By Jack Tecca, Contributor
[Warner Bros; 2017]
A journey to dystopian Los Angeles has never been more dark or intriguing. Since its release last Friday, the new installment in the Blade Runner series has received much praise from critics, and yet has not done very well at the box office. The most reasonable explanation for this is the plot seems somewhat distant for people who had not seen the first Blade Runner. Director Denis Villenueve creates a compelling new narrative while preserving what made the first installment so captivating.
This picture has many positive components to talk about. For instance, the cinematography and set design in the film is absolutely breathtaking. From the slums of Los Angeles to the barren sands of Las Vegas, the audience is pulled in by the contrast of bright neon and dark as well as the quick cuts and brutality during action sequences. The central theme of this set of movies is also very interesting at its core. Basically, it’s a quest to understand what it means to be a human being, as well as understand our relationship with a “creator.” This is evident in both films, such as when Roy confronts Dr. Tyrell in the original and when Neander Wallace (Jared Leto) has an encounter with a newly awakened replicant.
A lot of nostalgic moments are present in this film that fans of the old movie will appreciate, like the reappearance of Harrison Ford as Officer Rick Deckerd. Deckerd’s loose cannon persona, complimented by Ryan Gosling’s cold and calculated performance as Officer K, make for an interesting on-screen chemistry. Finally, the audience will appreciate that this film didn’t attempt to be something that it was not originally. The first Blade Runner was most definitely a neo-noir film, with a lot of interesting relationships between characters and using action only when it was important to the plot. The writer for the sequel was afraid that the franchise would sell out and replace a compelling story with loads of action in order to please the masses. But instead the action sequences were placed at perfect times and kept the pace up fairly well. In short, many positive components are evident in Blade Runner: 2049.
While there are many good things this movie did, there are a few setbacks as well. The movie seems longer than it should be, and it feels a little slow at times – The new film actually tacks on an extra 45 minutes from the original. Also, some of the characters introduced in the movie did not properly developed to the audiences liking. The leader of the replicant resistance seemed as if she was going to play an important role, but was never really brought through again in the movie. Another example is Dave Bautista’s character, whose origins were murky and could’ve been tied in better to the story. Overall, a couple little things within the film hold it back from being a true classic.
Watch the trailer here: