As a sequel to perhaps the greatest science-fiction film of all time, “Blade Runner 2049” has a lot to live up to. And, surprisingly, it does, in one of the year’s best films. Ryan Gosling plays Agent K, a replicant blade runner who is assigned to track down and kill Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning from the original). He soon discovers that, through Deckard, he may hold the key to a secret that could change history forever.
This film cost $150 million and looks it. Society on Earth is barely surviving an environmental onslaught, but it is still recognizably a “Blade Runner” world. There is a big Sony presence in the future, and a gigantic hologram of a naked woman (which must look great in 3D). The line between human and androids has further blurred.
Harrison Ford is much better in this film than he was in the first one, exuding warmth, humanity, and purpose. I also really liked Jared Leto as the sinister, blind android manufacturer, and Robin Wright as K’s understanding superior. Besides being excellent science fiction, the film is also a mystery and a film noir. As with the first one, the ending is surprisingly moving and provides a real emotional catharsis. Hans Zimmer’s score (with an assist from Vangelis) is his best in years.
If I have a complaint, it is that the film, photographed by Roger Deakins, is not as aesthetically pleasing as the original. That’s a small gripe, though, for a film that accomplishes so much. “Blade Runner 2049” is a must-see.
Finally, a sequel that I want to see: “Blade Runner 2049” looks awesome! The new teaser trailer features Vangelis’ music (although he’s not scoring the film) and a violent standoff between Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in a dusty, environmentally devastated future.
Here are some reasons why the film will be good: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Jared Leto are terrific actors who could potentially save even a disappointing film. 2. Denis Villeneuve is a very good director who cares about his work, as evidenced by “Arrival” and “Sicario.” 3. Hampton Fancher, screenwriter of the original film, wrote this one, and Ridley Scott is producing. 4. The trailer indicates that this will recapture the noir feel of the original film and surely NOT be a soulless special FX spectacle.
On the other hand, here’s why the film might suck: 1. Jared Leto’s films are widely variable in quality, from the greatness of “Dallas Buyers’ Club” to the formula dreck of “Suicide Squad.” 2. David Webb Peoples, the OTHER writer of the first film, is not back for this. 3. Harrison Ford’s recent “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” sequels have not been that great.
Of course, the big question is: How are they going to explain bringing Ford back? He was supposed to be a replicant with a 3-year life span, according to the Director’s Cut. Also, Ford reportedly didn’t like the first movie, so why is he doing this one?
Despite these issues, I’d much rather see this movie than “XXX 3,” “John Wick 2,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” combined. This is a sequel to a classic that just might match or exceed the original film. “Blade Runner 2049” looks like a winner that would make Philip K. Dick proud!