Review: Blade Runner 2049 (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: “A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.”

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Story

I was hooked with the narrative as the film opened up with credits that explained what had happened in the 30 years that had passed from the previous film. The events that occurred, such as the production of a new breed of replicants (genetically engineered or artificial beings created as an exact replica of a particular human being) and a man that had abolished famine with artificial farming, intrigued me. I really wanted to know the consequences of these enhancements.

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At around 15 minutes of the film, the main plot begins as a young blade runner uncovers an incredible secret that motivates him to find the protagonist of the first film, which is Deckard. That secret is a spoiler and all I’m going to say is I did not love that choice of direction for the story. It felt simple and predictable, excellent execution, but nothing that blew me away. I love the noir style, but I thought the pacing in this film was bad. I don’t mind long films at all, there are slow films I can watch that I think have amazing pacing, they manage to keep me engaged with the story and feel shorter than in reality. With Blade Runner 2049, I figured out the main plot right away and it just felt like it took forever to reach it’s main point. I was, unfortunately, bored with this story.

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The climax felt underwhelming. Emotionally, this didn’t do anything for me like I thought it would because Denis Villeneuve has compelled me as a storyteller before with Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival (All masterpieces). The lack of backstory and motivations for the majority of characters made them less captivating to me. I will say, the transformation arc for the main character is really wonderful as it really embraces and enlightens the human spirit.

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Cinematography

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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There is no doubt in my mind that this film had some legendary cinematography, it’s orgasmic for the eyes. The colors, the silhouettes, the lighting, the framing, etc. Roger Deakins is a God when it comes to cinematography and his work here is enough reason to purchase full price tickets for IMAX. See this on the biggest screen you can. The images speak for themselves!!! It’s jaw dropping. JUST WOW!!!

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Performances

Ana de Armas was the standout for me. This is her breakout role for sure because she brought so much vulnerability and depth to her complex character. She had to convince me that she was a hologram that was more than just code, but programmed for artificial love, possibly surpassing that to feel real love. She was extremely authentic!

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Sylvia Hoeks was powerful and honestly could have been the main antagonist if they didn’t just give her the short end of the stick as a side kick. Her character had many emotional layers, which I didn’t fully understand, but I believed the urgency of her actions. She was immensely terrifying, calm, and intimidating.

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Harrison Ford delivers a performance that was just awesome to see. Deckard is much different from the first film, he’s had to suppress his feelings and be on the run with a target on his back. I saw the damage that has been done to his character and it’s great to see Harrison legitimately act again. Denis Villeneuve gets the best out of his actors!

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Ryan Gosling is the main character and I thought his performance was just good. I feel like Denis chose him for this role because Gosling is usually stoic in his films. I saw no differences in the acting choices he made between his characters K and Driver. It’s vital that he makes me believe this is an entirely unique character and I didn’t think he was successful in achieving that.

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Jared Leto was the weakest part of this film and I love him as an actor. His character is blind and that aspect of his acting was disappointing. He nailed the eccentric characteristic and that’s probably because, well Jared Leto is eccentric. He felt too similar to himself, especially when his character had a God complex.

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Music

The soundtrack is absolutely outstanding. It sounded very familiar to Vangelis’ original soundtrack as it should have…and when they used Tears in Rain, I got chills.

Themes:

The lessons I got from Blade Runner 2049: Dying for the right cause is the most human thing we can do, sometimes to love someone you have to be a stranger, to be born is to have a soul, love and memories are the greatest gifts anyone or anything can have.

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Overall

I think this film is great, but because I didn’t find the story that entertaining, I don’t think it’s a masterpiece. Those of you who think otherwise, that’s amazing, that’s why I love cinema, because it can make others happy just like it does for me. I wanted to love this film so much especially with the masterful filmmakers that collaborated on this, but I can only be honest with how I really felt. I do love the questions it makes us ask ourselves, what makes us human and how can we strive to reach our potential as the best people that we can all be. Blade Runner 2049 is a must see! 8/10

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Grade: B

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