Blade Runner 2049 is a truly immersive experience

Kelvin Reese
October 4, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 review by Paul Heath, October 2017.

Let's get something out of the way - the first Blade Runner was not a ideal movie. Recent Deakins nominations came from films like Sicario, Unbroken, and Prisoners, which failed to crack Oscar's biggest category, and while Deakins did shoot 2007's Best Picture victor No Country for Old Men, he was nominated against his own work on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and that split bid lost to There Will Be Blood's Robert Elswit.

While the film grew in stature and become a cult hit over the years, it was never seen as a flawless production. Releasing in 1982 It's a film that shows a look into the future that can still be watched today with awe and inspiration. The script written by original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (Logan) effectively pushes its predecessor's ideas about the nature of emotion, consciousness, and what it even means to be human/alive forward, in a way that makes sense given the pre-established "rules" of the Blade Runner universe. Drawn out, opaque and nearly punishingly obtuse, it can be a slog unless you're in the right mood for it, and its tortured production means that few have seen any one, flawless version of it. On his way, we are reintroduced with a familiar face who has a familiar quirk: the origami-folding Gaff, a former LAPD blade runner who played a pivotal role in Deckard's ordeals.

Sure, there are moments that "Blade Runner" fans will fully appreciate, but I'm going to keep the original on high and celebrate "2049" for its own individual strengths.

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However strangely enough a statute of a nude woman has been exempted from the cutting campaign in Blade Runner. In "Blade Runner 2049", Los Angeles has sprawled across much of California, and is built on top of Scott's world, the gritty city a melting pot of English, Japanese and Russian influences. If you loved Gosling in "Drive" (and tolerated him in "Only God Forgives") then get ready to see the flawless chill Gosling performance.

That being said, the one issue that Blade Runner 2049 does have from a storytelling perspective is that of pacing. And that's OK - it's a great movie that expands the original movie's world, and is probably a better sequel than we had any right to hope for.

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