Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Blade Runner 2049</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, June 2018) I suppose that given my positive-but-not-enthusiastic reaction to the original Blade Runner, the same is true and unsurprising for its sequel Blade Runner 2049. There are plenty of things I like about it—it’s mature, cerebral Science Fiction handled with a great deal of skill; it pays homage to the original film while expanding its themes; it features some impressive visuals thanks to Roger Deakins, and it does suggest a lot of depth to its imagined future. Alas, I can’t quite be enthusiastic about it. For one thing, it’s yet another dystopian vision of the future, and it feels far less distinctive than even the now-cliché original. The level of violence is high, the character motivations are opaque, and the final fight drags on and on. (Actually, much of the film drags on and on.)  Harrison Ford is brought back from the mothballs in the latest example of his latest “hey, I used to be in all those great movies!” tour, but he’s allowed his wrinkles whereas Sean Young is digitally re-created to youthful perfection. There’s also a sense of intense déjà vu to the point of meaninglessness to the themes taken on by the film—it doesn’t help that in-between a dozen movies released between 2010 and 2014, as well as two seasons of Westworld, there’s only so much you can say about humanity and its android creations. What’ the point of resurrecting Blade Runner after twenty-five years if there’s not a whole lot to say about it? At least Ryan Gosling is maturing nicely as an actor, and there are plenty of good supporting performance—from Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and others—to make the viewing interesting despite the far too long running time. I couldn’t be happier that the current master of filmed science fiction happens to be a French-Canadian, but I’d like Denis Villeneuve to make more movies like Arrival and fewer retreads of tired old properties. I suspect that twenty-five years from now, we will still talk about the 1982 movie and not really about the sequel.

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