Review – Blade Runner: 2049
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Hampton Fancher & Michael Green
Produced by: Ridley Scott & Yale Badik
Release Date: October 5th 2017
After recently revisiting the original Blade Runner, I decided to revisit its follow up; Blade Runner: 2049, for review. Revisiting this movie was a blast, as it is probably one the greatest sequels ever produced.
First off, this movie is a feast for the eyeballs. I won’t go on about the visuals too much, as I’m sure at this point that you already well aware of how good looking this movie is, all I’ll say is this; the movie deserves to be viewed on the biggest screen possible. What is even better though, is unlike a certain Zack Snyder film, Blade Runner 2049 has more to it than just surface level, pretty visuals.
Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors working in Hollywood today. The run of movies he released between 2013 and 2017 was nothing short of astounding, beginning with Prisoners and ending with this film. Additionally, he has achieved the impossible here by managing to pull off a truly fantastic sequel to a 35 year old classic.
I love almost every part of this movie. The direction is masterful to watch, with the movie being moved along at a deliberate, purposeful pace, rather than rushing through from action scene to action scene. The sets used in the film are out of this world, some props are really cool to look at and the use of mostly practical backdrops makes a huge difference as opposed to using an abundance of green screen.
Rodger Deakins’ cinematography is utterly astonishing, you could honestly screen grab an image from any time stamp in this movie and it would work perfectly as a beautiful desktop background.
I also think that the performances are fantastic and everyone does a great job in their respective roles. Although Ford doesn’t appear until the movie’s third act, when he does he is great. Gosling commands his leading man role as we’ve come to expect him to. Robin Wright and Dave Bautista are the other standouts for me in terms of their performances.
The more technical elements of the movie work perfectly in tandem with the story being told as well. The special effects are beautifully implemented and the lighting in the movie adds a whole other layer of visual depth as well. The score also works for the tone that the movie was aiming to achieve. Additionally, the script is solid and tightly woven.
The only thing I will say is; if you were to go into the film expecting a sci-fi action blockbuster, you will come out disappointed. This is a slow paced, sci-fi noir, detective story. There are a few sparse moments of action and it does feel impactful when it occurs, but it is not the focus of the movie at all.
The one small element that bothers me in this movie is Jared Leto’s performance. He never fails to take me out of the movie and is the only cast member who doesn’t feel like a real character within this world. Maybe I’m just being biased, as Jared Leto has always annoyed me in general, but for me he is the one bad part of this near masterpiece. Thankfully he doesn’t get that much screen time, so it could have been worse. Also, the fact that David Bowie was originally cast in that role adds an extra sprinkle of salt in the wound.
Overall I love Blade Runner: 2049, but I can see why people find it somewhat divisive. For me though, the vast majority of this movie’s parts are absolutely fantastic and come together to form a journey that you must experience for yourself.
If you enjoyed Dan’s review of Blade Runner: 2049, check out what he thought of the original Blade Runner here.
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