Blade Runner 2049 Review (2017): Epic Hollywood Sci-fi Neo-Noir Sequel

Blade Runner 2049 Review (2017): Epic Hollywood Sci-fi Neo-Noir Sequel

Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to a groundbreaking, legendary, sci-fi epic film that interprets innovative worlds of the interconnected weaving of man, machines, and the vastness of space and time. The film was an ambitious attempt to replicate the original (Blade Runner). But I doubt that people grasp the understanding behind the effort and genius it takes to pull off a film like this. Also, those most benefiting from this experience would most likely be Gen Xers, serious film connoisseurs, or sci-fi fans because the first film was made in 1982.

Producers for the film are Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, and Cynthia Yorkin. Director Denis Villenueve (from Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival) captures the essence of the continuation of the original cult classic. This sequel can exist as a stand alone because scenes from the original were injected for reference purposes. And although it was long (2hrs 43 min), Blade Runner 2049 was consistent with the tone and feel of its predecessor.

Writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green created a wonderful follow up to the first film. Characters are based on the novel by Phillip K. Dick "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" This movie is definitely classified as neo-noir because of its gritty, crime- mystery dramatic feel.

In Blade Runner 2049, Officer "K" (Ryan Gosling) has been assigned by his supervisor, Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) and the LAPD to investigate the truth about a scientific phenomenon, while destroying unwanted and outdated android models. In the original, the main character, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) also was assigned to annihilate a race of androids. Deckard fell in love with an android named Rachel (Sean Young), regardless of his mission to destroy her kind.

In the sequel, Ryan Gosling does a great job as K. His quest includes finding all older model replicants of the Tyrell Corporation and destroying them. On his journey, however, he discovers that he does not even know himself. Is he man? Machine? How was he created? Every little piece of his world begins to crumble as he gets closer to the truth and what he really is. K appeared to desire bonding and connectivity, and yet he was not allowed to feel anything because of his allegiance to the LAPD.

Duty has always been the first priority of an LAPD police officer. But K finds the struggle between humanity and the technological world. I often found myself wavering in between reality and the dreamworld, too. I was asking myself who is human and who is machine? This saga begs the question of "Do machines have feelings?" And if they do….would it be murder to kill something that has been programmed and manufactured even if it has feelings or a soul? Are there replicants running around that we don’t know about…masquerading as humans? K is assigned to a case that could send the world into utter chaos, if he doesn’t find the answer ....and keep it out of the wrong hands.

Great cinematography by Roger Deakins, production design by Denis Gassner along with the art design and visual affects team. The story unfolds within vivid colors and various shadows of the garbage wastelands, in the city proper of future Los Angeles, and by the Pacific Ocean. Each scene creates endless possibility. The scoring by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch are complimentary of the film, but can be overwhelming at times.

Casting was spot on (Zsolt Csutak, Francine Maisler, Lucinda Syson. I do think that the female characters overpowered the male characters as far as the effect of roles. I loved Joi's nurtuting character and the fierceness of Luv.

They brought back some of the original cast along with other top Hollywood actors and actresses. Hollywood’s darling, Ryan Gosling was up to the challenge for this role.  I liked his character and the emotion he brought to it. And the ending finally revealed what he was looking for. A great unsuspecting ending, made the film stand out! The women did dominate this film though with performances like Ana de Armas as Joi, Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi, and Sylvia Hoeks as Luv.

There are some returning characters Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Gaff (Edward Olmos). Others included (Dave Batista) Sapper Morton, (Wood Harris) Nandez, Coco (David Dastmalchian), (Mackenzie Davis) Mariette, and Jared Let0 as Niander Wallace. I would have liked to see more interaction between Deckard, K, and Wallace.

I have to admit. The movie was slow paced in some places, which did provide a more dramatic effect. However, I felt it could have been edited down a little bit more. I love Ryan Gosling in most films. This film was decent, however; not one of his best films. I almost wondered if the film needed an intermission. You can only dangle Ryan Gosling (Hot Boy) for only so long!

Blade Runner is a visually stunning masterpiece. A wonderful fantasy full of dark and strange possibility. It makes the audience enter into a dreamlike state with visual stimulation and awe. Fascinating use of color and depth of characters. The imagined truths and the complexity of the human body and soul merged with machine. The film vacillates between worlds of reality and fantasy, embracing the bizarre.

There were deliberate moments when worlds collided. Characters striving for ultimate survival while behaving with utter brutality, yet truthfulness about the desire for human connection, innovation and power.

Searching for answers to the question about the birth of an age of renaissance, the Tyrell Corporation had been playing God for many years and wanted to expand their control over the creation process, design and outcome of both human and machine collaborations.

This film pushes boundaries on creation and there was no sympathy for the weak or rebellious. It was about ownership, identity, isolation, and self reliance.  The film provided introspection into love, desire, abandonment, greed, and power.   There were some tidbits of universal truths uttered by characters. For example. Dr. Ana Stelline (Carla Juri) explains to K that memories are necessary to connect emotion, which provides various responses. Deckard teaches K that sometimes in order to love someone you have to abandon them and let them go.

Blade Runner 2049 tells the story of an age of determination and creation, questioning life beyond boundaries. These advancements however could have the possibilities of either advancing a future society or destroying it depending on who has power. Overall, I would rate this film a 3 stars out of 4. I took half a star off because some scenes were a bit lengthy.

 

This film was distributed by Sony and Warner Brothers Pictures.

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