Blade Runner 2049 is an astounding film. Let’s get that out of the way. There is not a single doubt in my mind that this film is the best of what 2017 has to offer, as Denis Villeneuve succeeds in not only almost every technical aspect in making a film, but also manages to tell an eye opening and thought provocative story that strikes to the very core of your being, making you think about what it really means to be Human. From the choices we make, the memories we have, to how we choose to define ourselves, Blade Runner 2049 has it all. It’s examination on humanity is a fascinating one, and something that I look forward to dissecting in the repeat viewings to come. For now, I will be discussing my initial thoughts on the film and avoiding any plot points, so no need to worry about spoilers of any sort. The film should be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the characters or story of Blade Runner 2049. That being said, let’s get started.
Blade Runner 2049, taking place 30 years after the original film ended, focuses on new Blade Runner Officer K (Ryan Gosling) and his assignment from the LAPD that leads to a massive conspiracy that K must unravel and solve, revolving around Deckard (Harrison Ford) from the previous Blade Runner film. That is all that you need to know. The film wastes no time in getting its story started, which is surprising given its 2 hours and 44-minute runtime. The world Villeneuve seeks to create isn’t one that rides off what made the original Blade Runner work so well, rather, he builds his own world with a small basis off of the original. The imagination and creativity put into the production design in this film is extremely evident, as the world of Blade Runner 2049 is richly imagined and well executed and adds all the more realistic feeling to the film. As Officer K roams the streets of a dystopian Los Angeles, the film gives off a sense of wonder and realism that drives you that much deeper into the story. From holographic music performances from long dead legends, to simple advertisements on billboards, the world of Blade Runner 2049 is one that is realized to its fullest.
This sense of wonder you get from the film isn’t from set design alone, but from the cinematography as well. Roger Deakins is in a league of his own, as the cinematography in Blade Runner 2049 is some of the best that I have ever seen. Each shot has meaning, and the lighting and color pallet of each individual scene that takes place in the film are all so beautiful to watch unfold. The camera work is steady and smooth, as each scene flows so well with each other, like pieces of a puzzle fitting together perfectly, with each scene being a piece of the puzzle to show a beautiful picture. After 13 nominations and zero wins, it’s about time cinematographer Roger Deakins gets his much-deserved Oscar, and no film shows that better than Blade Runner 2049, thanks to its sleek look and use of shadows and color editing to give the film the neo-noir tone that it needs, akin to that of the original Blade Runner.
To match its complex story and beautiful cinematography, Blade Runner 2049 teams up composers Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch to deliver the forceful and powerful score of the film. Not ignoring the past but also not entirely relying on it (much like the overall aesthetic of the film) Zimmer & Wallfisch make some seriously emotional music for this film. Though not over abundant during most of the film, the score shows up when it counts and drivers a further emotional punch to the gut whenever the music cue does come up in certain parts of the film. It feels very much like a Blade Runner score, and honors the brilliant score that Vangelis composed in 1982. This is one of the more memorable movie scores from 2017 and one of the few that really made an impact on the emotional tone of the film and story as a whole.
The entire cast of Blade Runner 2049 is what takes the entire film to a whole other level. Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto all bring the very best to their performances. Gosling and Ford especially give their all, and the dedication to the characters they are portraying is phenomenal. Each character and their interactions with one another are so intimate with fantastic dialogue making each scene being more complex and thought provoking than the other. The situations that these characters are put in, whether replicant or human, drives the big question home about what it means to be human, and what exactly it is that makes us human. Longing for meaning in our life and why we exist in this world are complex and intimate questions, and Blade Runner 2049 isn’t afraid to address them with the equally complex story it aims to tell. Although the story is complex, the audience is mostly given several cues as to what direction the story is taking, making it easy to follow along to. With the original Blade Runner having morally ambiguous characters during its film, providing good thought and conversation regarding motives and characters, Blade Runner 2049 is very clear black and white on who is the antagonist and who is the protagonist, providing a less of a moral quandary for the audience than the original film, although that is not much of a complaint.
Blade Runner 2049 is an astounding film, as said in the beginning of my review. It’s only been a few hours since I saw the film but it’s already clearly evident to me that this film was more than just another movie for me, It was an experience. If a film manages to leave me with thoughts about humanity and thinking about what we all really long for as individual people, then it clearly did its job in getting it’s point across in the story. While some people may debate on whether someone is a replicant or not, the question you should really be asking is, What’s the difference? — Ernesto Valenzuela
GRADE – 10/10
Blade Runner 2049 is Now Playing
Blade Runner 2049 -Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.