In the year 2049, new replicants and humans coexist in a master-slave society. The latest Blade Runner, Agent K (Ryan Gosling) is uncovering a conspiracy behind his job eventually roping an aged Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) along the way.
The sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult classic had a lot to live up to and not just because there are five versions of the first movie. But director Denis Villenevue brings the same grand scale from Arrival and suspenseful tone from Sicario to create a near masterpiece of an epic that’s becoming an endangered species.
Right from the opening acrophobic angles the world is expanded upon with every digital and practical tool serving a purpose: Something George Lucas could’ve taken notes on had the Star Wars prequels spent more time in the oven. Yet the spirit remains unchanged right down to Atari still dominating the entertainment industry. With all the larger than life CGI, there’s still a sense of practical realism bellow the holograms and glowing apartments. On the flip side every gunshot and explosion shatters the sound waves for ten miles round that it can blast a human to the moon. Action scenes shine despite drowning in pitch black shadows and there’s a different dominant color in every new setting, almost like a live-action remake of Wall-E. There hasn’t been anything like this for a long time and just living in it feels like a day at the spa for the eyes.
At the request of the director to not give away anything that isn’t in the trailers, the material makes this one of the best sequels ever made with a quiet atmosphere for an action spectacle. The story and themes aren’t rebooted to market another trilogy for the sake of money, but a long awaited progression into the world like 2017’s Samurai Jack revival. Ryan Gosling is perfect with what he has to work with and of course Harrison Ford brings his A game even after 30 years down the line. With all that said it does ask for too much patience when shuffling in at three hours. The pacing grinds and takes forever to get going like a stubborn mule, which happened in the original, but because it was new it could take time to build the world. Here it feels like the style and substance are fighting over who gets to drive the experience. But it could be worse. It could be another u.
After years of other media taking inspiration from the pioneer, Blade Runner 2049 still stands out among the crowd as if 1982 never left. Die hard fans will be more than pleased that this wants to be more its own story and not just nostalgic fumes. It’s hard to say what newcomers will think since sequels require some knowledge of the past. Whatever the case, be sure to fill up on half a gallon of coffee to keep up with the long run time and pacing. And to the members of the academy, consider this to potentially secure an Oscar for legendary cinematographer, Roger Deakins. His long awaited award has eluded him to the point where he’s becoming the new DiCaprio.
Pros: Glass shattering sound, quiet atmosphere, flashy fights, worthy sequel material, lead actors
Cons: Way too slow, way too long