Blade Runner 2049 review

By Cameron Karn

“Blade Runner” has been a staple in the sci-fi genre since its release in 1982. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, it had a mixed reception earning high review scores but flopping in the box office. The estimated budget for the film is approximately $28M yet it only grossed $27M before re-releases. However, the iconic cinematography and sound design solidified in the hearts of nerds everywhere making the movie a true cult-classic.

After the release of a few different variations of the original, including a director’s and final cut, the franchise laid dormant. Then in December of 2016, the announcement was made that a full blown sequel was being created by none other than Denis Villeneuve.

“Blade Runner 2049” takes place in the same universe exactly 30 years after the original. Synthetically created slave laborers called replicants inhabit the earth alongside humans, but after a violent rebellion the early, disobedient models are being hunted down. These hunters are called blade runners. Agent K played by Ryan Gosling is one of those blade runners and in the line of duty unearths a secret that if put in the wrong hands could reap devastating results.

I’ll come right out and say it. This movie is a masterpiece. “Blade Runner” is such a timeless classic that a sequel seemed almost unthinkable, yet this movie not only artistically revives the universe, but improves on it. For starters, “Blade Runner 2049” is absolutely gorgeous. The visuals and cinematography led by the legendary Roger Deakins is breathtaking. The dystopian futuristic setting immerses you in colorful lit up streets, bustling traffic, and extreme weather.

Meanwhile, you have the beautiful soundtrack of Hans Zimmer playing in the background. In many ways, the music of the original “Blade Runner” was revolutionary and wholly unique from anything else of the time. Evan Puschak from Nerdwriter said it best: “The music is baked into the DNA of the movie itself.” The sequel stays consistent on that and with the newer technology of today, even improves upon it. The synthesised reverbs give you the feeling of a vast open space adding to the dystopian atmosphere of the setting.

Then you’ve got the expert acting. Ana de Armas, Harrison Ford, and Sylvia Hoeks all have stellar performances. However, Ryan Gosling undoubtedly stole the show. You can see and feel Agent K’s emotional roller coaster though Gosling’s delivery of every line. On the other hand, Jared Leto was a disappointment for me. He is casted as the big baddy, but by the end of the movie he comes off less as evil and more as just a whack job.

The part I see most complained about is the pacing. The story progresses relatively slowly during the near three-hour film. Personally, I don’t find this to be an issue as not only will the visuals alone keep you on the edge of your seat, but there are a good amount of well acted very suspenseful scenes that keep you invested in what’s going on. On top of that, the ending will not leave you unsatisfied.

Ultimately this movie is very fitting as a sequel to “Blade Runner” and will leave you with a load of questions to chat about for hours. This film has everything that makes a good movie and I think you’ll see it again at the Academy Awards.

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