Sunday, 8 October 2017

Ross's Reviews: Blade Runner 2049

I was never planning to review this movie when it came out as I was wanting to keep all of this month's reviews horror related for Halloween, but after seeing this last night I just felt like I needed to talk about it.

No spoilers here.

First off this is a long ass movie. If you're willing to put the time into it, you're looking at 164 minutes in a cinema seat, which trust me does not do your legs any favours (and this is with freaking legroom seats) but it's oh so totally worth it in the end.

The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve who has quickly become one of my favourite directors to watch for after this and other classics like Arrival (2016) and Prisoners (2013). I still haven't seen Sicario (2015) or Enemy (2013) but I'll definitely need to check them out soon.

The film is set 30 years after the original movie (definitely check out the final cut if you haven't seen it, it's an easy 10/10 classic) and follows replicant Blade Runner 'K' (Ryan Gosling) as it is his job to hunt down and 'retire' older replicant models that are now illegal due their rebellious nature.

These are the same kind of original models from the first movie in that they were designed almost exactly like humans but had increased strength and made them viable for slave labour. Of course attaching emotions and memories to these replicants ended up being a bad idea and they turned on their human masters and so were made illegal as a result and sentenced to death on sight. Aren't we as people just lovely?

Anyway after 30 years passed, new replicant models have been made after a takeover of the original company, and these new models are built the same as the older ones but are considered to be harmless to humans unless needed. And yet somehow these replicants are still hated by people because humanity always seems to hate things that are different.

So the basic plot without ruining it sees K being tasked with hunting down a particular kind of replicant that no one can know about, lest it's revelation to the world cause an uprising and potential war between man and machine.

While a lot of themes and symbolism does feel like it's trying to deliver the same as the original, this one does it in it's own, quite different way that it really does feel original.

The parts that really screwed with me were the ones featuring any kind of artificial intelligence such as K's AI that he uses in his apartment that acts as his roommate/partner. This particular AI is played by Ana De Armas and is so lifelike with her emotions and thoughts that it made me wonder; does she really feel this way or is it the software? Is she happy that she's forced to feel these emotions in what could be considered slave labour? It messed with my head quite a bit and one of the reasons why I loved this movie, it forces you to think on your own moral implications on what is really just a piece of manufactured machinery.

I don't normally go into the soundtrack of movies but my god the music here was absolute bliss and just floored me every time I heard it. It's already saved on my Spotify for future use and I was happy to learn that it was composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer who knocked it out of the park once again.

You can also see Ridley Scott's fingerprints all over this as the producer as the visuals are absolutely stunning throughout. So many locations in the movie feel special and have their own place in the world from the constantly raining, dank city of California to the desolate forgotten cities of the past used later on.

Of course Harrison Ford returns to his iconic role of former Blade Runner Deckard and while he was shown quite a bit in the advertising he really isn't in this all that much, but I did appreciate the scenes he was included in as they continued his arc from the previous film without ruining what the character was which a lot of sequels seemingly can't do that well.

Speaking of not appearing that much, we also have Jared Leto as the creator of the new replicants, Niander Wallace, and again while he's not here too often, when he is it's always an interesting scene. His character comes across as having a bit of a god complex which I guess he should since he does create life. You could call him the villain but I'd say that's more open to interpretation depending on your findings in the film.

One of my favourite performances came from Sylvia Hoeks as the replicant known as Luv who is basically Wallace's henchwoman that gets all his shit done. It just amazes me how she starts as just a normal character and then changes into one of the most threatening characters I've seen all year. She's a badass and you don't want to mess with her.

I freaking adored this movie and it's one of those special movies that comes along to remind me why I love cinema in the first place which I haven't felt since La La Land. To me practically everything was perfect here from the acting, the story, the visuals, the soundtrack, the pacing, the direction, I loved it all.

If you're expecting a big blown out sci-fi action movie then you'll be really disappointed as there's barely any action at all, but there doesn't need to be. This is a thought-provoking masterpiece that I know a lot of audiences will hate, but those that put the time and attention in will see it for what it truly is.

I've only just found this morning that the movie isn't doing well at the box office so far which is heartbreaking as this movie deserves the  profit and it means that studios may be reluctant to release anything with this level of detail or thought again and we'll be stuck with the dumb audience approved movies that shovel the same shit at us over and over again.

True it isn't the most accessible movie ever as I do think you need to have watched the original beforehand as some of the plot may not make as much sense and there are definitely fan service moments here and there which still work in context of the whole film.

This is going to go down as one of my favourite movies ever and I'm sure I'll love it even more when given the chance to rewatch and pick up small details I may have missed the first time. I'm not going to see a movie as good as this for a long time, but when I do the wait will have been worth it.

I'd highly recommend checking this out if you consider yourself a fan of sci-fi, if you even just slightly enjoyed the original, or if you consider yourself a fan of cinema. You won't regret it.

Verdict: 10/10

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