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Blade Runner 2049


Year Of Release
Denis Villeneuve
Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin
Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
Roger A. Deakins
Joe Walker
Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer
Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis and Lennie James
With Dave Bautista
And Jared Leto
Replicants are bioengineered humans, designed by Tyrell corporation for use off-world. Their enhanced strength made them ideal slave labor.
After a series of violent rebellions, their manufacture became prohibited and Tyrell Corp went bankrupt.
The collapse of ecosystems in the mid 2020s led to the rise of the industrialist Niander Wallace, whose mastery of synthetic farming averted famine.
Wallace acquired the remains of Tyrell Corp and created a new line of replicants who obey.
Many older model replicants - Nexus 8s with open-ended lifespans - survived.
They are hunted down and 'retired'.
Those that hunt them still go by the name...

Blade Runner


Blade Runner is a classic, and one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. Combining real storytelling and some of the greatest effects ever put on screen, and an absolute masterpiece by Ridley Scott, surpassing even Alien in his genius... a follow-up, especially in today's climate of overly used CGI and pretty much all big-budget movies have little to no actual soul, the word "wary" doesn't come close to my concerns.
But, (and this is a controversial opinion) Ridley Scott is inconsistent at best.
He makes either a masterpiece, or mediocre movies.

So, my second thought after my initial worry, was that not having Scott as the director or producer, or even the writer, was probably a good thing.
And, I said this in my previous review of Dune about Villeneuve, if anyone could do it, it was probably him.

2049 didn't disappoint.

But, ok, there's a couple things wrong with the movie... and the first being that it's kinda linear.
There's nothing really that will change anything in the industry in terms of the storytelling.
It's a pretty simple ABC, 123 set of circumstances that lead to the ending.

Another thing, is that it relies too often on twists.
The twist about K's identity, the twist behind the bones found in the box, the twist of who "the child" is, the twist that Deckard is still around with the question as to whether he's a replicant or not still unanswered... the twist of Luv's abilities that are different to other replicants, the twist of who Mariette actually is... etc, etc.

It feels as though the movie is trying to throw as many curveballs as possible amongst that ABC, 123 screenplay.
It makes the scenes and acts feel a little unconnected at times. Like, it goes ABC, 123, curveball... ABC, 123, curveball... ABC, 123, curveball...

A couple twists here and there are good, but almost every character having one, it gets a little off-putting.

Another thing I think marred the movie, is that Ford's return as Deckard was spoiled by the trailers and marketing.
Like with Dune, Villeneuve's marketing team needs a bit of an overhaul.

The good thing/s though... it's not complicated to follow as it chops and changes between the various twists, and I like that.
A movie with so many turns could have been impossible to make sense of, but they managed to make it simple enough to just sit and watch it all unfold as it goes along.
The other thing I like, are the small touches that throw-back to the original movie.
Small soundbites, some nostalgic photography, the fact that the movie has some genuine scope to it with some of the shots across the sprawling cityscapes and farming areas, and the junkyard that seemingly goes from horizon to horizon that's filled with scavengers and an orphanage.

The piano key was a nice touch as well, becoming a throw-away set-up and pay-off in the 3rd act.
As too is Sapper Morton's initial speech to K about miracles and the relationship between K and Joi, and I absolutely loved the way that Luv and Wallace react to each other.
The background of the movie as well is also packed with little details and touches of real-world trinkets and a sort of "lived-in artistry".
It's those little touches and overlooked details that make 2049 like the original movie that was packed with tiny details and organic, world building touches.
The atmosphere is there as well with rainy scenes, dirty streets, the weather effects adding depth to scenes, though the movie isn't quite as "smoky" as the original, which is something that always bothered me a little with the original with all the steam and smoke in every scene.

I also didn't mind that this movie is driven by a MacGuffin, in this case "the child".
K's purpose is to find it, the entire plot revolves around it, because his/her very existence could, ahem, "break the world".

The other thing I loved about the movie, is the useage of actual sets combined with CGI only when it was needed, and the touches of practical effects as well.
The CGI also doesn't disappoint either. The aesthetic is akin to the original movie (which used processing and camera trickery), with the addition of the in-universe tech being more advanced.
I think the weakest piece of CGI, is the de-aged Sean Young. I wasn't fooled I'm afraid. It looked ok, but there was something not quite right with it.

But, the only way I can think to put the whole aesthetic is that it's both fresh and new, but also recognisable as Blade Runner, at the same time.
Bravo, filmmakers.

The acting is solid too throughout.
Gosling as K is perfect.
De Armas as Joi is also stunning.

Ford returning as Deckard though is a bit hit and miss. He's not exactly playing Deckard, he's playing Harrison Ford. Kinda the same way he did with Han Solo in the Star Wars sequels.

The standout for me though, is Jared Leto as Wallace.
Damn this guy is menacing.
Full of mystery and intrigue, eccentricity, wonder, broiling anger almost at times too.
Hard to believe this is the same actor that gave us Joker and Morbius.

All in All, visually brilliant, and a story and screenplay that has a few twists and turns, but easy to follow... though again like Dune, nothing that will change the movie industry.

Nostalgic to an extent, and does new things with the in-universe lore at the same time.

Apart from too many twists, some of which are kind of throw-away, it's up there with some of the greatest sequels of all time.
It's not exactly Godfather: Part II, or say, Aliens or T2, but it's definitely up there because it did the impossible; successfully following Blade Runner.

I think the highest rating I've seen on online sites is 87%...
My rating: Just pips the 90s at 91%.