Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Starring Ryan Gosling, Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, Mark Arnold

Author

Pretty much everything that I had hoped for in a sequel. Villeneuve treated the story with reverence, paying homage to the original film and extending the story, visual style, and score with great care and creativity. A sci-fi epic.

Villeneuve is helped by a rich, deep story with nice pacing, nice reveals, and nice twists. There’s a lot going on here. I’m not sure I’ve connected all the strings, but I’m pretty sure it holds up. The intro sequence with Bautista was great, but I would have liked to see another sequence or two of K chasing down replicants. Having only one such scene seems like a missed opportunity.

Gosling is really good, playing a complicated character with ease and authenticity. It’s been decades since we saw Ford do anything truly dramatic, and it’s obvious that he took this film and his role very seriously. His performance, while one with relatively little screentime, is fantastic. How the hell did they do Rachel? The performance double and effects used were haunting and fantastic. Leto was pretty good, though I found it awkward how a character so integral to pushing the plot forward could have so little screentime. Good to see Olmos reprise the role.

As expected, the Villeneuve’s film is a visual masterpiece. From seamlessly blended CGI effects to deep color grading to heavy shadows to blinking neon lights to drops of rain smattering human skin, every frame is beautiful. LA looks like it did in the original, but this time we’re treated to wider and more impressive vistas. From Atari to Pan Am to Sony to Peugeot, the branding has remained consistent and nostalgic in this alternate universe. We also get to see and more outside of the city, with a really beautiful rendition of apocalyptic Las Vegas and some ocean scenes to make this world seem bigger. New and impressive effects include holograms, the digital make-out scene, and realistic flying car effects. Sets and costumes are detailed and impressive.

My biggest criticism might be its length. This is a long movie, and while I enjoy the leisurely pacing between action sequences, I can’t help but feel that things could have been tightened up a bit.

Will there be another? I think they could do it. At this point, the canon has been written, the story and characters are rich and deep, and there is now a clearly established visual style. Perhaps a story about the replicant revolution alluded to in this one. I suppose it depends on how much money this makes. Early indications are, not so much…

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