Denis Villeneuve has become one of our top new directors over the last few years as he has had some tremendous successes with Sicario, Prisoners and Arrival. There couldn’t be a better director to step into the shoes of Ridley Scott and create the long-awaited sequel to his sci-fi classic Blade Runner.
I have only ever seen Blade Runner once, and, to be honest, I found it a little slow. I had really wanted to re-watch the original prior to seeing the new film, but, unfortunately, I could not find the time. I did not know how that might affect my enjoyment of the new film.
Happily, I did not feel the need to have seen the first film as I watched Blade Runner 2049.
The new Blade Runner movie is very complex. It is long and, at times, very plodding, but in a very good way. The story has just enough familiar beats to it to make you understand that you are existing in the Blade Runner universe created back in 1982, but also has plenty of originality of its own.
Multiple-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins is absolutely at the top of his game as this film is a piece of visual art. The cinematography is unbelievably tremendous and should end that losing streak Deakins has had in the Oscar race.
The cinematography is really aided by the sound of this movie. The music and the sound effects are amazing and blend together seamlessly.
There are many top notch performances in Blade Runner 2049, especially from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Both of these actors bring the goods here. Ford has not been this good in quite a while. They have an easy relationship and chemistry and the film pops when they are both on screen.
Sylvia Hoeks as Luv is the standout villain in the film. She steals just about every scene she is in and she kicks some mighty butt in her action scenes. She has some great moments with Robin Wright as well.
Dave Bautista was another great performance, although a short one. Bautista has really been solid in his roles, and this one sets the standard for what we would see.
I am avoiding any recaps to prevent any spoilers because I think going into the film with just the barest knowledge of what was going to happen really helped the film.
There is a major drawback to the film though and it is the role of Jared Leto. Leto is barely in the film and his character, Niander Wallace, is a major disappointment. Luv blows Wallace away with intensity, energy and development. Leto could easily be removed from this film without there being any loss in story, plot or characterization. That is a serious failure for a great actor.
Spectacular in scope and cinema, Blade Runner 2049 has a lot to offer to fans of sci-fi. It is a long movie and it might be a challenging watch for the typical movie going audience, but the film is worth the time it takes.