The first time I saw Blade Runner (1982) was probably around 1983 or 1984, it was whenever the film found itself released on VHS (thats video cassettes for those new generation people) and whilst I did like the film, I didnt learn to appreciate just how much of a great film it was, for a few years after that. Since then Ive watched the Ridley Scott directed film dozens of times and in several versions. From the Theatrical Cut (with voiceover), to the Directors Cut (without voiceover) and more recently The Final Cut (without voiceover but also a few added technical tweaks to brush up some of the visuals.But whichever version you watch, you surely have to appreciate that its a classic and a damn fine film thats wonderfully made.
When the film Blade Runner 2049 was announced (a sequel to the original film), I was a little nervous. How would it compare to a film that was like no other at the time of its release. Could Blade Runner 2049 manage to be a film like no other in a time when its super hard to release a film thats different. Well director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and the crew have pulled it off. Blade Runner 2049 is a film that financially didnt do as well as it should have done at the box office, and perhaps this is down to modern audiences not begging for a revisit to the world of Blade Runner, or perhaps the near 3 hr running time put people off. I just dont know. But the film is easily one of the highlights of my film viewing this year and is a visual masterpiece, not only with its set design, but its soundtrack (another master stroke by Hans Zimmer, joined by Benjamin Wallfisch) and the gorgeous cinematography by the always reliable Roger Deakins.
Storyline wise (and I wont go into that too much), you dont need to have seen the 1982 Blade Runner to be able to follow Blade Runner 2049, although there are a handful of nods to the Ridley Scott directed film that did put a smile on my face. One such moment had me chuckle, and then whilst explaining to Annette (who watched the film with me) why I was chuckling, then another such moment popped up on screen to I explained why that too made me smile. There are also some smaller roles in the film that tip their hat to the 1982 film (and no I dont mean Harrison Ford)
The cast is top notch with Ryan Gosling taking centre stage in his best role since Drive (in my opinion) as ‘K’, the Blade Runner who finds himself involved in a case that takes him all over one of the most visually stunning cinematic journeys of the year. He is perfectly cast in this film. Also in the cast is of course Harrison Ford (revisiting the role of Rick Deckard, a man now in hiding and trying to live ‘off the grid’, and Jared Leto as the mysterious Niander Wallace who I guess you could call the villain of the film,
The film is most definitely what they call a ‘slow burner’, and even though there are action scenes in the film, they are few and far between. Blade Runner 2049 is a visual and storyline film which brings you right in at the start and leaves you only when its done with you, over 160 minutes later to the end credits. Its a film that you should make sure that you are awake for, so if you sit down on a Friday night around 9pm and you are even a little bit sleepy, then please save Blade Runner 2049 for another day. You will miss out on a classic. Make sure you are 100% awake. Trust me. Youll thank me for it.
Blade Runner 2049 is out now on all formats. Treat yourself