It seems that almost every big movie as of late is a reboot, remake, prequel, sequel, or spin-off … so it is only fitting that we get Blade Runner 2049. I will admit that I last saw the first movie over 10 years ago and do not recall which cut it was. I enjoyed it, but did not find it that ground breaking or Roy Batty’s quote that iconic. In an effort to get somewhat caught up, I watched the 3 shorts that fill in the time between the original and the sequel … which ended up being unnecessary. The friend I went with had not seen the original, so I gave him the elevator pitch for it to catch him up. In my opinion, Blade Runner 2049 is a fairly stand alone movie and doesn’t rely on the original. So how does it rate?
I would give it 7 “androids dating holograms” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
LAPD officer / blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) is one of the new models of replicants charged with hunting down the last model. After retiring Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), he discovers a skeleton from a replicant that shows signs of birth. Since the knowledge of this could cause mass chaos, Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) charges K with finding the baby and erase it with any evidence of its existence. The manufacturer of the new model of replicants, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), learns of this and wants to solve the mystery as well. Soon everything points to a former blade runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
The world from the original Blade Runner is vastly expanded in the sequel. The technology seems organic to the first and there is constantly eye candy on screen. The dynamic between humans and replicants is fantastic and also gets compounded on thanks to the replicant to replicant dynamic. It definitely piqued my interest and would watch more things based in that universe – which for those of you that didn’t know, Soldier starring Kurt Russell is also included.
I will also say that Ryan Gosling was amazing in this role. His acting was phenomenal and one of the best performances I have seen all year.
My biggest issue was the length of the movie. I didn’t realize how long it was until a few minutes before it started and was floored by the 2.75 hour run time. There weren’t a lot of unnecessary scenes or bad pacing, it was just too long. If there had been more action of some sort, it would have been more tolerable. This would have made for a fantastic miniseries for television and would have potentially benefited from more time to let the plot points breathe a little more.
Blade Runner 2049 is one of the better sci-fi movies this year. Fantastic acting and an amazing environment make it memorable and easy to watch … but the length is a giant deterrent. It also furthers my desire to see Dave Bautistia make it big outside of Guardians of the Galaxy and bit pieces. If you liked the first, then you should thoroughly enjoy this addition. If you didn’t see the first, but like the genre then you should watch it. It is a spectacle and worth seeing in theaters if you have any interest at all.
An obvious recommendation is Denis Villeneuve’s prior sci-fi movie: Arrival. While Blade Runner 2049 got a little heady and tried to be too philosophical, Arrival was a smart movie. The more you pay attention and quicker you figure out the key to the plot, the more you enjoy the movie. It is part alien movie, part time travel movie, part linguistic lesson, and completely stunning visually. It stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner with several other notable stars, and is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.