By Cole Parkinson
While it may have been deemed a “commercial flop” with how much money it made at the box office, I still have yet to love a recent sci-fi flick as much as I did Blade Runner 2049.
Released in 2017, it may have not been a box office smash, but everything about the movie is top-notch. From the acting, directing, cinematography, CGI, and story — it’s all incredibly well done. I know a lot of people complain about the run time of two hours and 45 minutes, but I really don’t think there’s much to cut out from that. I respect when a director, Denis Villeneuve in this case, has a vision and sticks to it.
It feels like a great sequel to the original and the themes and world are just as good, better I’d argue. The advancement of CGI helps the Blade Runner world and it really makes it feel much more real than the original does — though that is no fault of its own as it came out in 1982.
I had a chance to revisit the film this past weekend on a 4k TV and while it’s not nearly as good as it was on a big screen theatre, it’s the next best thing. Having watched it in theatre, on regular Blu Ray, and now 4k, the work done on this movie is spectacular. I know streaming is all the rage these days, but it can’t come close to 4k on disc, but that’s another discussion for another day.
I’ll admit the original Blade Runner is far from my favourite film, in fact, it doesn’t even come close. I think it’s a good movie, but I never really resonated with it like I have other movies. Harrison Ford is one of my favourite actors of all time, and I think his performance in the movie is great, but many of his other movies rank higher for me.
So when the sequel was announced I wasn’t overly excited. I mean, sure I was going to go see it in theatres regardless because it features Ryan Gosling, another one of my favourite actors. Both Ford and Gosling are spectacular in the movie and they deliver some of my favourite performances of their careers in this movie.
I also think the work Ana de Armas did as Joi elevates the movie to the next level. Other great performances come from Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi and Sylvia Hoek as the terrifying Luv. From top to bottom, the acting in this movie is phenomenal. In a movie full of non-human/human characters, the movie does a great job of creating sympathy for the replicants. While the debate about whether Ford’s Deckard is human or replicant has gone on for 40 years (I think he’s human), it’s established early on Gosling’s K is indeed a replicant Blade Runner. And Gosling does a great job of portraying just how much of a replicant K is throughout the entire film.
Sure, the debate on whether Deckard is a replicant or a human is great, but I liked the fact the movie sets up the protagonist as a replicant right away. The debate on Deckard is never solved in this movie, and that’s probably for the best. There are clues arguing for both sides in each of the films, so it’s really up to you to decide.
The story is very much a continuation of the original and it doesn’t work as a standalone, so I guess some might consider that a negative. But, at the same time, it’s supposed to be a sequel and continuation of the 1982 film. And without spoiling too much, the crux of the movie’s plot is really, really good. There’s a mystery to it all and it does leave you guessing until near the end — and the ending of the movie is perfect. It doesn’t give you all the answers, but it’s a really satisfying end.
The fact it wasn’t a smash at the box office is obviously the reason we haven’t seen another sequel of some sort. Villeneuve has said he would like to revisit the world separately from established characters so that may be an option at some point. Ridley Scott, the director of the original Blade Runner and executive producer on 2049, has announced a 10 episode live Blade Runner series. No other details have been announced yet though, so how or if it will tie into either movie is not known. The world of Blade Runner will continue and let’s hope any continuation can be as good as Blade Runner 2049 was.