Step into the futuristic spectacle that is Blade Runner 2049 and prepare to be blown away.
Perfect by Design
If there was ever any questions whether Dinis Villeneuve is one of the best filmmakers working today, this feature will put them all to rest. I’ve been a huge fan of his for quite some time now and have been consistently blown away with his work. I have yet to see an even mediocre film come from him, and this is no exception. Everything about this film’s structure is absolutely immaculate. Whether it be a quiet, suspenseful standoff or an intense action sequence, this guy knows how to craft some incredible scenes that pull us right into his world. Villeneuve and Roger Deakins are very quickly becoming a legendary duo in Hollywood.
The director’s main priority on set is to get the best performances out of their actors, and everything outside of that comes second. As far as I’m concerned, Denis is a master of this. Ryan Gosling does a spectacular job in his part as the new detective driving this story. Without giving anything away, Gosling had a very difficult job to do with his part and handled the struggles his character is enduring in a very powerful way. While Jared Leto is technically the main villain of the story, Sylvia Hoeks steals the show here with a very emotional and terrifying performance as Luv. This is also the best performance I’ve seen Harrison Ford give in a very long time. You can definitely tell he’s invested in this film and he does a fantastic reprising his 1982 role as Deckard.
The Master of Light Does it Again
Roger Deakins is basically showing off at this point. This is without a doubt one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen. People will look to this in the future when studying cinematography, I guarantee it. The way Deakins uses light in each and every frame adds a whole other element of mystery, emotion, and beauty to every scene. I’ve never seen silhouettes used so incredibly well and in such a meaningful way. It’s absolutely criminal that Deakins hasn’t won an Oscar yet, but this is locked in for the cinematography Oscar. If it somehow isn’t, I will have completely lost all faith in the Academy.
I had mentioned something similar in my review of War of the Planet of the Apes regarding visual effects, but now this film might be the one to upset it (if you can even call it an upset at this point). Some of the CGI here was absolutely jaw dropping and insanely creative, especially with Ana de Armas’ character, Joi. Deakin’s work certainly helped the effects stand out and feel as real as possible, but, man, I genuinely don’t know how they pulled some of this stuff off. I would still like to see Apes take the cake here, but 2049 just made this a very interesting race.
Justice is Served
Denise has done something very rare in the industry: make a movie that does the original justice while also improving the source material. This honestly feels exactly like the world we left off from in 1982 but with very subtle improvements. They managed keep all of the sets and props (particularly the technology within the story) look and feel like it’s predecessor yet still update it enough to show the time difference in the story.
The score is also another element that pulls you right back into this world created 35 years ago. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch have created a perfect homage to original score, while still adding enough to match this film’s larger scope. As someone who enjoyed some elements of the 1982 score but didn’t enjoy others, I think this is a magnificent and tasteful score that elevates every scene. Zimmer is a master of mixing sounds and music to create atmosphere (which is exactly what the original score played with so well) and you can definitely hear his hand in this film.
Another area that I was very pleased with is the story itself, and this movie really adds to the exploration of humanity and artificial beings that the original examined in a very compelling and artistic way. Denis also managed to push the evidence of Deckard’s humanity (or lack there of) to one side while still preserving the answer to that looming “is he or isn’t he” question.
Long Run Time
Literally the only thing that I can possibly harp on is the whopping 164 minute run time. There were certainly some places that could have been cut a little shorter, but at the same time I do believe that almost everything is in this film is purposeful and essential to the story while everything else is most certainly essential to the atmosphere and tone. Together, they create something extremely impressive that I would be very timid to change. Still, I could see some people getting bored with areas of the film and willing it to speed along a little quicker. I, however, am not one of those people.
- Ryan Gosling confidently takes the helm of this movie in spectacular fashion with a very reserved and emotional performance.
- The ladies of this movie steal every scene they’re in, especially Sylvia Hoeks’s intimidating role as Luv.
- Ana de Armas effectively brings out a level innocence to both her and Gosling’s characters that is crucial to the story.
- Harrison Ford is great and gives the best performance he’s done in years.
- Denis Villeneuve has finely crafted one of the best of the year.
- An incredible showcase of talent behind the lens and in direction of his performers.
- Excellent pacing and tone throughout.
- Roger Deakins shows of his true powers with this masterclass display of cinematography.
- Jaw-dropping CGI and visual effects that completely immerse you in the stark foreshadow of the technology and industry driven world.
- Sets pieces and props harken back to the industrial look the first film captures.
- Sound design is very creative and effectively used.
- A very rich and reflective story that will keep you enthralled until the last frame.
- Great character depth and development throughout the entire story.
- Preserves the essence of the original and adds more to love about this universe.
- An excellent homage to the original score with a subtle modern touch.
- Zimmer shows again that he is a master of mixing music and sound to great a rich, spellbinding atmosphere.
- Awesome action scenes and an intriguing plot that keeps you fixed to the screen for the entire runtime.
- The most visually captivating film of the year that truly transports you to another world.
- A pure theater experience in every way.
Total Score: 30/30
Final Score: 10/10
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I never expected this to be as good as it was, but it really blew me away in every manner. This is definitely the best movie of the year in my opinion and is a can’t-miss theater experience. If you love movies, then this is one of those films that will stoke that creative fire within and will stick with you long after you walk out of the screening, yearning for more.