Wednesday, October 18, 2017
BLADE RUNNER 2049
I have to admit that when I first heard there was going to be a sequel to BLADE RUNNER, I groaned. Did we really need another years-after-the-original movie riding on the coattails of a famous brand name? I'm happy to say, however, that BLADE RUNNER 2049 exceeded my expectations.
This is going to be a difficult post to write, for the simple reason that divulging any part of the story line will be too much. All I should really tell you is that the film takes place 30 years after the events of BLADE RUNNER, and leave it at that. BLADE RUNNER 2049 presents the audience with a series of mysteries, and some of them are revealed, some not. It is a film that needs the viewer's strict attention, and it also requires the viewers to think about what they have seen. The movie asks questions about identity and reality, and like the best science-fiction, it uses the "future" to comment on what is happening in society right now.
The original BLADE RUNNER became a cult movie due mainly to its cinematography, production design, and complicated screenplay. BLADE RUNNER 2049 follows in this tradition. It builds and expands upon the world created for BLADE RUNNER instead of just imitating it. By creating a believable and intriguing society, BLADE RUNNER 2049 hearkens back to the great hardcore science-fiction films of the 1970s and 1980s.
I do have to mention that this film is nearly three hours long. I've spent a lot of time in the last few years complaining about the length of modern day movies, but in this case there's a legitimate reason for the running time. Director Dennis Villeneuve takes his time, establishing the surroundings of the characters instead of indulging in rapid fire editing. You can't blame Villeneuve for showing off the exquisite cinematography of Roger Deakins, one of the film's main strengths. (The film geek within me was happy to see that the name most bandied about in the pre-release internet buzz on this film was that of Deakins, instead of any of the actors.)
BLADE RUNNER 2049 needs to be seen on the big screen, and if you want to see it that way, you'd better hurry up--the movie has already been considered a bomb by the media. But it is also a movie that will probably best be appreciated with multiple viewings, much like its predecessor. I can understand why it is not a box-office hit--it's a moody, dark film, and it makes no concessions to a mainstream audience. There's so much more I'd like to write about this movie, but I want people to discover what's in it for themselves, and decide on their own what they think about it.