This is a totally spoiler free review.
Back in 1982 one of the most influential films ever made was released that changed the face of science fiction cinema. That film was Ridley Scott‘s “Blade Runner” based on Philip K. Dick‘s 1968 novel “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” Unfortunately I didn’t get to see “Blade Runner” on the big screen at that time. Although I did get to finally see it on the big screen in its so called director’s cut form in the early 1990s. It was a print that was accidentally discovered minus Harrison Ford’s voice-over and with the added unicorn dream sequence. This was eventually refined into the definitive version, The Final Cut, in 2007. However, my first experience of “Blade Runner” was on video cassette in 1983. I was absolutely blown away by this incredible film with a unique vision of the future that was way ahead of its time. Since that time this film that unbelievably flopped on its initial cinema release has now rightly come to be regarded as the masterpiece it always was.
Over the years a sequel has been talked about many times. To be honest I really didn’t think a sequel was necessary. I was very apprehensive when I first heard one was finally being made because “Blade Runner” is one of my favourite films and I felt a sequel would ruin the original “Blade Runner“.
How wrong I was!
“Blade Runner 2049” is without a doubt one of the best sequels I have ever seen. I was genuinely relieved when it finished that it didn’t disappoint me and actually ended up far surpassing my expectations. I quite honestly was tempted to go back into the cinema to see it again that night. If it was earlier in the evening I would have. That’s never ever happened to me before.
If you’re a fan of the original and want to see the story continued, but not in a tedious carbon copy way as many sequels tend to be, I honestly do feel you’ll not be disappointed.
“Blade Runner 2049” is very respectful of the original. It doesn’t at any point ruin the original. I feel that it actually enhances it by adding extra depth to the original and made me consider some aspects in a different way. It treats the audience with respect and intelligence. Which is what I always expect from Denis Villeneuve the director of “Prisoners” (2013), “Sicario” (2015), and “Arrival” (2016). The studio were savvy enough to give him full creative freedom. Very unusual with the big studios nowadays. That faith in him clearly shows in the finished film.
With this full creative freedom he brings to “Blade Runner 2049” what he brings to all his films I’ve seen. Originality, intelligence, heart, and depth with well drawn characters you actually care about. Denis Villeneuve was the perfect and really the only choice to direct the sequel to a masterpiece. He delivers and then some. Not one frame or second of film is wasted. As with his previous film “Arrival” it actually felt like I was watching something I hadn’t seen before even though “Blade Runner 2049” is a sequel. Best of all is that I found it to be totally unpredictable.
The trailer focuses on the action, but in fact there are actually only a few action scenes. It is essentially a very thoughtful character driven piece. Which it should be. Just as the original was. To be honest “Blade Runner 2049” is a film that really does need to be experienced on the big screen to fully appreciate it. As is the case with the original.
Denis Villeneuve is without a doubt one of the best and most consistent film-makers around. He brings exactly what is needed to “Blade Runner 2049” to make it a more than worthy sequel. The film also reminded me of what an amazing actor Harrison Ford is. He is brilliantly complimented by Ryan Gosling who is as superb as always. Both are actors who convey so much depth with the need for very little dialogue. The entire cast is absolutely perfect. Some of whom only have a few scenes but manage to bring depth to their characters within these scenes. The direction, cinematography, and music are every bit as amazing as the original. It is a film of depth, heart, soul and a breath-taking dystopian vision that matches Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner“. Made by a film-maker who so obviously loves the original, but wants to expand and bring something different to the story. As can also be seen by the three short films that were also produced to compliment “Blade Runner 2049” that are well worth watching before seeing the film.
Prior to writing this review I was watching film critic Mark Kermode‘s review on YouTube. He was really emotional about how amazing he thought it was that he almost seemed like he was holding back the tears. I truthfully can relate to that. I love the original so much that I would have been disappointed more than words could express if they’d have messed it up because for me as a lifelong science fiction film fan the original “Blade Runner” was the first film I can remember along with “2001: A Space Odyssey“, “Star Wars” and “Alien“, that delivered on the promise of what a science fiction film could be.
I can assure fans of the original “Blade Runner” who are concerned about a sequel that in my honest opinion you really needn’t be because I feel “Blade Runner 2049” is a masterpiece too.
It’s the best feeling I’ve had in ages to have been blown away by a sequel, especially to a film that I have loved since the first time I watched it 34 years ago.
I honestly love “Blade Runner 2049” as much as the original.
And I will just finish by saying it again:
“Blade Runner 2049” is without a doubt one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen.
A Masterpiece Sequel to A Masterpiece.