The year is 1982 and “Blade Runner” (a science fiction film) arrives in theaters that for the next 35 years will be considered one of the best science fiction films of all time. The year is now 2017 and the follow up film arrives in theaters and some, not all, had the highest of expectations. So, does “Blade Runner 2049” deliver on the quality of its predecessor or is this a replicant that needs to be put down? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.
I was not one of the people who had a special place in their hearts reserved for this film. I didn’t see the first film until this year when I purchased “Blade Runner” on BLU-Ray at my local used book store. That story celebrates everything that was the 1980’s and science fiction. Seeing it for the first time in 2017 I couldn’t help but see the movie as a period piece stuck forever in 1982. The story by itself is well written and constructed however the movie as a whole is 1982 at its very most 1982’ish. So walking into the theater to see this sequel I didn’t have the same expectation as many who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of this story.
The movie starts by acknowledging the fact that Replicants are a thing that’s not hidden in society which caught me off guard. I was pleased they jumped right into that because it allowed the story to progress forward into new territory not really analyzed in the first movie. I will say the story does feel a bit long in that we get to see a lot of emotion and epiphanies on screen. These moments are not brief and that makes the story drag at points which was unfortunate. However, as long as the movie felt it looked incredible. The colors, the lighting and use of shadows, the make up and the action all were spectacular. I was completely mesmerized by the cinemotography and I wouldn’t not be surprised if this film gets nominated for an Acadamy Award for Cinemotography. Rumors confirmed, folks. This is one of the best looking films I’ve seen all year.
The story deals with a philosophical examination regarding what it means to be alive and to be human. The story resolves itself like a crime noir/detective story. It’s methodical in its delivery however the pacing is slower than I felt necessary. We get multiple view points or arguments that look at what society is, what it could be, power struggles to maintain the status quo and the opposite. In all, this movie explores the question, “What does it mean to be alive?” As I just wrote, this revelation takes time to be revealed. It’s not until we find out that a replicant had a “natural” born child that the overall plot of the film is realized. It’s at this moment the opposing view points are pushed to the fore front and we are seated amidst a debate that also has some great action and science fiction visual flare. This debate, unfortunately, is not very captivating and because of that will be lost, I feel. The film rests mainly on the visual astheatic and actors performances. It falls short on an engaging story that should be both at the same time thought provoking and exciting. The potential for this film is much greater than the final product.
“Blade Runner 2049” is in theaters now. I definitely recommend you see this on the big screen. This movie looks spectacular and I truly believe it will be nominated for best Cinematography. The overall look warrants a big screen viewing but I will caution you against paying more than matinee prices for the time spent in the theater. It’s slower paced and does drag at times but it looks incredible while doing that. Check this film out!