From Denis Villeneuve comes Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited and highly-anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 landmark. Blade Runner 2049 picks up thirty years later in a futuristic Los Angeles where androids known as ‘replicants’ are still being used by humans for slave labour. Our main man, Ryan Gosling is in Harrison Ford’s original role as a ‘blade runner’, whose purpose it is to track down and destroy rogue replicants. With Gosling being a replicant himself, he is faced with personal and external conflicts which find him fighting for his life and survival in this beautiful, yet powerful world.
Following Villeneuve’s previous successes with Arrival (2016) and Sicario (2015), his revival of ‘2049 was expected to be a hit, especially after being compared to other film-maker visionaries such as Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson and Sam Mendes. In my opinion, the original ‘Blade Runner’ is actually very underrated, and I would say that there is only a very small community of true Blade Runner fans. Perhaps this is why, despite a hell of a lot of advertisement and insane trailers, Blade Runner 2049 reeled in a mere $31.5m on its opening weekend in the US, and $40.7m in the UK, a major disappointment for Sony and Alcon Entertainment who spent $150m to create this masterpiece.
Regardless of box office sales, Blade Runner 2049 has pleased the eyes and hearts of millions already, with a touching story, incredible cinematography, and a great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Benjamin Wallfisch (It, Hidden Figures), reminiscent of the original 1982 composition. For fans of the 80’s classic who are hungry for nostalgia, there are references galore that will get you grinning in your seats; from the amazing scenery to a couple of moments of dialogue, you will be completely perplexed for 163 minutes.
If someone asked me, “what’s the most memorable part of Blade Runner 2049?” I would have to say the cinematography and incredible set design. So many times during this film I was completely in awe and spellbound by the work of cinematographer Roger Deakins and production designer Dennis Gassner. Not only have they re-created the world of Blade Runner, but they have altered and improved it with the times. But equally, thirty years on, it is still the same Blade Runner we know and love. The similarities in setting, architecture and even tiny details on vehicles and street signs makes this feel like a true continuation of the sci-fi classic.
For those who are interested in seeing this magnificent piece, I would definitely recommend seeing Blade Runner first if you haven’t already – prior knowledge will make this almost-three-hour ride much more manageable and incredible. For those who haven’t seen Blade Runner, I’m afraid you might be in for a snooze-fest, because it. is. long. Overall a fantastic, well-made film which deserves much more hype than I feel it is currently receiving.