Blade Runner 2049
Ever since it was announced that a sequel to my favorite Sci-fi film was in production I have been excited and concerned. I was excited to see a story I love get a new life. Its was also refreshing that in a time of movie redo’s this would build on the original. But, I was also concerned that tackling a sequel to a movie that consistently shows up on nearly every Top 10 list of its genre wouldn’t live up to it predecessor. My wife and I saw the movie last night. At the end my enthusiasm produced tears, and my concerns lay in the dust. Blade Runner 2049 is a masterpiece. At some point during the 2 hours and 49 minute running time I realized I was watching my new favorite movie.
Blade Runner 2049 not only props up the original theme with an original conclusion, it captures your imagination with stunning visuals and thunderous and emotional soundtrack. A great deal of thought went into creating a world from the perspective of the first movie. This is Los Angeles thirty years into the future of Blade Runner 2019 rather than a re-imagining of that world with from a 21st century perspective.
Where the movie fails it in the role of Wallace, played by Jared Leto. This is not a knock on Leto’s acting but rather a criticism of the character itself. Unlike his predecessor Tyrell, Wallace’s vision for his creation appears to manifest itself from the perspective of a mad scientist with a god complex. The first scene with Wallace is at best confusing and at worst disturbing. As for the remainder of Wallace’s impact on the story he could have been relegated to the “Man behind the Curtain” and the movie would have been better for it. If I could have my way in the cutting room every scene with Leto would be left on the floor.
There was a point during the movie that I considered that some scenes felt a bit too long. I explored this thought during the next extended scene. I came to the conclusion that the scenes may be a bit drawn out but it was intentional. By doing this, the viewer is allowed the time to completely immerse themselves into the scene. With this revelation I readjusted my sitting position and took in every frame (my wife said I watched the whole movie leaned forward in my chair with my chin propped up A’la “The Thinker” pose)
First of all, the soundtrack is LOUD! It’s presence cannot be ignored and its purpose as important as any line of script or actors performance. Using the soundtrack in this way makes it as much an actor as Ryan Gosling or Harrison Ford. And for me, Blade Runner 2049 could not be a success if the soundtrack did not pay proper respect to the work Vangelis did on the original soundtrack. His score is as much a part of Blade Runner as any of its other moving parts. From the opening second Hans Zimmer (composer for Blade Runner 2049) weaves notes of Vangelis’ haunting chords. Zimmer makes sure that Blade Runner 2049 is his work. He respectfully asserts his interpretation while honoring Vangelis. And in a moment of sublime artistic timing Zimmer steps back and turns the stage over to his predecessor. It’s in this moment that a tear came to my eye, like Tears In The Rain. My emotions got the best of me.
It is not necessary to watch the first film to understand Blade Runner 2049, but I strongly recommend you do. Also, three vignettes were released last month that fill in the gap between the years 2019 (time of the first movie) and 2049. These are well worth watching and they give nothing away. In fact, nothing I saw in any press release, trailer…etc. over the course of the last year gave away anything remotely significant to the plot of the story. Fans of the first movie will not be disappointed.
Let me know what you think after you see Blade Runner 2049. I’d love to hear your take on the movie. You can share it here in the comments below or reach out to me on twitter.
Blade Runner 2049 in theatres now.