Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas
Release Date: January 16, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Three decades after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Returning to the unforgettable world introduced in Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking science fiction masterpiece, ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ picks up thirty years after the original and follows current LAPD Blade Runner K (Gosling) who is placed on a troubling case that begins causing him to question everything he believes. As K delves deeper into the darkest areas of his world, his quest could potentially lead to a cataclysmic occurrence where even one wrong move could mean utter disaster. Now K must decide what he believes is the right course of action as the path of his investigation soon leads to an old LAPD Blade Runner named Deckard (Ford) who has been missing for years and just may hold the key to the mystery.
Directed by the immensely talented Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) from a screenplay by Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original ‘Blade Runner’) and Michael Green (Logan), Villeneuve does an outstanding job at the helm of ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ carefully guiding this gorgeous and moving tale along its course and capturing much of the tone and essence of the original. The film also owes its share of credit to the talented individuals that comprise the cast including Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys), Harrison Ford (Blade Runner), Ana de Armas (Knock Knock), Sylvia Hoeks (Renegades), Robin Wright (TV’s House of Cards), Mackenzie Davis (TV’s Halt and Catch Fire), Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) and more, nearly all providing highly capable performances in each of their respective roles, particularly Gosling who is truly magnificent in the lead.
‘Blade Runner: 2049’ is a magnificent, complex and visually stunning follow-up to Ridley Scott’s acclaimed original film that returns viewers to that futuristic world thirty years later and takes us along for another mysterious quest with answers and naturally a great deal more questions to be revealed throughout. Never forsaking the story in favor of spectacle, it weaves it a slow paced, moving and layered tale that embraces the beauty and spectacle of its futuristic setting, combining into a gorgeous and unforgettable experience that’s quite worthy of following Ridley Scott’s fan favorite original. Many folks will likely be somewhat troubled by the slow pacing and the notable runtime (it clocks in at just shy of 2 hours and 45 minutes in length) as well as the lack of visual extravaganza and loads of futuristic violence, but many are also sure to appreciate its carefully woven structure and the constant beauty throughout. One thing is for certain, it’s a far rarer occurrence in cinema these days to see a big Hollywood film of this sort, but certainly a tremendously welcome one. Passionately guided throughout its stunning and moving course by director Denis Villeneuve, his careful guidance is only boosted all the more by noteworthy performances from a powerful cast led by Ryan Gosling whose portrayal of K is nothing short of outstanding. I would definitely encourage fans of Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi film and those already at all interested in this sequel to try and make a point of giving ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ a whirl when you have the chance. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone but there are plenty of folks out there liable to thoroughly appreciate this carefully constructed and quite faithful follow-up.
Overall, ‘Blade Runner: 2049’is a nothing short of spectacular. A powerful, gorgeous and carefully woven follow-up to Ridley Scott’s praised original film that captures the essence and tone remarkably well and takes viewers on an intricate story of personal discovery and meaning that’s a moving and beautiful film in its own right. ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ definitely earns one of my highest recommendations. Albeit not a film everyone is likely to appreciate, fans of the original as well as of talented director Denis Villeneuve and/or star Ryan Gosling probably won’t want to miss out on this spectacular follow-up that also stands quite capably on its own. For those able to embrace and appreciate this moving, yet somewhat lengthy futuristic tale there’s a good chance it should prove more than worthy of your time and the cost of a rental if nothing else.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio (or at least one of its original ratios as the film utilized different ratios during its theatrical run for standard and IMAX screenings). The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and vibrantly colored presentation from start to finish. It holds up admirably even during the many darkly lit and heavily populated sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that should satisfy the fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and notably aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send vehicles, random effects, crowd chatter and plenty more regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, and never allowing any dialogue other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that continually impresses and contributes tremendously to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Blade Runner: 2049’ includes a few solid extras that fans should appreciate. Included on the release are a couple Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the sequel to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Designing the World of Blade Runner: 2049’ (running approximately 22 minutes in length) and ‘To Be Human: Casting Blade Runner: 2049’ (running approximately 17 minutes). We are also treated to Three ‘Prologues’ that explore events occurring throughout the thirty year gap separating the films. The included Prologues are: ‘2022: Black Out’ (running approximately 16 minutes), ‘2036: Nexus Dawn’ (approximately 6 minutes) and ‘2048: Nowhere to Run’ (6 minutes). A collection of ‘Blade Runner 101’ (running approximately 11 minutes altogether) facts about the movies are also included.