BLADE RUNNER 2049 took me back to one of my favorite dystopias and a movie I absolutely loved back in the 80s and have rewatched every few years since. 2049 does thorough justice to the original, continuing its story, atmosphere, and sense of tragedy, while creating something new. With BLADE RUNNER 2049, ARRIVAL, and SICARIO under his belt, Denis Villeneuve is now one of my favorite Hollywood directors.
In 2049, the Tyrell Corporation has failed, but a new corporation has taken over to build replicants (Wallace Corporation, headed by a creepy Jared Leto, who has a terrific replicant assistant who does his dirty work). These replicants do the dangerous jobs nobody else can or will do, resulting in a slave class. K, a replicant (Ryan Gossling, who does a great job in the role despite my fears) is a “blade runner” agent, a police officer who tracks and terminates rogue androids. He uncovers evidence that a child was born to a replicant and human parent. For both humanity and replicants, this is a game-changing event that could trigger a replicant uprising. K’s investigation puts him in the crosshairs of the police, replicants, and Wallace Corporation, and leads him to Agent Deckard and the truth about himself and his reality.
2049 is as moody/atmospheric, filled with eye-candy, and powerful in its ideas as the original. Like Deckard, K is a tragic figure doomed to question his reality and everything he assumes is real. Future technology such as personal digital assistants designed as loving companions is perfectly weaved into the storytelling. The ending is as satisfying as it is tragic, as K embraces his reality and a cause bigger than himself, finding his humanity and authentic connection in the process. I particularly liked that Harrison Ford wasn’t expected to phone it in like he did in his reprisal of Han Solo; he cared and worked hard for the role, and unlike STAR WARS, there’s real meat and purpose to his character.
No criticisms, I clearly loved it. It’s a long movie, but I enjoyed the way the run time allowed the story to breathe and build gravitas through the incredible sets, effects, music, and atmosphere.