Blade Runner 2049
I was extremely wary of this film when it was first announced. I thought the whole thing was a recipe for disaster - an unnecessary follow-up to a film that for me, is a sort of holy grail. I didn’t like the casting. The thought that the studio would just make a mockery of the original.
I am more than happy to be proved completely wrong. This film was utterly stunning from beginning to end. The sets, visuals, design etc was incredible. The acting was superb - even Jared Leto wasn’t too bad. Small screen time probably helped there. The technology was cool, the story was well-written, intelligent and thought-provoking. It didn’t feel like nearly three hours, at least for me. A total immersive world brought to life on screen. Absolutely amazing. This is a film I will want to watch over and over again.
I think the reason I like it so much was simply this: The people who created this film totally understood what made the original so good.
I only really had two issues with the film. The first, really minor I guess. The world they envisioned in 2049 didn’t seem ‘lived in’ compared to the original where there were really old, ruined buildings, piles of refuse etc. It made it all seem very believable. I’m thinking about the litter blowing along the streets, neon signs working intermittently, the grimy elevator in Deckard’s building, Pris covering herself in newspapers while waiting for Sebastian and the closing section in the original where Roy is chasing Deckard through dilapidated, rotten buildings with water dripping everywhere.
In 2049, the world of Los Angeles seemed sleek, angular and clean in a CGI way that I didn’t believe in. It felt like all the signs of human habitation had been brushed away. That’s a sobering and frightening thought if the future does indeed play out that way. Where are all the people?
The second (more problematic issue) was the soundtrack. Within the confines of the movie, it was okay ( but as a stand-alone work that you would want to listen to in the same way fans still enjoy the Vangelis work from 1982), Hans Zimmer’s score was lazy and unimaginative. When you look back at truly epic films from decades past, Ben Hur, Lawrence Of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter, E.T, Star Wars and many, many others; they had a film score that was so truly wonderful, it could survive without the film and exist on its own for decades.
A film as beautiful and memorable as Blade Runner 2049 deserved something far, far better, in my opinion.
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a stunning achievement.