It’s been almost a week since I’ve watched Blade Runner 2049 and I’m still struggling to find my words. Or to be more precise, 72 hours since I’ve watched it for the first time. I couldn’t help myself and I already went back to the cinema to watch it. And I’m not going to lie, I will return again.
It’s no secret that I love the first Blade Runner. I’ve been going on about it for years and I was blown away the first time I saw it as a kid. It’s the foundation in which my obsession with sci-fi and detectives are built. So I will admit that when a sequel was first announced, I was skeptical. However, when Denis Villeneuve was confirmed as the director those doubts went away. This is mainly because I believe that Ridley Scott should take a backseat with certain stuff and let other people play with the toys.
Villeneuve is one of the most interesting directors out there, so seeing him revisit the world of my favourite film of all time felt exciting. But was this worth it? Definitely! In my opinion, Blade Runner 2049 is the best movie of 2017. True, the year isn’t over yet but something very special has to happen for me to change my mind.
“I always told you. You’re special”
There’s one main reason why I’m struggling to find words about this film. I don’t want to discuss the plot. The trailers revealed very little about the film and there are plenty of surprises and twists. To be honest, I’m glad they managed to pull this off. The trailers didn’t show much, and that feels like a rare triumph nowadays.
Being in the dark genuinely made me enjoy the film more. I thought I had an approximate idea of what I was going to see but the film kept pulling the rug from under me. Repeatedly. So don’t read anything about the film; in fact if you haven’t seen the film, stop reading and go watch it now! And if you have watched it then go watch it again, you know you want to.
The story had me incredibly invested in the film. Hampton Fanchner (who co-wrote the first film) and Michael Green wrote a hell of a story, with an even bigger scope and ambition than the first movie. We never left Los Angeles in the first Blade Runner, but in Blade Runner 2049 we see other places around California and the sorry state they’re in. Because in the 30 years between films, the world has gotten even worse.
“You’ve never seen a miracle.”
The cast was amazing. Ryan Gosling as Officer K is an interesting protagonist. His journey takes him to strange places and we see him dealing with that. Plus, he’s now a double inductee on my ‘Movie characters with cool jackets I wish I had’ list. And Harrison Ford is even better as Deckard, because this isn’t Harrison Ford just walking by and being like “Where’s my check?” He might have a gruff and amusing “I don’t give a fuck” persona, but he obviously cares about what he does, and it shows here. Even Jared Leto is fine in this film!
I loved Ana de Armas as Joi and I fell in love with her as much as K did. I wasn’t a fan of some of her roles when her acting career started in Spain, but I loved her here. But my favourite role was Sylvia Hoeks‘ Luv. She reminded me of all the replicants from the first film rolled in one. Especially in terms of the charisma and presence that Rutger Hauer had as Roy Batty. I also have to give a special mention to Dave Bautista, who is a great and underrated character actor.
The film also looks amazing. People are already going on about how Roger Deakins deserves an Oscar for Best Photography and it’d be well deserved. It’s a stunning looking film. Experiencing it on IMAX was like a sensory overload and it blew me away. Definitely worth the price.
“I had your job once. I was good at it.”
All in all, the film seems to have been a walk in the park, compared to the torturous production the first Blade Runner had. Sure, there was a change in composers, but that’s a thing that happens often. I was sad to see Johann Johannsson go but Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer crafted a great soundtrack. Vangelis cast a very long shadow and his influence shows.
Still, when all is said and done, Denis Villeneuve did the impossible here. Blade Runner 2049 is as good as the original Blade Runner. And probably even better. I have been revisiting Blade Runner every year for over a decade and I’m so glad to add this movie to that tradition from now on.
Have you seen Blade Runner 2049? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.