It has been a few months since my last blog post. I wait till I am inspired by something before posting. If you follow my blog you may have noticed that I rarely give actual reviews. I leave that to the experts such as “Faster and More Intense”, “Funk’s House of Geekery”, Or “Keith@the Movies”. My focus is to speak of what moved me. I want to relay the emotion and power of what I have seen, and what it means to me. Blade Runner 2049 is a film, like it’s storied predecessor, about what it means to be human, to be alive. Humans in this world more often seem like replicants ( synthetic robots that look and act human), and the replicants show a grasp for true humanity in their tragic few years of life. Even Agent K’s girlfriend in the film seemed more real, alive and attractive than an actual person. She is simply an advanced computer hologram, much less than even a replicant. (Don’t worry this is not a spoiler as the fact is made obvious right away). This film blurs the lines of what it means to be human, and forces it’s inhabitants and even us to do the same. We greatly relate to the protagonist in this movie because he is a snapshot of ourselves, yearning to be more than what we have been, to have a destiny, a purpose.
Blade Runner 2049 is not for everyone. I think movies like this have a cult following but are not understood by the masses and most in this day and age have no interest in spending the nearly 3 hours to try. I find that the average movie going audience wants thrills and laughs and as much action as possible as ADD in its imagined or clinical reality seems to be rising rapidly. If that is you, you might as well quit reading this, and don’t bother to shell out the dough for it.
If, however you cherish a great engrossing story, stunning visuals, and epic sounds this is for you. If you have the sensitivity to grasp deep tension and unease in long scenes, that it pulls you to the edge of your seat, this is for you. Blade Runner 2049 is filled with all of this and more and not once did I look at my watch in the nearly three hours of the film’s length. To me it is the best kind of film, once that truly captivates at times when little is actually going on. This is no easy task, let alone the daunting challenge of daring to add a film in a universe with the original masterpiece. Rarely does this work. rarely do we find a distant sequel to a beloved and cherished film succeed to honor the original, and even improve it. I left the film with my mind blown still trying to process everything I had seen
The scenes of this dystopian world captivate. The re-creation of a future downtown LA continues what was begun in 1982, and far exceeds it. Yes our technology is far greater, but it is not even about that, it is more about the choices made. The CGI only adds to the visuals, it in itself is not the visuals. It is impossible to watch the film in a relaxed way, and this is a good thing. Blade Runner 2049’s vivid beauty is starkly opposed to it’s actual message. This is a city that uses flashy Vegas-like advertisements that are very attractive yet fail to hide its lust, greed, and tragic consumerism. This film is a billboard, showing our real, ugly reality. Everything around us promises to fill our every pleasure and need, but ultimately fails to do so. Much like Wall-E, this film is a foreshadowing of our sad future if we continue on the path we are on as a society. It’s a spiritual message really. The world and its lusts seems to offer much, but in the end it only leads to a death of our very Spirit, the ingenuity and perseverance of what makes us human. When all we want to hear is our own secret desire spoken back to us, we have truly failed.
On a technical and visceral level Blade Runner 2049 is unparalleled. Director Denis Villeneuve is a master on every level, and Roger Deakins cinematography is amazing, and possible the best I have seen in any film. The score was amazing that is was not simply heard, but experienced in a tactile way. The theater at times just reverberated with sound, intensifying already power-packed scenes. This trio is the Holy Trinity of film-making, and should win many academy awards. If only they could have done the new Star Wars films. Gosling and Ford are terrific in Blade Runner 2049. Almost every actor and character shines. Surprisingly the only one that was a disappointment was the villain of the film. He was not in it all that much and his inclusion was nearly pointless. If their is another Blade Runner hopefully we will see him and his motives more fleshed out.
In the end Blade Runner 2049 is a movie that is intelligent, beautiful and engrossing. It deserves to be seen more than once and in the best theater you can manage to see it in. Like many masterpieces this film will lose much going to video. See it now in a theater near you.