Full disclosure: I have not seen the original in it’s entirety. I rented it too young and was bored out of my freaking mind. But I have seen bits and pieces.
Regardless, Blade Runner: 2049 is an extremely worthy, willfully naive about its predecessor, follow up film.
30 years after the events of the first film, this new Blade Runner full embraces the fact that it’s lead is a replicant. K (Ryan Gosling) does Deckard’s original job. Hunting the replicants that were created around the events of the first film. How have they not completed this job yet? Because of something called the Blackout, where almost all data not stored physically was wiped out. The original Tyrell corporation is gone, replaced with the Wallace corporation, which is making more, and new replicants for off world colonization.
This delicate balance between humanity and replicants is threatened when K discovers a female replicants’ body that clearly died in childbirth. Fearing a civil war if word of something like this got out, LAPD chief Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) tells him to find the child and ‘retire’ her. But the Wallace corporation wants the child alive, so they can discover the secret of reproduction for their new replicants.
It wouldn’t be a Denis Villenueve movie if it wasn’t fucking gorgeous. Everything in this movie, from the sets, to the CGI, to the shots, is amazing. The future is bleak indeed, but Villenueve finds beauty wherever it can be found.
Ryan Gosling, as always, knocks it out of the park. Despite his character being just an errand boy. And really, it is his prying that sets off the entire plot of the film. Without his meddling, the thing he ends up trying to prevent, wouldn’t have happened. Harrison Ford is his usual gruff self, nothing new. But Sylvia Hoeks as the murderous replicant Luv stands out.
There’s plot armor here and there, plot holes as well, but Blade Runner 2049 is what an ambitious, sprawling, sci-fi should look like. Like the first, it is an exploration of what it means to be human and what makes us alive. And it looks damn good as well. Clearly a worthy follow up, I had no problems sitting through its almost three hour run time. It’s a visual and spiritual treat.
3.5 out of 4 stars