‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017, 15)

Is ‘Blade Runner 2049’ a spectacular sci-fi sequel, or is it a film better left ‘retired’?

Set thirty years after the events of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi epic, “Blade Runner”, this sequel follows Blade Runner, K (Ryan Gosling), as a routine retirement of a humanoid robot, a Replicant, gone rogue turns into a story of twists and turns that leads the Blade Runner on a journey leading to one man — former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

In terms of spectacle, “2049” does live up to its predecessor; it features many of the long, swooping shots displaying the dystopian, cyber-punk landscape that made the original “Blade Runner” so memorable (and so long!). That leads me onto the next point: this is not a short film. Clocking in at 2 hours 43 minutes, this is definitely a film you’ll have to spend an afternoon on. However, despite the film’s length, I always felt as if something was going on, even though the film has a fairly slow pace compared to its action-movie contemporaries.

Yes, much like its predecessor, “2049” is slow. Yet, unlike the 1982 classic, this film isn’t all dialogue and detective work, building up to the epic and memorable “tears in the rain” scene at the very end of the film. ‘2049″ has excitement right from the start, opening with a fist-fight between K (Gosling) and Sapper Morton (David Bautista). I must say, I felt Gosling performed very well in the film and gave a very convincing performance, as did the rest of the cast.

One thing I did like about “2049” was the plot. It linked to the original but wasn’t just a blatant copy, and even though it was a continuation of 1982’s “Blade Runner”, the characters and world was different enough to set it apart. This was not a re-boot, but nor was it the same film just with different characters — it was a whole new movie, and one that I liked. When I first heard that Dennis Villeneuve, the man behind one of my all-time favourites, “Arrival”, was making “2049” I knew the film would be good. He hasn’t disappointed.

To go with the plot and cast is an epic score courtesy of the musical genius Hans Zimmer. The blaring horn-style music is reminiscent of Vangelis’ iconic score in the original, yet different enough to signify that “2049” isn’t just a remake. I must admit, I was starting to get a little muddled towards the end of the film with the blaring score, the rising tension and the stunning visuals, but maybe that was just me getting lost in the awe of the film.

The original “Blade Runner” is a cult classic, some people love it, some people are indifferent. I feel as though “2049” took all that was good about the original — the setting, the score, the deep, philosophical questions, the visuals — and added to it something else — an extra kick, if you will, to make this sequel as good, if not better, than its predecessor. For that, “Blade Runner 2049” deserves an eight-out-of-ten.

 

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