Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto.
Plot: Continuing the story of Bladerunner, It’s the year 2049 and Replicants are now integrated into society thanks to the creation of the subservient Nexus 8. Tasked hunting down the remaining rouge replicants, a Bladerunner makes a discovery that could change everything.
The original 1982 Blade Runner is a masterpiece, one of the greatest science fiction movies ever committed to celluloid with a fanbase that speak of it with a reverence and adulation befitting of an all-time classic. When the announcement was made that a sequel was in the works, a mix of excitement & apprehension spread throughout the internet like wildfire, can a sequel even hold a candle to such a respected original?
With Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve has created something really quite remarkable, a science fiction sequel that is more than capable of sitting alongside its predecessor whilst also courting mainstream critical success. As with the original, Blade Runner 2049 is an astoundingly beautiful film. From the vibrant neon hue of LA to the washed out desolation of Las Vegas, it really is visually stunning, achingly so, I can not stress that enough. It looks like a Blade runner movie. The score, provided by Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch is stunning and a worthy counterpart to the Vangelis original even dropping in a few cues from his score into the mix for fan pleasing effect. In IMAX it throbs and pulses in all the right places and totally immerses you in the world Villeneuve is creating. Yup, it sounds like a Blade runner movie too. I think it’s important to add at this point that this isn’t some facsimile of Ridley Scott’s film, there are stylistic similarities but 2049 can most certainly stand on its own merits. There is a slight issue with pacing in the opening hour or so of the film and some scenes do drag out a little longer than needed add to the already bulging run time but this is really one of the few things I can criticise the film for.
Blade Runner 2049 has some great performances under its belt. Ryan Gosling carries the main role of K with a deft hand and nuance that makes him a believable & likeable lead to carry us through the film’s considerable runtime and his onscreen romance with Ana de Armas’s hologram Joi, a sentient Siri if you will, is touching, warm and oddly real considering the artificiality at the heart of their union. Sylvia Hoek’s replicant enforcer Luv was another high point of the film, her intense and often terrifying delivery harks back to the reps of the original Blade Runner, a glimmer of Pris, a dollop of Leon but enough of her own contribution to avoid being pastiche. Harrison Ford delivers one of the best dramatic performances he has given in years, he is on fire in this film. He may turn up a little over half way through its running time but makes up for it in droves
Blade Runner 2049 has secured it place easily in the upper rings of my Top 10 of the year. Definitely in my Top 5, possibly Top 3, its that damn good! It tips it’s hat to the original without copying too many of its beats, it dazzles and beguiles with its peerless visual flare and feeds the noggin with some of the most intelligent science fiction in years. Is it better than Blade Runner? Of course not, that was never going to happen. Is it an immensely strong, damn near perfect companion piece? Your darn tootin it is. See this film ASAP, thank me later.