Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas

A Blade Runner tasked with hunting old model Replicants comes across the shocking revelation that a Replicant may have given birth.

Needless to say, I was in the camp that was highly skeptical of this film to say the least. I didn't see much need for a sequel and given how much Hollywood's been screwing up old franchises that they've dug up, I wasn't expecting much of anything at all. However, positive word of mouth managed to warm me up to the idea and I finally went to the theater to give it a shot. And let me tell you, I'm glad I did. Much as with The Force Awakens (and, yes, I know the film has its detractors, but I'm not one of them), this proves an example of a decades-later sequel done right. I remember in the trailers seeing Ryan Gosling's lifeless expression and just taking him for a wooden actor or phoning it in, but it quickly becomes clear that it's very much plot relevant (and I think it's no big reveal to say that his character is a Replicant) and the character does grow over the course of the film. I liked most of the cast, but I'll give specific nods to Ana de Armas as K's AI girlfriend Joi, Robin Wright as K's superior Lieutenant Joshi, Sylvia Hoeks as the big bad's right hand woman Luv, and Jared Leto as god complexing madman Wallace. The art direction is top notch, not only replicating the world of the first film but developing it further with the in-story ecological deterioration. Similarly, the score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch weaves in elements of Vangelis' iconic music to add to the overall sense that this is an organic extension of the story. I talk a lot about the connections to the original, but I honestly think this could stand on its own, though the experience is greatly magnified by familiarity with the original. There are some good twists along the way and some intriguing themes explored. I know the film hasn't been doing that great at the box office, which is a shame because work this good ought to be rewarded. Maybe they can make up lost ground on the video circuit. If you're a fan of the original who's been holding off, I'd say it's worth seeing, as well as anyone with a taste for cyberpunk and stories that explore the nature of humanity. Give it a watch. Shoot, get the DVD when it comes out. Unlike the original, we apparently won't be getting a new take every few years. ^o^

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