Blade Runner 2049 is directed by Dennis Villeneuve starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. This is, of course, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s legendary 1982 original, does it manage to best its predecessor?
Absolutely not, it can’t be done! Back in 1982 Blade Runner evolutionised science fiction, tackling themes such as what it means to be human and the fragility of our oldest memories which have shaped who we are today. There was very much a stigma of nerd culture which plagued Sci-Fi, but Ridley Scott’s vision proved that didn’t always have to be the way. It could be stylish, it could be provocative and it could get people talking for years to come. Of course, if you’re as big a fan of Blade Runner as I am, you’ll know that wasn’t always the case.
You hear stories all the time about directors getting into creative disputes with studios and unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s vision was so bold that the studio felt it just wouldn’t sit well with audiences and therefore changes were made. It wasn’t until 2007 that the final cut was released and it was everything Scott had envisioned from the beginning. Thankfully Dennis Villeneuve’s sequel wasn’t met with the same resistance from Warner Bros, if anything it was the audience this time around who had their doubts and I include myself in that crowd.
What with the original’s creative struggle to become the masterpiece it is today, making a sequel all these years later seemed like a dubious proposition at best. However, with a director like Dennis Villeneuve at the reigns, I was hopeful and definitely wasn’t going to write it off until I’d seen the film in full. As the film’s release date grew ever closer my faith in the project seemed to be frequently rewarded, the trailers looked more than promising and certainly didn’t fail to leave me grinning to myself like a moron. Having now seen the film I can confirm that while it might not be any better than the original, it’s clearly a film that’s been handled with great respect and great admiration for everything Scott set out to do.
The astonishing work from everyone involved is really something to behold, I simply cannot praise this film enough! I mean it’s quite possibly one of the best looking films I’ve seen in years and that’s all thanks to the stunning cinematography from Roger Deakins, if he doesn’t end up winning an Oscar this year than quite frankly the academy to me, is just a bad joke. Dennis Villeneuve’s direction is yet again on top form, I would go as far as to say that he is this generation’s Spielberg, Scorsese, Kubrick, he’s just a master of his craft to be completely honest. That’s an opinion I’ve been leaning towards for quite some time now, but after seeing his work on Blade Runner 2049 that’s just confirmed it for me, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
However, I will say that it’s not for everyone, with a run time of two hours and forty-three minutes there are times where you really do feel it. That’s not to say the film’s pacing ever grinds to a halt, it just takes its time to establish its characters and the universe that surrounds them. Personally, I admire its detailed approached to storytelling, but if you tend to have something of a short attention span than I can imagine how you might lose interest and check out.
Something else that’s worth noting is that if like me you sit down expecting the film to give you answers, to give you closure, well then you’re going to be disappointed. While the film does help to clear a few things up, it then goes on to make us ask new questions. So the tradition of film fans getting into Blade Runner fuelled debates continues, but when you think about it that’s got to be a good thing. 9/10