Worthy Successor: Blade Runner 2049 Has The Makings Of A Masterpiece
Makings of a classic (No Spoilers)
I had to go find the original Blade Runner movie in order to get myself reacquainted with the Blade Runner universe. I watched the original Blade Runner movie in the 90s and as a kid back then, there’s no way I could have possessed enough knowledge and understanding to follow grasp what I was watching. Nevertheless, I found it to be a fascinating movie at the time.
After the announcements and trailers for the new Blade Runner 2049 movie, I was ready to see what this new movie had in store. I mean, this trailer is so good!
So after watching the movie a couple of days ago, here’s my review and impressions. My fair warning to movie goers: Go watch the original Blade Runner movie. Or at least read about it. You can have an enjoyable movie experience without seeing the first movie but you will have more questions than answers at the end of the movie.
Here’s a little background to the Blade Runner: In the Blade Runner universe, there are Androids, also known as Replicants. They look and act entirely like humans. These are not your typical “Androids” as you never really see any mechanical parts or any hint that you’re looking at a robot. In the first movie, the Tyrell cooperation created these Replicants which all have a four year span and live “off-world”, possibly doing exploration for humanity’s survival. In the first movie, four replicas came to Earth, hoping to try and extend their life. Harrison Ford’s character, Rick Deckard, is a “Blade Runner”. His job is to “retire” and kill these Replicants.
The first movie ends with Deckard killing off all the replicants but running off with a female Replicant named Rachel. At the end of the first movie, audiences find out that Deckard himself is a replicant and has seemingly “fallen in love” with Rachel.
In the new movie’s squeal, Ryan Gosling’s character is a new replicant model named “K” who is hunting down rogue Replicas. The Tyrell Corporation is gone from the first movie and now Jared Leto’s character “Wallace” is creating new and improved Replicants. After the events of the first movie, Replicants were outlawed but Wallace managed to convince people that his new Replicants were better.
Here’s a short film about featuring Jared Leto’s character “Wallace” and a bit of backstory about outlawing replicants:
Slow Pace, Great Cinematography, Awesome Score
I’m going to tell you this right off the bat: Blade Runner 2049 moves slow. It’s a 2 hr 30 min movie. There are great scenes and great shows of the scale of the city. There’s good dialogue as well as good character development. No character is wasted and everyone has his/her part to play. If you watch the trailer, you get a glimpse of Harrison Ford’s character but he doesn’t even appear until the last act of the movie.
And can we talk about the music score for this movie. My goodness! Hans Zimmer is a god! Hans Zimmer’s movie scores are the type which make movies “breathe” and actually affect your music during some scenes in the movie. If you’ve watched movies like “Inception” or “Interstellar”, you would know what I’m talking about. Brilliant soundtrack.
Man Vs Machine
I’m intentionally leaving in spoilers from this movie but I will touch on the movie’s key theme which revolves around Android evolution. Humans have built Androids to be “self-aware” but they are still somewhat subservient to humans. Ryan Gosling’s character “K” is a replicant working for the LA Police Department but the police officers don’t respect him because he’s not human. His commanding officer played by Robin Wright just gives his orders and has seemingly no consideration for his feelings.
K basically has no social life but does have an hologram “girlfriend” played by Ana de Armas.
K’s motives change when he discovers a box on a farm with replicant remains and discovers a possible scenario which may forever change the relationship between humans and replicants.
The question that the movie does ask is whether these “replicants” should be be allowed to evolve to the point of wanting to live their own destinies and not wanting to be “slaves” to humans?
Wallace (Jared Leto) wants to create more replicants and use them to further the existence of humanity but he’s limited. The discovery of these replicant remains may provide a solution to further expanding his replicant force.
Not For The Average Movie Goer?
It’s fair to ask this question: Is this movie for the average movie goer?
If you haven’t watched the original Blade Runner or are not into sci-fi movies, this movie might be a bore for you and might even go over your head. This is not a movie you go watch for explosions and simple dialogue. It’s complex. There are a twists and great character development.
Plus, it’s 2 hr 30 mins long. The pacing is deliberately slow. After the first initial twist of the movie, it could catch your attention but can you keep following for the eventual pay off in the end?
Jarod Leto shows a great acting performance as Wallace. If there is another Blade Runner movie, it would be great for him to reprise his role a Wallace. In fact, all characters are great.
I don’t think this movie is for everyone. If you haven’t seen the first one, I would recommend you watch it so you can properly understand the backstory and appreciate the sequel. Blade Runner 2049 has a very “Matrix-y” vibe especially because of the whole Man Vs Machine theme.
I liked it. This movie actually makes me want to watch it again. That’s how much I like it.
If you’re a sci-fi fan and you look dystopian movies like this and you’re a Blade Runner fan, then you should watch this movie.
If you’re none of the above but have an open mind about movies and can sit through 2 hrs of great storytelling and cinematography, go watch this movie.