Blade Runner 2049
review by Bobby Blakey
There are few science fiction films as unique and loved as Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner. There have been rumblings of a sequel or a remake for years, with and without Harrison Ford’s involvement. There was finally news that it was in production with Arrival and Sicario director Denis Villeneuve in the director’s chair with a great cast including Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto and Dave Bautista, but does it do justice to the classic original or will it fail to replicate what made it so great.
Blade Runner 2049 takes place thirty years after the events of the first film where a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. Going into a movie like this you kind of have to step away from the original to let this film be its own thing. Thankfully you don’t have to step too far as Villeneuve does a good job at not only recreating a version of that world, but also expending it into something all new and his own. This is an insanely visually stunning film throughout that looks and feels bigger than the original ever did while keeping the bleak future intact. The 30 years since the original film showcases how the world has changed even further under new rule and in turn allows the film to stand apart all its own.
One of the cool things about this film is that while it firmly connects to the original and is a sequel it still stands as its own film. You could watch this one a never need to see the original at all, but obviously to really get the full impact of the story you need to be invested to them both. Some of the bigger parts in the film are more of extended cameos than full on featured players such as Dave Bautista. While he isn’t in the film long he has a great and important role to play here and his sequence is a great moment in the film. The rest of the cast all do a great job, but this is Gosling’s show this time around. Ford is in the film for a bit longer than a cameo, but this is Gosling 100% and he is really good here. For those worried this has turned into a flat action film make no mistake this is far from that. The tone is very much like the original with some action sprinkled throughout as K works to solve a mystery that could change everything.
There are some elements that did come off a bit more Hollywood than I was hoping, but as a whole I still loved this latest entry. For those wondering which version of the original film you need to see before seeing this one, I will be honest in saying I am not sure it really matters as they do not fully go into answering some of the questions people want answered and do leave other new ones open as well. Like the visuals, the sounds are a character all their own making this one of those films that you need to experience in a theater with the best possible sound system. I walked into this film not all that confident that it would be able to do much to expand on the original, but in the end it did more and I might even say it is a better film. This film works beautifully alongside the original and sets itself up to be one of those few films that some will feel surpass the original and I am not afraid to say that I am one of them.
In addition to the film this release offers up numerous featurettes taking you behind bringing this next chapter of the iconic film to life. Return to the future when Blade Runner 2049 hits 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD as well as the recently released original Blade Runner on 4K Ultra from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.