Ryan Gosling Leads a Proper Sequel to the Original Sci-fi Classic
By: Steven Aiello
“Blade Runner” is one of the most beloved science fiction films for a reason.
The 1982 classic combined detailed visuals with deep thought provoking themes, forming a movie that was rich in substance and style.
Initially held in low regard, the film has since gained a vast following and positive responses from critics.
Given the high standards and avid fan base, a sequel seemed difficult to pull off in this day and age.
Fortunately, director Denis Villeneuve managed to create a film that lives up to its expectations.
Rather than being a generic action movie or halfhearted copy of the original, Villeneuve delivers a refreshing take on the series while making a self-contained movie.
Like the original film, “Blade Runner 2049” is heavy on world building, detail and complex themes, though the plot itself is easy to follow.
The story is about K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant working for the LAPD as a Blade Runner, tasked to track down and “retire” older replicants that have gone rogue.
A routine mission goes awry when K uncovers a hidden box containing the remains of a replicant that was once pregnant, something believed to be impossible.
To prevent chaos in society, K is ordered to find and destroy all evidence related to the child at any cost.
The story is very straightforward, but makes up for that simplicity with the themes and concepts presented.
The film contains an atmosphere and feeling that is bleak and depressing, giving the appearance of a world that is dystopian and somewhat hopeless.
This is assisted by many themes ranging from oppression and slavery, to existentialism and deceit.
The movie has a sad tone, which perfectly suits the overall design of the film and doesn’t feel unnecessary or unfitting.
This is enhanced further by the world the film takes place in, which captures the feeling of a dystopian society.
The visuals are dark in tone, public areas are cluttered and cramped, which gives the overall impression of a mundane and awful society.
The size and scale of the world clash with these notions, suggesting a world that is grand in its scope but ultimately hollow in what it actually offers.
All of these aspects create what is arguably the best looking movie of the year.
The acting is nowhere near as impressive, but is understandable, considering how impressive the world itself is.
At the very least the acting helps everything feel believable, keeping the viewer invested in what’s happening.
Ryan Gosling performance as K is serviceable enough. Gosling may appear emotionless and cold at times, but he does convey the emotions K is feeling when it matters most, which fits well for a man trying to discover his purpose in life.
Harrison Ford briefly reprises his role as Deckard, the original Blade Runner, and his reprisal fits the tone of the movie and is a welcome touch.
The supporting cast also does a fine job, with a slew of nuanced performances that for the most part are unique from one another.
The script also makes everything feel more believable, with dialogue that expresses many of the aforementioned themes in complex and developed detail.
The movie is big on these details, as well as run time, clocking in at 2 hours and 43 minutes, which presents a lot of information to be digested.
A great deal of concentration is required to understand what’s happening in the movie, which may be off-putting to some moviegoers.
It isn’t too much of a detriment to the film, but is still noticeable.
Regardless, “Blade Runner 2049” is still a standout film, taking what made the original memorable and using it to great effect, while being its own narrative.
This is definitely a film worth watching, providing a change of pace with thought provoking ideas and strong writing.
Just be prepared for an intense experience that benefits from strong attention to detail and keen eyes above all else.