1982, the humankind future vision of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, created by the fantasy Philip K. Dick book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" appeared to the cinema screens. The critics' feedback was not enthusiastic, and the viewers did not rush to the cinemas either. However, over time, this film has become a cult and is now considered one of the best science fiction films in history.
After passing 35 years, a sequel to the legendary film came to the screen. This time, Ridley Scott became a producer, and the director's chair took Denis Villeneuve. He like no one else can subtly copy the style of filming by other authors, while not falling into repetition, but developing and continuing the style.
The director does not overload the film with events, and the frames with too sharp installation and the number of details.
Denis Villeneuve took a deep, intellectual science fiction film, provoking thinking and paralyzing by its aesthetic beauty film. He is undoubtedly a cinema esthetic breaking the rules and clichés of genre film, and this he proves with the film BLADE RUNNER 2049.
This movie is the definition of perfect art in cinematography. It makes you wonder and interpret its content on so many levels. It's well balanced, stunningly beautiful, atmospheric. A perfect sci-fi thirller. One of the very few movies I could watch many times.
From the very first shots, thanks to the luxurious plans of cameraman Roger Deakins, we immerse ourselves in the visually flawless and discouraging world of the dark, dystopian Los Angeles of 2049.
History begins thirty years after the first film event when Rick Deckard, played by H. Ford, refused to catch android (called replicants) and, to say the least, fell in love to one of them - Rachael (Sean Young).
A young Los Angeles police officer K (Ryan Gosling) belongs to a special Blade Runner's liquidators group. His task is to track down and destroy the remaining androids (replicants). One day, K learns the secret that can potentially destroy humanity. In order to find out what lies behind it, the liquidator is about to look for the legendary Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who disappeared 30 years ago.
Finally, having found his predecessor, officer K understands that not only he searched for Deckard. And what the former officer of Blade Runner hides, can be a decisive factor in the history of human survival.
In parallel with these events, the line of K personal life is developing. An artificial holographic wife, Joi, who he truly loves, lives at his house. Indeed, K is not a real person himself, which people around him constantly remind him of, so he knows exactly what kind of feelings artificial intelligence is capable of.
A film about artificial people BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Photo credit: imdb
Who are Replicants?
Humanity survived, but global climate change had the most serious consequences: animals almost became extinct (therefore, in the film we see only three animals: an owl, a snake, and a rat, and all of them are artificial).
The real death of earthly nature forced people to colonize other planets. In order to ease the process of colonization, artificial replicants were created. I must say: this is not robots and not androids.
Replicants are artificial people. They do not have processors and metal bones - they consist of biological tissue, but still artificial. They have intelligence, freedom of thought, and some do not even understand that they are replicants and believe that they are human beings.
The main purpose of replicants is labor and colonization. Therefore, they have much higher indices of physical strength and dexterity than people, as well as intelligence comparable to their creators.
BLADE RUNNER 2049, Official Trailer - Video credit: youtube
Ridley Scott's pride BLADE RUNNER has become not only an iconic film of the 1980s, the best film ever created by the director so far but also a film project that has forever changed the style of science fiction films, giving the genre the necessary gloom, storyline. a sense of seriousness, aggression and, of course, style, to present a vision for the future without which contemporary movies of a similar type are not created.
I felt that continuation will be a good film because the teasers promised only a spectacular and very solid look, but I really didn't expect the film to overwhelm the original with its greatness. It was just a unique experience at the cinema.
The film begins with a quiet, highly aesthetic rendering of a futuristic Los Angeles that looks different since the 1982 film. On Earth, there were almost no old model replicators who were disobedient to their creators, and their place occupied the subordinate and hard-working people's prototypes that could be trusted and entrusted with their most important tasks.
BLADE RUNNER sequel: BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Photo credit: imdb
And this prologue, who introduces us to the world of the future, the newly restored human society, the principle of history and the main character of this film, K, takes a good twenty minutes. In the meantime, you can freely empathize with the displayed history, identify with the environment, and, with K, look for answers to very important questions that have plagued us for three decades.
Director Denis Villeneuve answers many questions, but most importantly, the film reveals meticulously all events that happened during the years. Here I can't reveal anything, because it has the biggest intrigue, but I will only say that during the review of this film, as I think thousands of other viewers, the one thought tortured me that became one of the most important intrigues of this film - is Deckard a replicant or not.
The film, of course, is not only fascinated by the intriguing storyline, which is simply impossible to predict due to various narrative directions, but also by very deep reflections on human existence and the importance of artificial intelligence in society. Of course, artificial intelligence is an allegory to a certain group of people in society. However, the one who falls most into the eye is the genius expression of humanity in those who do not even have any soul.
All of this is very subtly presented in long and endlessly fascinating conversations or monologues of one and another hero. Every word, every phrase, every conversation was so good for every scene that it was the greatest pleasure to watch this rather long-lasting Denis Villeneuve movie. And it's not boring - it's a fabulous moment in the movie.
One of the most important questions of the first film is revealed at the very first minutes of the sequel, but there will simply be no time to get upset about it, because further unpredictable events follow one after another, introducing new lines and regularly returning to the classics.
Mystery film BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Photo credit: tudfan.blog
And if at some point the plot development seems too banal, it means one thing - then everything will change again.
Of course, the film is not without symbolism. The biblical references come in handy there. After all, the creation of replicant makes a direct analogy with the creation of man.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 is not as innovative as the original. But we must not forget that the film of R. Scott did not immediately become a cult, and even several times was heavily remade. Well, Villeneuve filmed perfectly right away, because his story continues the already held legend. He promises that there will be no directing and extended versions. Yes, in fact, they are not needed.
Maybe there is a little less symbolism and philosophy, of which the first film consisted almost entirely. But in the plot is very thinly woven the love line and the theme of the value of the family. Moreover, both of them are shown absolutely in a not banal way, avoiding annoying stereotypes in every possible way.
This is a dark movie, but absolutely beautiful, even perfect, where you fall in love because of one small word - aesthetics. The aesthetics that was in the original, with trembling and tenderness are transmitted in the sequel.
The perfectly written script, interesting dialogues, and charismatic heroes - that's not all that this three-hour film can boast of. The action is also an important part, and it is arranged quite accurately. There are also tense traps, attractive shootings, and very hard-looking fights. All this is accompanied by violence, and we get a brutal content having fiction genre. But violence in this film is presented in the most subtle way.
A film about artificial people BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Photo credit: imdb
Director Villeneuve relishes each specific plan and scene, allowing the viewer to consider the emotions of the characters and all the little things in the background. There are not so many important characters in the picture either; most of the earlier heroes remain somewhere behind the scenes; in the foreground, we see only Gosling's hero. And this once again shows that Villeneuve is trying to find a fine line between the author's cinema and popular culture.
Each hero represents a certain layer of society to which important functions are entrusted. And from that on, each of the characters gets individuality. There are no similar heroes here; everyone is different. Both humans and replicants represent their visible truths, which often become a source of non-communication.
Mystery film BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Photo credit: imdb
Officer K during the investigation learns the mystery associated with a woman's skeleton that has a serial number but has been damaged during childbirth. This means, the replicant had a baby, which should not be possible. Discovery can disrupt all the dominant social order and wreak war between people and replicators. K is in charge of finding a child born in mysterious circumstances and destroying any evidence of this story. In addition, K has to deal with personal problems related to his own origins.
K is a multi-layered, advanced, and extremely attractive hero that can be loved from the beginning of the movie. You believe him, you try to feel his pain, and feel a great wish to know the truth about one event.
Other characters, though performing second roles, are perfectly embedded in the story. There is also an object of love for which K feels great sympathy. I speak, of course, about Joi (Ana de Armas), which is quite inventive, but most importantly - it also has a very important message for future generations who play on computers and do not separate reality from fantasy.
Antagonist Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), who emits a very important message about the meaning of life throughout the film, becomes a pretty interesting figure throughout this story. His conversations with other actors allow us to grasp a lot of truth about the essence of man and the meaning of life in this world. Just a unique and incredibly attractive bad guy whose actions are justifiable.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Review - Photo credit: topsimages
What matters most is, of course, the return of Rick Deckard. But here I will reveal the tiny secret that you will not disappoint as me. He's been in this movie for very little, maybe twenty minutes, but that's enough to grasp the truth about this character and learn what he's been doing in those three decades. And the end; well, you must see it.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 continues the predecessor's themes, visuals, sounds, and Harrison Ford's Deckard appears too at the end. Similar to him, K is experiencing an existential crisis of identity; he doubts his work, goals, and ultimately what he is.
The film raises questions about memory and the essence of humanism: how does memory shape our past and present, program us? Can the operating system grow the soul? However, everything is much more modest, and there are even humorous expressions in Denis Villeneuve's film.
In addition, Villeneuve comes up with a new side to the tormenting all fans of the original Blade Runner question - is officer K a replicant? 2049 is not going to put all dots, offering a couple of new arguments to the answer “yes” and the same number to the option “no”. The truth is as you see it yourself.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Review - Photo credit: drefopicsl
The group of actors is also one of the reasons why this movie needs to be seen.
Both Ryan Gosling, who plays his role wonderfully, embodying officer K, as well as Jared Leto, who played the antagonist Wallace, were fascinating every time they appeared on film screens. Very charming, exclusive, and extremely apt to represent their heroes from which we have what to learn.
Ana de Armas, very beautiful and natural in her role is also an eye-catching, perfect addition to K and allowed him to reveal himself even more. Other women like Robin Wright and Sylvia Hoeks also appeared in the film. They both showed strong women with equal qualities to men. Here, such an outbreak of feminism was with the creators to show that the weaker sex can do not less than men.
Harrison Ford, who once again embodied his iconic role as Rick Deckard, appeared very briefly in the film. And he is no longer as it was thirty years ago, but it was a great pleasure to see him again in this amplitude. The actor played well. Although I have the impression that he is trying to play his most iconic heroes before finishing his actor career. Han Solo has been, now we have Rick Decart, well, and he will appear in the fifth part of Indiana Jones.
BLADE RUNNER sequel - Photo credit: imdb
The Technical Side
This independent film, costing as much as $ 150 million, has so many pluses in the visual plan that it deserves all those praises said by world-famous cinema professionals.
And just like in the first film, the plot here acts as a skeleton, on which the main part is based - the visual part. And the visual part did not disappoint. Ridley Scott's film dropped in the dark, in dense urban space; in the Villeneuve film, on the contrary - everything is white or greyish, corpse-colored, repeating a rich orange, sparkling amber color motif.
There are neon and gloss in the film, but all this in moderate amounts emphasizes the cyberpunk landscape. Just for the way the movie looks, it is worthy of all the awards of the world, in which, of course, the main merit lies on the shoulders of the brilliant operator.
The world inside the film is dark and cruel. The main action of the tape takes place in two different cities. One was built by people but destroyed and abandoned by them, and the orange desert gamma is evidence of this. The other city is a pale blue metropolis, where there are mainly robots created by humanity and, in fact, merged with it.
The Ending Of BLADE RUNNER 2049 Explained - Video credit: youtube
But BLADE RUNNER 2049 in visual terms is not even so much better than the first part, but organically complements it. It does not repeat, does not copy - it complements. Of course, it is the great merit of the director Denny Villeneuve and the operator Roger Deakins: one added new locations, and the second naturalized them perfectly, which expanded the visual component of the film and diluted the city’s tenderness.
And do not be afraid of the duration of the film at 2 hours and 43 minutes. All this time you will not be able to tear yourself away from the screen, surprised by the depth, scale, and perfection of the BLADE RUNNER 2049's world. The film maintains the unhurried, contemplative pace of its predecessor. But for me personally, this is rather a plus.
There are more than enough special effects on the screen: there are flying cars, and huge holograms that complement the endless stands with advertising from the first film, and even the post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. When you watch a movie, you didn't feel any discomfort; everything is so realistic and natural that every shot of the film became a kind of picture that could be hooked up in your home. The three-dimensional space also adds charm, as the image becomes deeper and bold.
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Of course, the impressive visual side was also influenced by heroes' makeup, costumes, and decorations, which also earned quite important features during the film. Thoughtfulness and level of detail in the environment fascinate, and it is good.
Sound editing is powerful, especially in places where fires and explosions are taking place. Video editing without reproach. It is perfect in every sense, because the story is unified, not revealing any important details until a certain time. That is why the intrigue is maintained, which contributes to the benefits of watching this film. Believe me, predicting the end of the movie is impossible.
One of the most amazing things about Blade Runner 2049 is that is manages to capture the spirit and style of the original, while also feeling completely new.
Almost three hours in the cinema flew as one breath, and this is achieved not by a constant action, but by a fascinating picture, philosophy, emotionality, and of course music, for which I want to thank Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfish, who did not follow the ambitions and did not insert into the picture overly symphonic music. They just reworked the ideas of Vangelis, which, perhaps, now also seems to be completely new. They composed an incredible atmosphere soundtrack that fully pays tribute to the original music of Vangelis and creates a sound image of the future waking to the bone by Philip K. Dick.
On A Final Note
BLADE RUNNER 2049 - a continuation of a fantastic masterpiece that had to wait for 35 years. It is the rare case when you do not even have to say that the sequel is worthy of the original, Denis Villeneuve once again proved that you can shoot at the same time intelligently, and beautifully, and emotionally.
It is the rare case when you do not even have to say that the sequel is worthy of the original, Denis Villeneuve once again proved that you can shoot at the same time intelligently, and beautifully, and emotionally.
The film is decorated not only by the breathtaking and aesthetically pleasing visual side, great heroes and their dialogues, an incredibly exciting and engaging story, the perfect camera work with tension-free music written by Hans Zimmer, but also the intrigue of the film's finale, revealed only at the end of the film, giving an unforgettable feeling of unknown.
bitLanders AI-Themed Blogging: BLADE RUNNER 2049 Review - Photo credit: twitter
It is impossible to say unequivocally, this is R. Scott’s love for the film or a mathematical calculation, but all this meditativeness, measured narration, and sustained a melancholic tone of the doomed future work in unison, creating a unique blockbuster of the 21st century. Such a blockbuster, which is completely different from the representatives of sparkling, high-profile entertainment replicant films that have filled the screens, but it looks just like a real movie.
My rating: 9.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 87/100
Critics average: 81/100
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