solid 4 out of 5 and definitely purchase the DVD to add to the collection.