A review of ‘Blade Runner 2049’

Director:  Denis Villeneuve

Cast:  Ryan Gosling (K), Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Ana de Armas (Joi), Sylvia Hoeks (Luv), Robin Wright (Lt. Joshi), Jared Leto (Niander Wallace)

When thinking about my top science fiction movies of all time, there are two Hollywood science fiction films that appear near the top. One of those is last year’s Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve. The other is Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner. So naturally the hype train has been pretty high, even more so for myself than most people, I’m sure. This is especially true since I’m also a huge fan of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novel for which the first movie was very loosely based. Thankfully, the hype train didn’t go off the side of a bridge. It paid dividends and this movie is every bit as good as the first.

This is most obvious in Roger Deakin’s cinematography. This may be his best work to date, looking like a cross between the original movie and his previous film with Villeneuve (Sicario). And that is in no way a bad thing. It’s just beautiful to look at all around. However, this movie is far more than a beautiful piece of cinema.  There’s some truly great acting involved with Harrison Ford doing one of his best performances ever. I honestly feel he should get award recognition this year.

And then, there’s the story. I’m not going to discuss the plot in great detail, but I will say the trailer only portrays the tip of the iceberg. At most, there’s probably about five or ten percent of the plot revealed. Also, as a fan of Philip K. Dick, I appreciate how this movie made the world seem more like something he would have written. One of the scenes in the novel that didn’t make it into the original movie was reworked this time around. If you know the novel, you’ll recognize the scene when it gets there.

Overall, I can’t think of anything negative I would say about Blade Runner 2049.  Not only did it respect the original movie, but it unified the tones of both Ridley Scott and Philip K. Dick. This alone makes it a movie that I can’t help but revere. Earlier, I referred to the two Hollywood science fiction films I ranked high among my favorite films ever in the genre. Now, they have company because Blade Runner 2049 deserves to be mentioned in the same breadth.

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