Blade Runner 2049 is the long-awaited sequel to the 1982 sci-fi noir Blade Runner a film that was based on Philip K. Dicks short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is the film a masterpiece as many critics are claiming?
The quick answer to that question is no. However, please don’t think that the movie is a bad one, far from it. It, like its predecessor, is a deeply thought-provoking movie and asks many questions of what it means to be human. And like its predecessor, it’s also a noir, beautiful to look at but at times some scenes can drag.
We are first introduced to K, a Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling who plays the part well. If you don’t know what a Blade Runner is this trailer to the first film explains all –
Now back to 2049. 30 years have passed since the events of the first movie and a lot has changed in the world. New types of obedient Replicants have been manufactured by the creepy Wallace (Jared Leto), the environment has collapsed, a cataclysmic event known as the BlackOut occurred at some point as well as some sort of nuclear attack that has resulted in ash falls over LA and a seemingly radioactive Las Vegas. In other words, the planet is pretty messed up, which has caused humanity to colonise other planets. It’s these colonies where the Replicants are used as slave labour a fact that Jared Leto’s character has no problem with. In fact he wants to be able to create millions more replicants so that we can colonise the whole galaxy.
The technology on display is fantastic and believable too. From self-flying cars to holographic companions this is a world that you can imagine being a reality. The film is absolutely beautiful to look at with a surprising amount of bright colours, from the neon holographic adverts to the vast LA cityscapes the movie is a visual treat.
K (Gosling) is also a Blade Runner who whilst hunting a Replicant stumbled upon something that could change the balance of power between humanity and Replicant. I won’t give away the plot as its definitely a movie to go into with open eyes and little knowledge. The trailers did a great job of keeping most of the major plot points a secret.
If you go into this movie expecting a fast-paced action sci-fi you will most likely be disappointed. There are action scenes in it that are really well done when they do occur but the time you have to wait in between can be very long. Some scenes are long and drawn out, but all serve a purpose to advancing the plot and with this film being close to 3 hours in length many are sure to get a numb bum or need a toilet break before the credits roll. (Why don’t cinemas do intermissions anymore?)
Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, the Blade Runner from the first movie. (And no, we don’t get a definitive answer to that question). He appears around the 2-hour mark and Fords performance is pretty solid. I just wish he could have been in it a tad more.
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is well worth a watch if you want a movie that will make you think. It’s got plenty of twists, head scratchers and is a treat for your eyes and ears (the soundtrack is a true tribute to the originals). Be prepared for a long movie, but its one that kept my attention all the way through.