“Blade Runner 2049”


Scott Larsen, Staff Writer

  Blade Runner 2049, the latest from Denis Villeneuve, is a hard sci-fi masterpiece.
  Going into this film, my expectations were already significantly high. How could they not be with a cast and crew filled with some of the most talented figures in the business today? Denis Villeneuve, the visionary director of Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Arrival, leads the dream team of the year on this epic sci-fi noir mystery. With Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, director of photography Roger
Deakins, composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch,
original Blade Runner scribe Hampton Fancher, and a powerhouse team of production designers and visual effects wizards, this film was practically set up for success.
  Acting as both a soft reboot and follow-up to the 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott, the story centers around a replicant detective named Officer K (Gosling), who tracks down old replicant models and “retires” them. For those that have seen the original film, they’ll know this was the same job Rick Deckard (Ford) had. This After discovering a pile of bones under a dead tree following an interrogation with one of these older models, we discover along with K that a human was born from a replicant, and threatens the system that the new replicant creator Niander Wallace (Leto) has put in place.
  This movie has some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in the last decade. Every single shot is perfectly framed and contains Roger Deakins’ signature beautiful quality that he delivers on every project. Both the amazing light and sound designs work together to expand on the first Blade Runner’s gorgeous and yet depressing futuristic world, and give it a life of its own.
  Almost every aspect of this film is perfect, save for one thing: it’s length. Running at 2 hours and 44 minutes, the movie definitely feels it’s length. Many people might go in expecting a non-stop action thriller, but those who have seen the original film or are aware of its divisiveness, should know that this film is a slow-burner. Instead of going the route of making this a dumb, adrenaline fueled action film (although with a talent like Villeneuve, it could possibly work), the story decided to stay true to it’s predecessor’s goal, which was to pay homage to classic film noirs of the forties. I respect Villeneuve for respecting the original Blade Runner and it’s intentions, and improving upon the qualities of the original that already were deemed sufficient.
  Hearing of this film’s lackluster numbers at the box office
it’s opening weekend, I was disappointed, although not surprised. It’s a movie that deserves to be successful in a
market littered with dumb action films, but this isn’t a film that everyone will enjoy. Like the first one, this will most likely become pretty divisive in the weeks to come.
  However, I believe that this film is still getting the recognition it deserves, because it definitely has earned it. While Villeneuve’s filmography has already managed to impress me, it is with this latest entry that he has made his way into my list of favorite directors. Although it suffers from being nearly 3 hours long and has some very minor pacing issues that occur few and far between, Blade Runner 2049 is an exceptional piece of cinema with gorgeous cinematography, honest performances, an excellent score, detailed practical sets, dark and interesting themes revolving
around humanity, and a captivating futuristic story grounded in reality. In my opinion, it is this year’s best so far, and I will be very frustrated if it does not receive an Oscar for Best Cinematography, and does not get other nominations as well.
4/4 -Scott Larsen