Blade Runner 2049
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, Carla Juri and Sylvia Hoeks
Run Time: 2h 43min
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
4 1/2 out of 5 Frames
By: Shari K. Green
‘Blade Runner 2049’ is long on narration and glorious on creation. It’s an absolutely, beautifully made film. The splendor is in watching it all take place before you on a giant screen from the opening credits straight through to those that bring up the house lights. I was hopeful going in that it could live up to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, ‘Blade Runner’ but it did more than that… it, in some ways, surpassed it. What director Denis Villeneuve had that Scott’s didn’t was a special ingredient that makes the film explode off the screen and into the faces of its audience and that special ingredient is the cinematography performed by Mr. Roger Deakins. His previous work is remarkable and Blade Runner 2049 is no exception. He has been the Director of Photography for The Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men, Doubt, True Grit, Skyfall and Sicario to name but only a few. He has been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, has won many others and this year it’s not inconceivable to think he’ll finally be taking a gold statue home for his exceptional work here. Director, Villeneuve, himself, is a gifted director, directing some big pictures of late such as Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival which had several Oscar nominations, as well, including Best Achievement in Directing and winning Best Achievement in Sound Editing. With all the talent behind this wonderful film and all the talent in front of it, you may wonder if it can live up to the hype… I’m here to assure you that it overwhelmingly does.
Outside of all the talent that makes this film slightly better than Scott’s there are the years that have elapsed between the two. Those are to be considered as technology has caught up to what Ridley Scott was unable to do, however, all things considered, what he accomplished in the original is mind-boggling. He took us into the life of an ex-police officer named Deckard (Ford) who hunted renegade Replicants, (bioengineered beings running from the law) to “retire” them and for a brief time, we lived within it. With spectacular design, graphics, music and special effects, which was way ahead of its time, you were amazed and any mystified by what he offered. Though you may love the thought of seeing the original itself remade now and can imagine how magnificent it would look… it’s actually quite awe-inspiring to think of what he was able to envision and pull off without the software of today.
Which brings us to the talent in front of the screen. Blade Runner was absolutely soaking in it! Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh and Daryl Hannah sent the sci-fi fans out of this world. These actors were irreplaceable in their characters and with Blade Runner 2049, you’ll feel the exact same way. Ryan Gosling is sensational as our new Blade Runner, officer K, who is now doing the job of retiring or destroying, all the older Nexus models made by Tyrell. Most of the newer models are used as slaves, some like it but most don’t. As I mentioned, there are many reasons you’ll appreciate this version so much. Dave Bautista plays replicant who finds beauty where there is none. His character isn’t around long but his performance will stay with you throughout the story as it unfolds. It’s magnificent.
He and the others are such a big part of why you need to make sure you’re in the theatre this weekend. It’s the passion that each character holds. Not only does every single actor play their parts to the hilt, but where their characters are coming from is so ingrained in their faces you’ll believe you’re living in another time; amongst them. Maybe you’ll even question the human beings behind the counter passing you popcorn… are they real or are they slaves made by the new Tyrell, Wallace (Leto), who helped save the world after the ‘blackout.’ On the subject of talent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the true intensity comes from the females in the cast. Ana de Armas as Joi is unforgettable. Robin Wright as K’s boss, Lieutenant Joshi, is strong and believable. Carla Juri as Dr. Ana Stelline is mesmerizing and Sylvia Hoeks as Wallace’s ruthless employee, Luv, is staggeringly brutal and vicious.
K and Lieutenant Joshi discover something hidden in the backyard of a replicant he retires and though I won’t reveal its contents, it’s something Wallace wants more than anything. His frightening and unforgiving representative Luv, (think Yul Brenner’s Gunslinger in the 1973 film Westworld) will stop at nothing to get it for him. I must reiterate that her performance will blow you away.
Without telling you more about the story, I encourage you to see Blade Runner 2049. Perhaps it could have been a little bit shorter but it doesn’t hurt anything that it’s the length it is. The graphics are out of this world and a piece of music you’ll recognize from the first film leaps at your body during one scene and sends you off into flight. Exactly what you needed and were expecting a piece of art such as this to do. A world that rarely sees nature, trees and grass are long buried under layers of concrete and steel, is better sold by the music that accompanies such exquisite cinematography and this film outdoes the first score even though you thought that it was impossible to do so. As I’ve laid it out to you, every piece needed to make this a science fiction masterpiece is in place and the music being made by Benjamin Wallfisch (It, Dunkirk) and Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, The Dark Knight, Inception) is just the icing on the cake.