Blade Runner 2049
3D Movie Review Written By Adolph Vega
The 3D visuals for this movie are subtle and limited in scope. Most of the time I forgot the 3D was present because it’s such a minor aspect of this movie. At times certain parts of the environment will appear farther or closer away to the viewer. The 3D depth is limited to only a few layers. Some scenes with rain or snow look especially nice in 3D as the partial effects give the viewer the illusion of being emerged within the scene. Other times the 3D is used to highlight the actors faces during close-ups. The 3D helps make the actors appear more realistic and give the viewer a better sense of their emotions. Artistically the 3D is nice addition to this movie, but I just don’t care. I really didn’t gain much of anything by watching this movie in 3D. It’s not a terrible 3D presentation but it’s not all that interesting. Overall the 3D is just too subtle and too forgettable to recommend.
Final Verdict: Weak 3D, 2D Recommended
Blade Runner 2049 is a fascinating movie and a stunning sequel.
Before I discuss this new movie, I need to quickly talk about the original Blade Runner. The original Blade Runner (1982) is a hugely influential science fiction movie . To be honest I am not a big fan of the original Blade Runner. I found the original Blade Runner to be slow and pretentious. I was born after the release (1983) so everything I heard about the original Blade Runner was based on the post release hype. I do enjoy science fiction, and I do enjoy movies that make you think, but I could not enjoy the original Blade Runner movie. The story of Blade Runner is based on a book from Phillip K Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) which I never read. I went into this sequel with an open mind and hoping that I could enjoy 2049 on its own merit. I am happy to report that Blade Runner 2049 is a vastly superior movie compared to its predecessor.
The story of Blade Runner 2049 continues the narrative of the original movie and builds upon it. Sadly Blade Runner 2049 is dependent on its predecessor and barely makes any sense if you have not watched that original movie. The film starts with a few blocks of text on the screen. The text is a little small but it gives the viewer a huge amount of backstory. This backstory fills the gap in between the two Blade Runner movies . The use of several blocks of text to start a movie is far from the best way to introduce this universe. The movie takes place in a bleak futuristic city of Los Angeles. Ryan Gosling is K an android who is the Blade Runner and works for the Los Angeles police department. As a Blade Runner K must discontinue(kill) older model androids (replicants) who refuse to be slaves for humanity. K is a newer type of android who is not supposed to have free will. The movie follows K as he discovers the truth about the replicants and their evolution . This movie discusses many deep philosophical themes such as the concepts of free will, love, humanity, slavery , and more. Is it moral to use robots/androids as slaves when it's obvious that they are intelligent conscious beings? The movie is presented as a dramatic thriller that slowly unravels its mysteries. The movie is heavy with meaning and symbolism yet finds a way to make an interesting compelling narrative. The movie knows how to handle the deeper elements of the story but never feels overly preachy. At times the movie can be slow paced but overall it knows how to keep things flowing. The world of Blade Runner 2049 is bleak and dire, but I was never bored by it.
The characters within this movie do a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. Ryan Gosling as K gives a masterful performance. K might be an android but he has intelligence and commands the attention of the viewer. K doesn't act human but doesn't act overly robotic either. It’s difficult to explain but he walks the line between human and machine and gives one of the best performances of his career. Joi is the holographic girlfriend of K and is an amazing character. The special effects for Joi are simply incredible and are a major aspect of the character and how she is portrayed on screen. I have never seen any work of fiction that has made a holographic character so compelling and interesting. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard and is mesmerizing on screen. Jared Leto is Niander Wallace who is the mastermind behind the newer more advanced androids. His screen time is limited but he oozes charisma every second he is on screen and is an incredibly threating individual. Some of the characters are lacking depth but overall the acting is excellent with many interesting characters. I really enjoyed the entire cast of this movie and found all the performances to be strong and well done.
The movie is gorgeous to look at both because of the special effects and the excellent cinematography. The visuals within this movie are spectacular. The world of Blade Runner looks lived in, realistic and authentic. I never questioned the computer graphics or the special effects within this movie. I loved how technology was showcased within this movie. Technology is ever-present in this world, but it doesn't always work correctly. The movie is well shot and knows how to show off its gorgeous scenery. The action scenes are few and far between but I found them to be gripping and fun to watch and easy to follow. The visual design of this movie is rich and is well constructed.
The movie deserves high praise but I did have some problems with it. One aspect I found strange within this movie was the excessive amount of female nudity. I have nothing against the beauty that is the female form, I have no problem with nudity on scene, but its overdone in this movie . The many nude women are beautiful and the shots are tasteful but it feels unnecessary for this story . Another aspect I found perplexing was a sex scene in the middle of the movie. I found the scene to be incredible to watch because of the special effects and interesting execution, but it was totally random. The scene is very sexy and well shot but is totally out of place and not earned for the characters involved. This scene leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. I also had problems with other scenes near the conclusion of the movie. Many aspects of the final act are lacking context for the viewer and it seems overly bloated. With a movie that is nearly three hours long, it feels like the final act was rushed. The durability of the androids/replicants is also something left ambiguous. I never really know how badly damaged any of the characters really are. The issues I have with this movie are minor and don't dramatically hurt the whole movie. This movie is very close to being perfect so many of my critiques can be considered nitpicking, but they bothered me enough to feel compelled to mention.
In the end, I still loved my time with Blade Runner 2049. The story is amazing and successful resurrects Blade Runner for the modern era. I found the characters to be fascinating and the acting performances to be excellent. I had some problems with the movie but what I enjoyed greatly outweigh any negative aspects. Overall Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best movies of 2017 and it shouldn't be missed.
Final Verdict: 9 / 10, Editors Choice Award
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After further thought I have updated this review to include an Editor's Choice Award for this movie. The more I thought about this movie, the more I like it (not enough to give it a 10) but I felt this movie is truly something special and shouldn't be missed.