I’m writing this just after seeing Blade Runner 2049, so these are my initial thoughts. I want to let this movie sit for at least a few days and to avoid spoilers, so I’ll post an update later on with more of an analysis. If you haven’t already take a moment to also read up on the original Blade Runner movie review.
Set 30 years after Blade Runner, this film focuses on blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) who is investigating a case related to the disappearance of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) decades earlier. His main emotional contact throughout the film is his AI/holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas). There isn’t much more that I can say about the plot at this point because there are a LOT of twists and turns throughout the entire running time.
Like Tron: Legacy this movie manages to preserve the visual style of the original but update it using new technology for special effects. The world presented is larger and as well realized as in the 1982 film, but also more polished and slightly lacking the more grungy realism. Longer shots and scenes do somewhat make up for this by giving it more of a feeling of being in real-time. It’s also better lit than the original, allowing the audience to see what’s on screen more clearly.
The performances are all pretty good, but de Armas as Joi steals the spotlight. The themes of life evolving as AI as portrayed through her character I found more interesting than those surrounding the replicants, though part of that is from the previous movie already exploring this aspect.
I did greatly enjoy this movie while watching it, possibly more than the original. The plot was more engaging and had higher stakes, and I empathized more with K than I did with Deckard in Blade Runner. There are some plot elements brought up which I feel were never given enough weight to convince me to care about them the way the director probably intended, and to be honest one in particular I found distracting at some points. Luckily, there is so much more to focus on that it’s not a hindrance to enjoying the movie.
I’m not sure if Blade Runner 2049 offers the same food for thought as the original, but it was certainly more entertaining. Please check back in a few weeks where I will post a more in-depth review with spoilers.
Dana’s Rating (for now): 4/5 ★★★★
Hanna’s Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★