One of the most anticipated movies of the year. A highly guarded press tour left critics in the dark and saw its stars struggling to get through interviews. Each trailer giving away less information than the last. With all this secretiveness, there’s just one main question: does Blade Runner 2049 live up to the hype?
In short: yes. It was never going to be as ground-breaking as the original Blade Runner. The 1982 film is widely revered as one of the best sci-fi films ever made. But as a sequel, 2049 works well to bridge the thirty-five-year gap between films, and the countless technological advances that have come about since the original’s release. Villeneuve builds on Ridley Scott’s original grand cinematography in a way that makes 2049’s whopping 163-minute runtime more than worthwhile. It never feels like you’re wasting your time watching the film; every shot is visually stunning. Maybe it’s just because after studying HSC English the original is imprinted onto my brain, but there are so many subtle visual references to the original that you really do feel like you’re back in Scott’s dystopic Los Angeles.
I won’t give too much away about the plot. Having seen the very first session anywhere in the Eastern Suburbs on the day of its release (10am at The Ritz), I can guarantee 2049 is better without spoilers. Going in with basically no expectations of where the film would take me, I was engaged for all two-and-a-half hours. Even when I thought I’d figured it all out, I was almost instantly proved wrong. Crucially, Ryan Gosling, usually known for his romantic and/or comedic prowess, goes above and beyond as the brooding K. He matches a grumpy Harrison Ford incredibly well, making you forget that drama and action aren’t his usual thing.
While U.S. box office results might indicate that not everyone is impressed with Blade Runner 2049, don’t be deceived. Villeneuve had huge shoes to fill, and he’s created a masterpiece that more than lives up to expectations. Not only is this a great sequel, but it stands strongly on its own two feet as an awe-inspiring film.