Blade Runner 2049, or BR 2049 for short, is a 2017 neo-noir sci-fi film, directed by Denis Villeneuve to a screenplay by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. With a nod to its predecessor, yet forming its own original story, BR 2049 was, for me, as a fan of the 1982 Ridley Scott Blade Runner, a pleasant surprise. Not as dark as the 1982 movie, it is still noir plenty, and maintains a good balance between old and new.
Running a little too long -- at close to three hours, where two would have sufficed, BR 2049 is visually striking. It’s production design and CGI effects imaginative, yet realistically matching the film’s theme. Unlike many current flicks who get lost in their own Special Effects, BR 2049 is also compelling with respect to its storyline and characters. Villeneuve’s directorial touch is, no doubt, key, maximizing a well-thought out script.
I admit that when I first heard Ryan Gosling will play the lead in the new Blade Runner, I was taken aback. Gosling is, for the most part, a fine actor, but I just didn’t see him fit this role. Yet here too, I was quite content with the results. Gosling, as well as the entire cast, including Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis to mention a few, was right on point. Harrison Ford’s role, which was made to look quite major in the film’s previews, does not take much screen-time, yet he is vital to the plot, and his raspy acting matches his character.
As a follow-up film, BR 2049 it better than most sequels I can recall of recent years. It builds on the original, but rather than repeat the same formula, it is taking the story in another direction; most uncommon with sequels made in play-it-safe Hollywood. I cannot say that BR 2049 surpasses the original. That 1982 film had an edge that the BR 2049 was unable to recreate. Yet it is quite satisfying, and that is saying a lot. The ending sets us up for a third film, and if it would be as good as this one, I say, bring it on!