Phew, finally back from LA; land of movies, television, pop culture, magic, and Harvey Weinstein.
So naturally I will be returning with a movie review. And what better movie to see in LA than Blade Runner 2049! I mean it is set in dystopian LA, the movie was actually made in LA, I saw the original Blade Runner last week, and I happened to be in LA.
And you what? The movie was pretty darn good.
The movie was a complete homage to the original, in both the audio and visual sense.
The score, written by our friend Hans Zimmer and some guy named Benjamin Wallfisch, were commissioned to write this on a moment’s notice. But oh what a moment it was. They really captured the original synthetic 80’s feel of the original score by Vangelis (Chariots of Fire fame) without being a direct copy. The music was modernized and exactly fit what this movie was going for; same feel but not the same.
The visuals were in the same vane; an homage without being derivative. The 1982 version was very much ahead of its time. The futuristic look of LA still looks futuristic to the modern eye. The 2017 version has the same dystopian look but with more depth. So yes, this movie is a visual delight.
And yes, this is a sequel in every way. The premise plays off the end of the last one, just set 30 years in the future. The story arc runs parallel to the original as well as the overall feel; a true detective film set in a noir environment. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard; the confused human….or android….or somewhere in between. Even Sean Young makes a digital appearance.
Wait a second here! So why do I like this movie, a movie that is very similar to the original in both ambiance and plot? I didn’t care much for the first one!! And that is after 5 viewings as well.
Well, it is not that I didn’t like the original. In fact I respect it a lot. I just wish it was more. Blade Runner 2049 is more. There is more of a sci-fi element to it. There are more existential questions asked in this film. Overall, this film was more ambitious and had more meat on the bone than the original. Hence me liking it more.
But to be honest, just a tad more. Just as the best parts of Blade Runner were the best parts of Blade Runner 2049, the lesser parts of Blade Runner were the lesser parts of Blade Runner 2049. Sure, this sequel was a heftier meal, but not hefty enough. The world building felt incomplete. The look of the world is awesome, but very little explanation and reason was offered. There is not a ton of depth to the world or the plot. I feel like there is this great potential to create this epic sci-fi world with interesting characters in a complex world with a compelling plot. But what you are left with is something very very close to that, but not completely fleshed out.
In sum, I say see it. See it on the big screen with big sound. But hold your expectations in check. I don’t think it is the essential sci-fi modern classic it could have been.