Mitchel Waite © 2022

Blade Runner 2049 [2017] Review

Where to even begin with this. I’m won’t sit on the fence teasing you so that you read the entire post to find out what I though. I’ll put my cards on the table now; I absolutely loved Blade Runner 2049.

It has been quite the cinematic journey for both the viewers and filmmakers. Countless times I’ve watched my uncle’s VHS copy of the theatrical cut (note to self: must give this back at some point). I’ve viewed every other cut along with Dangerous Days on the 5 disc collector’s edition DVD and the most recent milestone was purchasing the Final Cut from iTunes in HD, which again blew my mind (great restoration). Naturally, I was both cautious and optimistic on the idea of a sequel. Blade Runner is a holy grail of sci-fi. Just like The Godfather, no one dares to touch it.

Sci-fi is a big risk for Hollywood, and their track record for reboots and sequels hasn’t been great. It’s been lazy and cautious at best (Robocop!). Blade Runner 2049 has been done right and takes the same risks as the original did back in 1982. It asks those big and cerebral questions and actually follows through with addressing them. The story even plays with the lifelong cult argument of Deckard’s true status without actually taking a side. It unpacks it, juggles it around and puts it back together again so that those arguments can still continue outside of the cinema. It’s a fantastic script that has been put together by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green.

The visual world in the Blade Runner universe is a character in itself and has been the inspiration for many filmmakers. I was really pleased to hear that Roger Deakins was hired as the Director of Photography. Blade Runner is a slow burner and both he and Director Denis Villeneuve know how to draw all the possible tension out of each scene. Likewise for Ryan Gosling in the lead role as Officer K; we’ve seen him develop this marvellous ability to lead a scene barely saying a word since 2011’s Drive. All of these combined talents really produced some superb cinematic moments. Also, how could I not mention Hans Zimmer’s incredibly deep and industrial score. Similar to how the script dealt with Deckard’s status, Zimmer uses Vaneglis’ 1982 score in the same way.

There were a handful of striking moments for me in Blade Runner 2049 [spoiler alert]. The two baseline test scenes were composed perfectly and had a sinister feel. The scene where Officer K found the wooden horse completely shook me, even though there was already some suspicion. The closing frames of Deckard seeing his daughter again along with Officer K lying on the snowy steps were beautifully constructed with the score. Officer K’s story evolved from being at the centre of the it to being an outsider; even in the face of this adversity he learned to have compassion, and that’s part of what he concluded to be human. I think that’s a positive and comforting message to deliver in today’s moral conundrum for millennials, and something that is typically not Hollywood. Not to sound like Tyler Durden, but from the selfie culture that has come to be, there is a huge illusion that millennials can all be rock stars and movie gods; it’s important to reassure people that it’s ok. You still make a positive impact and you don’t need to question your life choices if you’re not a household name.

Blade Runner 2049 was a cinematic joy to watch and more than a worthy sequel to the 1982 cult classic. I’ve already seen it twice in the cinema and am looking forward to its UK digital release on January 28th 2018.

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