‘Blade Runner: 2049’ is joyous reminder of why I love movies.
Minutes into this movie – I knew I was watching a masterpiece!
A reminder of falling in love with cinema long ago as child. Of why I set aside 3 hours of my life to be thrilled, to be inspired. To watch artistic creation of the HIGHEST quality. Blade Runner 2049 is a Master Class of movie-making. It DEMANDS to be seen on a large screen, in High Definition 4K quality.
Blade Runner 2049 (‘2049’) is a direct descendant of the original ‘Blade Runner’. Taking place in a not-so distant future, Los Angeles is now a fascist-technological dystopia, bathed in hues of grayish blues, thick with overpopulated loneliness. A world of inescapable social media (ever-present with a delightful ‘Peter and the Wolf’ ringtone). A world of bio-engineered wonders and artificially Intelligent companionship.
Humanity is confined to cities packed in tight cubicles, surviving in what appears to be a never-ending nuclear winter.
This is what the Greek titan Prometheus has wrought upon mankind.
2049 represents advancements through slavery and unchecked technology, consequently moving forward while relegating humanity back to dumpster-diving and scrap heaps. It is exactly as Albert Einstein forebode with nuclear warfare; “whatever happens during WWIII, the next war will be fought with sticks and stones”.
Yet and still, humanity continues amidst a droning buzz of machinery, surrounded by commercialized tech. All crammed into a cluttered migraine of existence.
A bit of Steampunk. A bit of Wall-E.
And yet, despite my bleak description – this movie is absolutely BEAUTIFUL to watch.
Learn these names: Denis Villenueve (director). Roger Deakins (cinematographer). (the incomparable) Hans Zimmer, along with Benjamin Wallfisch (musical composers).
Thank these auteurs for delivering a cinematic marvel. In MY opinion, it is worth it just to LOOK at. It is worth it for the atmospheric score by itself. From the soulless rains of Los Angeles, to the techno-punk underbelly, to the Martian dreamscape that was once Las Vegas – The senses are never bored. The eyes and ears are kept busy the entire trip.
All man-crushing aside, Ryan Gosling carries this movie with ease as our existential protagonist – an LAPD ‘Blade Runner’, a special unit cop tasked to hunt down and capture runaway human replicates. Gosling’s presence keeps eyes glued to the screen – all brooding and framed in a stylish, weather-beaten trench.
He, along with Sylivia Hoeks (as Luv) and Jared Leto (Niander Wallace), escort us along this amazing journey.
And DAMN if ‘2049’ isn’t a FEAST of a movie!
There is a LOT of meat on this bone, slow-roasted to perfection and savory, with a multitude of flavors. The plot takes it’s time to unfold, and like a well-prepared meal – all compliments to the chef(s) of this visual masterpiece.
This is not fast-food. This is a full course which takes to enjoy.
Sure… 2049 clocks in at a hearty 2hrs and 40min. But this is a well-paced 160min, constantly moving us forward through a dark mystery. Easily the best 3 hours I’ve spent staring at a screen since James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ (2009).
Everything is placed before us as a hearty balance of stylish substance. Well thought out. Expertly crafted and presented as a labor of love.
If I MUST point out a flaw, it would be spending a bit more time on the Replicate rebellion.
Somewhere, just ‘off-camera’ we are made aware of a massive gathering of human replicates, fighting for their humanity – their ‘human rights’ – which in itself is bathed in irony. The timeliness is just too uncanny NOT to mention. Considering recent events in America, suddenly, a protest pales in comparison.
The original Blade Runner (1982) is a revered Sci-Fi classic, preserved in the National Film Registry as a ‘movie of cultural significance’. I submit that ‘2049’ is an improved continuation of that universe.
For those who, like me, love Sci-Fi and movie epics, Blade Runner: 2049 is Essential viewing. Box office be damned….this is a modern classic that will be discussed decades from now.
Here are my early predictions for (2018) Oscar nominations:
Best Sound editing (winner)
Best film editing
Best sound mixing (winner)
Best original score
Best Cinematography (winner)
Best Costume Design
Best production design (winner)