“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” Blade Runner 2049 is the cinematic marvel that we never knew we needed. Not only is it a great science fiction film but it also manages to earn its right to sit alongside the original iconic classic by delivering a cinematic triumph with its visuals, sounds and story.
Its success should be primarily attributed to the crew that had been assembled and entrusted with delivering this project. It was essential to regain some of the services that were so pivotal to what made Blade Runner such a cult hit. With director Ridley Scott returning as an executive producer and Hampton Fancher remaining on writing duties it would ensure a certain level of continuity, care and nostalgia. Although Scott would be returning for this sequel, he passed the mantel on to visionary director Denis Villeneuve, which has turned out to be an inspired decision. By embracing the original in terms of style and tone but also opting to make his own mark by building upon this world, he has seamlessly combined the old and the new. The mysteries, intrigue and deep philosophical themes remain but it also attempts to explore further questions about existence, creation and what it is to be human.
We pick up the story thirty years after the events of the first film, following one of LAPD’s next generation of Blade Runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who is searching the California area for rouge Replicants to destroy/retire. However, he unearths a long buried secret, which could plunge what is left of society into chaos. K’s discovery sends him on a quest to find former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for the past thirty years, with profound consequences.
Villeneuve prioritises the visual and auditory hallmarks, which stood out so much from the original film. Visually this film is eyewateringly beautiful which is all down to Roger Deakins’ cinematography. His unique perspective captures a majestic battle of light verses dark amidst a backdrop of candy neon advertisements and dystopian landscapes. The result is mesmerising and manages to transport you directly to the alternate world. Composers Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer envoke memories of Vangelis‘ theme with their atmospheric and futuristic synthesised score.
All of these elements combine to make Blade Runner 2049 a rich, transporting and emotionally satisfying experience. This is a blockbuster that moves at its own methodical pace. Not only does it build upon the original in terms of its themes and tone, it does so with dazzling style. Blade Runner 2049 is a meticulously put together dystopian noir that probes big philosophical questions and evokes so many of the nostalgic feels from the original iconic film. Yet here it expands the world by opening it up, adding its own ideas whilst maintaining its mystique and intrigue. Not only is this a fantastic sequel it is a masterful piece of science fiction filmmaking.