Out in the theaters mere months ago, the sequel to the action-noir classic “Blade Runner” has proven itself as a piece of its own. While retaining the same basic environment and lore as the original, “Blade Runner: 2049” appears to be not so much a sequel as it is its own movie. Blade Runner is directed by Denis Villeneuve, and is produced by Warner Bros. As of December 1st, the movie has earned just over $250 million from the box office.
The plot of “Blade Runner: 2049” is simplistic, yet hooks you and drags you in to watch the rest. After the collapse of the corporation responsible for creating the older models of Replicants, or artificial humans, which had been prone to rebellious and violent escapades, a new series of Replicants is created by a new company. These Replicants, as in the last movie, has integrated Replicants into their society as slaves or personal servants. The world has descended into ruin, trading its predecessor’s more flashy setting for a dreary, more dystopian look. Officer K, a Replicant tasked with “retiring” older models of Replicants, discovers a secret that could strain or shatter the boundaries between humans and Replicants. This leads him on a path to Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner who has been missing for over 30 years. Together, these two find more anomalies about the relationship between humans and Replicants, as well as their own lives.
While the story can move at a slow pace, it is enticing and easily attains the attention of the viewer. Its ending, while easy to understand, is still a bit ambiguous, and leaves a few questions unanswered.
The technical details of the movie were impressive, to say the least.. The directing, by Denis Villeneuve, managed to relate to the source material while creating a movie of its own; this complements the cinematography, CGI, and score, which were impressive in their own respects, although the movie relied incredibly heavily on CGI. The casting of A-List actors like Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford was an amazing choice, and their independent and interdependent performances evoked as much interest and emotion as if the scenes were real.
In comparison to its source material, however, “Blade Runner: 2049” misses the mark. The original “Blade Runner” was only realized for its philosophical panache in 1992, when its final cut was released. It shows subtle foreshadowing and allusions to modern society with its dystopian, neon-advertisement filled city of San Francisco. This, as well as the thought-provoking climax of the movie and the playfully ambiguous ending, has left people to discuss and debate the movie for over 25 years. Unfortunately, “Blade Runner: 2049” never seems to achieve this effect; it trades these allusions and subtleties for a more action-driven linear plot, with its twists clearly explained. These differences subsequently set “Blade Runner” 2049 apart from its predecessor, ultimately making the movie seem like less of a sequel and more of its own movie. Apart from keeping the same lore as the original, the movie’s more linear and action-driven plot drives it away from “Blade Runner”.
While seemingly less of a sequel than it is its own movie, overall, “Blade Runner: 2049” is an incredibly consummate film that shows the collective prowess of the director, actors, and the rest of the team who worked on the movie. It’s no “Blade Runner”, but it sets itself aside as a quality movie of the modern era worthy of the Blade Runner title.